We all have our unexpected hard things to survive and thrive through. I have never had a diagnosis of cancer to process. Nor have I had anyone in my immediate family die suddenly. But I have dealt with my own personal struggles with mild anxiety and walked the path with many who struggle with mental illness. I have a child with significant deficiencies (as well as many gifts) and having her in our family has irrevocably changed the course of my life and heart.
Some tricks that I have learned to glean joy and wisdom through challenging times include these three steps:
Welcome the Pain
It has taken me many false starts, scrapes and failures to finally even discern that there is another path other than “freaking out/anxiety overdrive”. I know. Shocking.
I’ve learned the more energy I put into forcing the scary beast back into the closet (the unknown or the possibility of your kids dying, etc.) the worse it gets. For my own sanity, I open the door wide and get comfy with the pain, the anger, the disbelief, the wondering, the questioning, the researching, the sadness and really, truly feel it.
Increase the Margins
Secondly, I intentionally create larger margins in my mind, heart, and schedule to allow room for Peace. I sometimes get so busy dealing with the challenge, that unconsciously I am afraid that if I stopped doing I might not want to feel it.
When I finally, consciously silence my mind and soul, the dam breaks and I ugly cry. Like snot mustache cry. Like I realize I don’t have any tissues in my van and must use gauze pads from the first aid kit cry. And it is glorious.
It has a Purpose
Thirdly, even if the trial/hard thing is painful and you’d never wish it on your worst enemy, at the very least you can be grateful for where it has taken you. And usually at the end of the road, there’s a lesson and depth in strength that you didn’t know you possessed.
We humans always, always want the easiest/least growth route and God always, always wants us to dig deeper and farther than we think possible—most of the time we are unaware that we have been issued a shovel in the first place—but there we are as He nudges us forward.
I’m here to tell you that when you are on your knees, in your valleys or when you feel lost—those are the sweet spots of life. Oh, it never feels like it while you’re there.
But just like in plant gardening, kneeling while cultivating your soul and life gives you a unique view on your circumstances. You see things you hadn’t noticed before and when you’re done letting God fertilize your heart and mind and you start to rise, you see the growth that couldn’t ever have happened if you hadn’t had the drastic remodeling and reworking.
Remember that hard times make you realize that Joy and Pain are besties. You simply cannot have one without the other joining the party. If you spend time here on this twirling blue sphere trying to keep your life sterile, pristine and pain-free you will miss out on so, so much joy.
And if you’re smack dab in the middle of a painful soul remodel, take heart, you’re in good company. And if you feel a bit tender and tearful, that’s OK too. I promise you that the sun always comes and Spring eventually follows Winter.
What has been your Hard Thing and what has it taught you?
This post is a combination of a few different posts on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/thepartilove/ There are weekly posts there as well.
Photo cred: Pexels.com