How to Handle Setbacks as an Overcomer

The only way to truly master a change is by repeating the practice. I read a book a while back called ‘Outliers’. The main point of the book is that the most successful people and athletes are those that continue to practice and deepen there abilities and understandings. This repetitive behavior is what causes a depth of knowledge and lasting success.

I sell educational tools for a living and one of the main features that educators want to know is the level of mastery that students have within a particular skill. In order to acquire this data, students need to continue to build new skills , but occasionally are tested on skills they learned previously. This develops mastery because they continue to practice and apply the old skills in the new situations. The goal is to reset their default mindset to one that is filled with useful tools to apply quickly and effectively throughout life and in multiple situation.

Life and sanctification is very similar to this mastery model. Resetting the mind to have a powerful ‘toolbox’ is hard work. It can be frustrating especially when we’re so busy learning and growing that when the mastery quiz comes our way, we’re blindsided by it and can’t remember what tool we need to apply to this situation. These are the times that I usually get upset with myself and disappointed that I am failing this test, yet again.

The reason this is on my mind is because I’m currently practicing mastery in a few different areas that I thought I already mastered – well I was wrong. I have a feeling that I’ll keep having these same ‘tests’ come my way. I’ve stumbled over them my whole life and believe that I’ll always need a few remembers of how and why I need to overcome them. If you can relate to these feelings – don’t give up – there is some exciting hope coming in the rest of this blog!

How to work on Mastery

My current mastery setback tests have been the same tests for years, however they don’t defeat or define me as much anymore – they don’t excite me just yet – but I’m getting close to finding them joyful as I discover how to pass my test quicker and with a deeper understanding.

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First thing to know and accept is that setbacks are going to happen! Second thing to know is that these setbacks are opportunities to deepen your anchored life in Christ and not to be seen as failure on your part!

If you see these setbacks as definers of your worth, your mastery and depth will leaving you feeling defeated and heartbroken. But, if you see them as they really are, opportunities to refresh and deepen your positive thought-life, you’ll pass this “test” and come out with a deeper and fuller picture of God and His character.

It doesn’t mean that we’ll ever reach perfect mastery this side of Heaven, but it does mean we are changing our default thought-patterns from one of flesh to one of Christ-likeness.

My mastery tests right now are:

  • Trying to be my husband’s mini holy spirit
  • Eating during stressful times
  • Stress and Anxiety because of my to-do list
  • Not having time for my people

How to pass your tests quicker

It’s been three days of me feeling frustrated with myself that I’m stumbling on these same things again! However, this three day stretch is much shorter than the typical weeks I’d usually spend feeling defeated and ‘beat myself up’ over it.

So, what’s different this time? First, God has been teaching me and I’ve been more willing to allow Him to guide me and grow me. Second, each time I get the test I get a little better at taking the thoughts captive and finding the answer to one question and replacing my thoughts with scriptural truth.


I’ll show you how I answer this question related to the things I mentioned above, however, I invite you to pause reading right now and write down the things that you’re struggling with or the things you seem to keep repeating. (what always seems to stress you out, frustrate you, annoy you, anger you….)

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  • The Lie – is that it’s up to me to change my husband into my expectations of him or that he needs to be changed in the first place. The Truth – Only God changes hearts and only God decides how and when. It is not my responsibility to judge him or change him. My job is to be his friend and partner and support him on his journey – not make him be on mine. .
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  • The Lie – Is that food is my source of comfort. The Truth – God is my comfort and I can cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me. So when I feel stress, anxiety/frustrations… I can/should turn to prayer and cast all my cares on Him – trusting and knowing that He has all things perfectly controlled for my good and His glory.
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  • The Lie – I believe that everything in my ‘world’ is up to me and nothing will get done unless I stress and agonize over it. I am believing that I am god of my world. The Truth – I’ve already overcome this trap and God has proven over and over that His ways are better and I get more accomplished by keeping in step with Him than I ever get done worrying and stressing over things or trying to have everything controlled. God’s ways are higher and better than my own.
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  • The Lie – My to do list is for my people, that I’m doing all the ‘things’ ‘tasks’… for them. I believe that my impact on their lives is what I get done, that my worth to them is what I do for them. The Truth – they could care less what I do for them because all they want, is know they are valued, important, worthy… my to-do list comes last to the hearts of my family and friends. We have been created for relationship and the only impact we’ll ever leave on this earth is the ones we left in the hearts of others.

How’d it go for you?

Isn’t it freeing to know that with each challenge and/or setback it’s an opportunity to discover what you’re believing, pick out the lies, and replace them with the truth of God’s Word.

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The only way to overcome our negative and false beliefs is by applying the living and active Word of God. So, setbacks aren’t really set-backs, they are opportunities to propel us further into a relationship with our Heavenly Father. They are opportunities to see His hand in all circumstances, to learn to trust and depend on Him for all things and be transformed more and more into His likeness by the renewal of our mind and applying of His character to our daily walk.

So, keep your head up, be filled with God’s joy knowing that in every test or trial you face – He has given you the way our in His Word.

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One response to “How to Handle Setbacks as an Overcomer”

  1. […] A good Life/Health coach will help you become aware of your likes, dislikes, habits, thoughts, patters, belief systems, mind-sets and so on – though this approach you’ll be able to have tools that you can take with you into every decision and every situation in life because they are always relevant. (see an example of this in: How to overcome setbacks) […]

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