“Made it through another anniversary that I normally don’t acknowledge publically but someone needs to know that no matter what – with God and the support of others, you can have the victory. So I needed this today. Sharing it with you and anyone else who has been victimized, traumatized or abused in their past. A quote from Carl Gustav Jung said it best: ‘I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.'”

That was my Facebook status yesterday.

We all have that crucial moment in our lives where we have to face what seems like an insurmountable challenge. It could be the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, the loss of a job, a devastating illness or abuse at the hands of another.

Click here to hear Nikki Woods’ “What in the Weekend?” report from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”

And then there are days when you forget to pay the water bill, you take the heat at work for something that wasn’t your fault, or a stranger asks you if you’re pregnant when you aren’t! (Sorry, had to vent.) The point is we all face moments in our lives where we are out there by ourselves, and no one can save us but us.

Or so we think.

I believe it happens like this because the only thing that will make us look beyond our situation and to God is trouble. When we find ourselves in the hot seat – and what’s hot for me may be different than what’s hot for you – we are forced to take some kind of action. The question is which kind, and what will we learn from it?

One of my favorite quotes reads, “Successful people are bigger than their problems.” Doesn’t mean they don’t have them; just that they choose to rise above them.

Too often, we look at others who have already moved into the penthouse in the sky – having attained a certain amount of wealth, success or both – and assume they no longer have problems. Of course, the Notorious B.I.G. did a lot to dispel those myths with his chart-busting hit, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”

Successful people have just as many – if not more – problems than most. It kind of comes with the territory. LL Cool J said it best: “Thieves only come to loaded vaults.” Success doesn’t erase problems, so we might as well learn to deal with them now. Penthouse residents just deal with life’s challenges differently. They raise up off the hot seat, and do what needs to be done to not only conquer problems, but learn from them.

(Don’t believe me? Ask Vickie Winans – like I did!)

A friend recently told me, “You can either lay in it and die, or you can get up and get on.” And though you may feel at that particular moment that you are going to die from the stress, pressure, sadness or pain, that really isn’t an option. So, we get up, and we get on.

Of course, the process of moving on and what that looks like is as varied as the situations that landed us on the hot seat to begin with. For you, it may be a giant leap of faith, while for me, it may be slowly putting one foot in front of the other. And then, for some, the process is right down the middle. But there is one common denominator – I alluded to it earlier – and that is action. You must DO something in order to get on with the business of living a happy and healthy life.

It may at times seem like it’s easier said than done, but it’s not. And you already know everything I’m saying. It’s not brain surgery. Either the problem wins or you do. It’s as simple as that.

But every once in a while, we all need a loving reminder, a gentle nudge. I realize that because many times, that person is me.

So, if this time, you’re the one whose buns I smell burning on that hot seat, consider yourself nudged. Say to yourself, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

Take action. Make a choice. Do what you need to do to get where you want to be.

Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.

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