My Struggles are a Gift

I’m happy to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Jim Woods, who is kind enough to guest post for me today. Enjoy!

Photo by Alex LiDelfos (Creative Commons)

 I heard God today.

No it wasn’t  a loud voice, bright light, or burning bush. Instead it was a whisper in my head. It only lasted about a second, but I know it was God.

What did He say? Let me give you some background first.

I’d been discontent with my job for a long time. Stress continued to build up, but I ignored it until heart palpitations, depression, asthma, stomach aches and muscle soreness attacked me everyday.

It took a nervous breakdown for me to realize something was wrong. I knew I wanted more from life than just following the path of least resistance. I rediscovered my creative side and then embraced it wholeheartedly.

For several years now, I’ve prayed that I would find a dream job. A perfect position where all of my problems would evaporate. I replaced God with this idea of a “perfect dream job.” Instead of praying, I spend time on Twitter building my platform. Instead soaking up the wisdom of Solomon, I chose Seth Godin or Steven Pressfield.

Fast forward to today. God told me “your struggles are a gift.” Insane thought isn’t it? My struggles a gift? What kind of sick, twisted thought is that?

But now as I think about it, this makes a lot of sense. God knows I need some discomfort in my life or I get lazy. All too often I get comfortable and think I have everything figured out.

Challenges are an opportunity to lose hope or to grow closer to God.

I don’t know where you are today. But is it possible your struggles are a gift too?


Jim Woods is a writer in Nashville, TN who loves helping you turn ideas into reality. He has a passion for helping others, donuts, and watching episodes of 24. You can connect with Jim on Twitter or his blog here.


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  • Larry Carter

    Good stuff, Jim. I’ve been right where you were.

    • Jim Woods

      Thanks Larry. Yeah, it’s really challenging to say the least!

  • Chris Morris

    I wish my gifts came with a shiny bow on top, but I now that the majority of my growth has been the result of struggles and pain

    • Jim Woods

      Yeah no kidding Chris. You are right!

  • Tammy Helfrich

    I true, Jim. I’ve learned to embrace right where I am and also learn from it, an work towards bigger goals. Great thoughts!

    • Jim Woods

      Thanks Tammy. You said it! “Right where you are” is a great approach!

  • Sutton Parks

    Just this week I was frustrated and depressed. I had gotten off track but now I’m back to working hard. It takes some big problems to get me to change, unfortunately.

    • Jim Woods

      Sutton, I think we ARE ALL in that same boat together. Thanks so much for sharing that. I think fear fears community doesn’t it!

  • Pilar Arsenec

    I feel the same way as you do. Always chasing after the next big moment, which is why Jeff Goins new book, The In-Between really resonated with me. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to plug the book, but this book really spoke to me where I’m at now. I also have been dealing with complacency. I have gotten comfortable at my job. Until recently and now based on things changing so dramatically at work, I have had to make some changes, which I would have never done if I continued to be comfortable. So sometimes hardship is a blessing, because it pushes us out of our comfort zone and strive for better. Great post, Jim.

    • Jim Woods

      Thanks for sharing Pilar! You are living a great story–I’m still so glad/excited you tried out for the Voice and did well there!!

  • Alex Barker

    Interesting timing Jim.
    I’ve entered a time where I too am reading more nonfiction than the scriptures. I’ve been pondering the consequences of this. I feel like you left a lot out of this post when you “fast forward”. I’d like to know how you balance the wisdom of scripture vs wisdom of man

    • Jim Woods

      Alex, I haven’t really thought about that. You are probably right! I think my biggest take away is to focus on–and trust–God. It’s a heart thing–an attitude more so than anything else. And honestly, I think it can vary a lot from day to day.

  • Josh Collins

    Your story is a good one. There are many parts that resonate with mine. When I’m resting in the truth of my identity or when I’m my most securely attached me, I know my struggles, pain, heartache, and longings are all for my good. They all propel me back to the the Father, and towards becoming who I’ve been created to be.

    Thanks for reflecting this reminder to me Jim!

    • Jim Woods

      Josh, you are doing great things! Your passion and attitude inspire me. Keep pushing–keep grinding–and most importantly keep trusting God that He is in control! Thanks for your kind words!!!

  • Jesse Hoover

    Thanks Jim for this…I too face challenges that are hard but it allows me to trust Him more and Him to shape me.

    • Jim Woods

      Thanks so much for having me Jesse–such an honor to share my story!

  • Barb Raveling

    Great post, Jim. I have also found my struggles to be a gift. Am learning that happiness (and peace) doesn’t come in a great lifestyle, a finished to do list, or a successful project, but in a life wholly submitted to God – but getting that life wholly submitted to God – that takes a bit of struggle!