How to View Your Setback as an Opportunity

Ever experience a setback?  Have you felt like you’re moving in the right direction only to experience a bump in the road?

What if that becomes an opportunity?

Back in February 2016, before my nagging knee injury that turned out to be arthritis, I was sidelined from my running routine.  A freakish pain happened in my big toe during a Saturday training run that forced me to walk the last mile of the run and led to a couple of weeks on the sidelines, walking and riding my trainer.  

Should’ve been no big deal. Thankful nothing like a stress fracture. A week or two of not running. How bad can that be? Well, ask any “runner”, and any day you’re told you CAN’T run is a bad day.  (If I’d only known then that that was a small setback compared to what would come that summer!!) And for someone who has struggled with tying her self-worth to how much she’s running and working out, this is very difficult.  Especially when the first question people always ask me when they see me is “You run this morning?”  Or when I see family it’s, “You still running?  What big race do you have coming up?”  

I tend to tie my identity to my running.  Well, I don’t tend to, I basically do!   

And so back to what do you do when you have a setback or encounter a roadblock?

The first thing is we quickly revert to old thoughts and habits. At least I know I do. In this case, I was finding myself gravitating towards new weight loss schemes and quick fixes. I was fighting the urge to compare and let negative self-talk enter my mind.

BUT, I had to recognize what was going on. When I start down that path that only leads to destruction of all that God has done in my life, I pause, and remember I’m supposed to turn north (Deuteronomy 2:3)! I had to be thankful for what I had.  I could still move everyday. My training shifted to some heavy weight lifting and intervals on my trainer.  I walked.  I surrounded myself with a community of women for 40 Days of Faith and Fitness.

How your setback can become an opportunity. Share on X

In the end, maybe this wasn’t a setback or a roadblock. Maybe this was an opportunity to live out my verse of the year “throw off everything that hinders and run…” I had some time to take inventory and identify some of the hindrances I needed to get rid of to run the race.  (And little did I know that maybe this short time was preparing me for the longer time that I had to step away from running that summer.)

Do you feel like you’re facing a setback or a roadblock today?  May I suggest that it could be an opportunity?  

  • What’s the lesson I need to learn?  

    • For me, I still need to learn that my identity and my worth has nothing to do with what my physical body does or how it looks.  

  • What change do I need to make in my life?

    • I’m learning more and more about exercise and its affects on me as a “40-something”.  This gave me some time to explore some different ways to exercise.  

  • Do I need to adjust my priorities?

    • In times like these, I’m reminded how “things”, whether they are activities or possessions, to do lists or relationships, they can become idols in my life that takes my focus off of the One who matters most.

Please join me in my Faith and Fitness Facebook Group where we talk more about how to live a sustainable healthy life by building on a foundation of faith.


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  1. I had that big toe thing and yep, it wasn’t anything big, just arthritis causing a lot of pain. Ugh!

    I’m hating on my job. But the issue is, at 53, do I change jobs? Or just suck it up and let the time pass until I can retire? I don’t want to start over again…

    1. At 44, I’m beginning to have arthritis issues pop up. This knee is turning out to be some of that, and it’s not fun. I don’t look forward to flare ups. I’m sorry about your job. You’re at the difficult time, like you said, retirement is so close yet so far still…. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I’ve definitely had a number of setbacks in life, but I like to think that I learned from them and that they helped me to get to where I am today! Those are really good questions to ask!

    I’d definitely rather be out there playing. The only sport I ever voluntarily watch is gymnastics (although I’d love to be able to do what they did too! 😛 )!

    1. Thanks Farrah! The Olympic gymnastics competition has been great to watch. So much inspiration the last couple of weeks watching all the sports.

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