There is a difference between challenges and setbacks. A challenge is an obstacle, problem, or difficulty that must be confronted. Not all challenges become setbacks. Some challenges are overcome and we grow as a result of being stretched and tested. We gain confidence, climbing a mountain we never thought we could climb.
And then there are the times we fall. Or, more specifically, we fail. What started out as a challenge became a setback. Rather than advancing forward, we actually lost ground … or money … or reputation … or friends.
When Peter was asked if he knew Jesus, that was a challenge.
When Peter uttered those words, “I do not know the man,” that was a setback.
How we grow through a challenging experience seems obvious. But how do we bounce back from a setback even stronger than before?
When Jesus predicted Peter’s betrayal, he also predicted it would not be fatal:
“”Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers“ (Luke 22:31-32, ESV).
In other words, you’re going to turn away from me … but when you turn back, use that experience to strengthen your brothers.
Setbacks remain setbacks until we use them to move ourselves and others forward.
How? How can you bounce back stronger than before? Here are a few short tips …
- Learn from the experience. Ask reflective questions like “Why did this happen?”
- Don’t squint at the light. A setback may be highlighting a weak spot that needs attention.
- Accept responsibility. No one forced Peter to deny Jesus. It was his choice.
- Use your experience to help others tacke their challenges before they become setbacks.