Tag Archive: hardship

Jan 26

Shocked by Suffering

Not sure how to start this blog on suffering. It’s been a while since I’ve written. The unexpected happened in our family during the holidays. It doesn’t matter how much you intellectually know that we all experience suffering in life…it still catches you off guard and knocks you flat out! Trust me…I hear suffering all day…it’s part of my job…I’ve studied it…I’ve walked through some of my own…I am not unaware of the reality…and yet when it hits close to home….it’s tough.
God's Presence in SufferingSudden suffering has a way of knocking the wind out of us. We struggle for air, shaken, not sure we can get back up.
Despite everything, I can say in the midst of sudden suffering the following things are tangibly real:
  • God’s presence is so much stronger and clearer during times of suffering and struggle.IMG_4070
  • God’s peace really is amazing and completely incomprehensible.
  • God’s people SHOW UP!
  • God’s plan is better than mine (that’s a hard one…but it is, I know it).
  • God is good despite my suffering.
  • Our world is sooooo broken.
  • I long even more for God to make all things new.
Sudden suffering looks different for all of us. It could be a serious illness, tragic accident, natural disaster, recurrence of depression, extreme panic or anxiety, or anything that knocks you down. Whatever it is, let me say this…
You are not alone.
You can walk this road.
You are stronger than you think.
You are brave to get back up.
You just have to take it one step at a time.
I don’t by any stretch have all the answers…but I feel compelled to share what I have learned (and am still learning) about walking in suffering…mainly so I can go back and read it later…hopefully it helps you on your journey too.
First, take the time you need. I mean if you need to go be with family, if you need to be alone, whatever it is you need…make sure you give yourself that time. Our schedules and daily demands can all be put on hold. It’s not selfish to take the time you need.

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Second, know what replenishes your cup. In counseling we call this self-care. Know how to take care of you, how to rest, and what you can do to keep going. Is it remembering to eat, giving yourself permission to sleep, time alone, time with others, whatever it is….make it a priority now more than ever.
Third, tell others what to do. Everyone wants to help in a time of crisis…they feel powerless and they love you. So when they say, “let me know what I can do”….they mean it. I get it, you don’t know what you need…but when you do…share the need. We don’t frequently because “we don’t want to bother people”. It’s okay to ask even for help with small things.
Fourth, you will feel all kinds of things at all different times and that is okay. Take time to feel what you feel.
Fifth, gather close your support system. I’ve found there are people I can be with that let me process and deal. Those are the ones I want around me. Those are the ones I ask the most for help. Those people are the ones that can help you identify what you need, will let you process, and can help you organize everyone else that wants to help.
Sixth, don’t struggle alone. Burdens are so much easier to bear in community. If you don’t have an existing support community, find a good support group or a counselor.
Remember….
You are not alone. You can walk this road. You are stronger than you think. Click To Tweet
You are brave to get back up. You just have to take it one step at a time. Click To Tweet

 

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/shocked-by-suffering/

Oct 20

Why Try? The Struggle is Real.

Life. Isn’t it interesting how we expect things to go easy, ALL THE TIME? I mean we come against something hard and we panic, freak out, wonder what we are doing wrong. Is it our culture that has information at our fingertips, a store within 5 minutes selling anything we might need, and quick meals on every corner that sets us up for this unrealistic expectation?
Now I know (legitimately KNOW) that life is hard and that struggle is real. We all know this and yet we baulk at challenges or difficulty.
In fact some of us just quit…
It’s true. We imagine all the things that could go wrong, might go wrong, will go wrong and we decide it is not worth trying.
Or, we’re so paralyzed by our own super critical thought dialogue that we are doomed before we start.
Or, we hear some voice from the past that told us we couldn’t do much and we listen to it once again.
Or, we picture how we failed the last time and we give up.
Maybe struggle IS one of the best gifts of life. What if struggle births maturity, strength, and true beauty? In fact, I am not sure anything of real substance or meaning comes without struggle?
Maybe struggle IS one of the best gifts of life. Click To Tweet
Here are some examples that come to mind:
  • The butterfly comes from the struggle out of the cocoon.
  • A mom giving birth to a child in hard intense labor.
  • Muscles grow by pushing the physical limits (painful reminder from my morning workout).
  • Crops don’t grow without hard work to till, sow, and reap.
  • Homes and buildings aren’t built without hard physical labor.
What if learning to encounter and deal with challenges IS what defines success.
What if learning to encounter and deal with challenges IS what defines success. Click To Tweet
Yet so many of us live in the past or the future. The past reminds us of all our past hurts and failures. The future has so many potential problems. We focus in both directions and we freeze…
Yet NOW is what we have, it is all we have and all we ever have.
NOW is powerful, present, unwritten.
NOW is healing, centering and full of hope.
NOW is a new page of a new story that you purposefully write yourself.
We look back to understand, heal, and grow. So we can be fully present in the NOW.
Encountering difficulty? Take hope, you are not alone. We all struggle with something.
Doubting if you can try? Take a risk, dealing with the challenges that come is part of the journey. Risking IS succeeding.
Discouraged? Take heart, be the biggest supporter and encourager of you…if you don’t who will? Find outside support, your cheering section…they are out there.
Need help? Take action, help is available. There are so many resources of help and hope around. Support groups, church groups, growth groups, counselors, mentors, or coaches. Investing in you is the best investment you can make.
You are not alone. We are all walking the bumpy road of life with you. Look around it’s a beautiful day to keep going…
You are not alone. We are all walking the bumpy road of life with you. Click To Tweet

mother theresa quote

 

Permanent link to this article: http://counseling4hope.com/struggle/

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