When you’ve worn thin, your world looks different. You don’t see things as clearly. You feel helpless, frustrated and sad. You look around and (though it’s not necessarily true) everyone else is happy. You’re not.
I noticed when talking with my close group of friends that all of us are struggling with something. One friend is questioning her relationship with her husband, another is on the brink of divorce, one is struggling so hard financially, and another is frightened and waiting on the results of a medical procedure. I also work one-on-one with a wife whose husband is fighting an addiction to porn. The attacks come in different areas of our lives.
When the jabs and punches keep finding your jaw, it’s natural to ask the question “Now what?”. How do you handle these tragedies with grace and humility?
1. You have more support than you believe you do. You are not alone, though it may feel like it.
“They don’t understand because they’ve never been through what I’m going through.”
Here’s something to keep in mind when you’re facing a problem and you feel alone. The person who hasn’t been through it may have a unique perspective on your situation. It may not be one you’ve thought about, and it may be the one that will help you get through your struggle. Those who aren’t inside the hurricane can often see the bigger picture, the calm that is outside of and surrounding it.
2. Resist the longing to hole up, shut down and completely lose perspective.
“What did I do wrong?” “My life will never be the same again.”
The first thing you do when you suffer a huge setback, a tragedy or some life-altering event is to start in with that negative self-talk. Then you hole up, shutting out those who are close to you and the irrational thoughts start waging war on your mind.
Shutting yourself down is a natural defense mechanism. But you have to consider that this is the time when, more than any other, you need those close to you to lean on. They will steer your irrational thought processes back to the normal track. They will help you make sense of your situation. They will pray with you and for you.
3. Create a vision and focus on a future of goodness where things are better.
It’s proven that our thoughts can create a sort of self-fulling prophecy. If all that you focus on is the negative in a situation, that’s all you will see. No matter how hard it is to do, work to create a storyboard in your mind of how you want your future to be. Fill it with the goodness, excitement, fun, and beauty that you want. Focus on it daily. Write it out and put it where you’ll see it everyday. Dwell on it.
The hits will keep on coming. That’s life. But, you will push past and overcome it.
A good friend once set up this scenario for me. If you are standing with a group of people in a circle and all of you throw your biggest problems into the middle and are told to chose one, you’ll always choose your own problem to take back. Why? You know your problem. When it comes right down to it, you know how to deal with it (even though you don’t want to). You also know that you will get past it when you acknowledge it, ask for support, keep perspective and focus on a positive future.
Be intentional by working through these steps. Refine yourself. You’re working on being better today than yesterday.