5 Keys to Navigating Clusters of Difficulty

Have you experienced times when difficulty comes in clusters? My husband and I are navigating such a season. Physical recovery, providing care for an aging loved one, and other stressors combine to make it feel as if we are swimming in a sea of icebergs. We know eventually all these situations will moderate, or end, but for now, we are dogpaddling to keep our heads above water.

At times, we all experience multiple hard situations at once. Following are navigational keys:

One Step at a Time

The healing process for my foot is incremental. Small changes occur daily. At times, I want to rush the process. Swelling is still evident. Nerves are waking up, but numbness is still present. It’s tempting to walk without the boot, but I know I could damage what surgery fixed if I weight bear too soon.

Navigating clusters of difficulty is also incremental. You do what you can, when you can, and then take a time to rest and regroup. It is human nature to wish for quick resolution rather than accepting the step-by-step, daily handling of multiple situations. But with each small change, each navigation of yet another challenge, we learn and grow.

Just like a child learning to walk, you may experience times when you totter and fall. But determination motivates to get up and try again, circumventing obstacles, navigating detours, and maintaining forward motion.

Quell Anxiety

Anxiety is the ever-present companion of cluster difficulty, but unbridled anxiety paralyzes and robs you of peace. Harness anxiety by minimizing what-if scenarios. Don’t allow your mind to run wild with possible negative outcomes. Look for, and expect, positive answers and moderation of challenges.

Ask for and Accept Support

As I navigate life in my current state of reduced mobility, I’ve needed help. Many of us find it hard to ask for and accept support, but we endure seasons of hardship better with others upholding us. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a harbinger of wisdom.

I am thankful for friends and family who are helping in our journey through cluster difficulty. They lighten the load, encourage us, and remind us of the importance of being available to others in their time of need.

Focus Ahead

A major key to forward motion is the ability to look ahead rather than getting mired in challenges of the present. If you allow yourself to identify all the obstacles, and focus on them rather than the destination, you slow progress and fuel fears.

Sometimes, when you look through a camera lens, the view appears to be in focus, but with one tiny adjustment a new level of clarity occurs. It is the same when you choose to focus forward instead of ruminating on present discomfort. Pray. Look ahead and know your circumstances will change.

Look Up

When the hardships of life overwhelm, the best and most you can do is look up. Utilize your faith. Remember all you know about God and his faithfulness. Pray with listening ears, open eyes, and a receptive heart. Trust the truth you know about God and expect him to lead you through, and beyond, your current cluster of difficulty.

“For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery, a refuge during troubling times. Those who know your name will rely on You, for You, O Eternal One, have not abandoned those who search for You” (Psalm 9:9-10 VOICE).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.


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