Life is challenging :0)
Relationships, responsibilities, expectations, beliefs, emotions, disappointments the constant hustle and bustle of life mean that we are going to face struggles. I’m pretty sure there is a quote that goes along the lines of
“There is nothing in life more certain than that we will face struggles”
Not sure sounds about right but I could have my quotes crossed. Anyhow when we do face these struggles how are we dealing with them – Do we curl up into our own world or do we reach out.
When facing struggles it’s easy to fall into the trap of going it alone. There are many dangers in this:
Namely that going it alone means going inside your own head which unfortunately is full of well-intentioned but misguided. ‘Voices’ all vying for attention, all influenced by a real or imagined past push and pull at your consciousness telling fighting for you to see te ‘reality’of your situation. The deeper you encourage these voices to grow without being checked, the more you feel that yours is the only situation like it, that there must be something seriously wrong with you because nobody could be experiencing what you are experiencing.
This is a lie. Think back to the past 9 months to a ‘drama’ which unfolded in your life and you since have gotten through (and survived). Focus on the conversations that were going on in your head at the time of the drama as you went at it alone. What were you saying to yourself?
Now think about recent conversations, either that you have had with friends, associates, etc or that you overheard where the drama you experienced came up. How many times did you hear somebody else say “I had a similar experience…”; “the same thing happened to me…” etc and you walked away thinking “Thank God I am not the only one who faces these things.
The facts are that we all face the same base dramas at some point in our lives. Sure, maybe not to the same intensity level or duration but the same dramas never the less. The challenge is that we don’t talk about these things enough, especially not with somebody equipped to walk with you on this journey. The result being that we often get swamped in a mire of self and self-help all unwittingly causing more stress than help.
I wanted to share with you two things that helps me effectively work through the ‘dramas’ in my life. Although applying these approaches won’t ease the pain or remove the challenge completely (unfortunately I have learned that there are things we need to experience in order for us to learn and change) they will help even if only in the knowledge that we are not the only ones going through this.
1) Connect and speak with someone who is qualified to walk with me on this journey. –
By qualified, I mean somebody who meets one or more of the following criteria
I have found (depending on the circumstance) that it can be easy to go to a family member, friend etc for guidance. This can be good if they understand you well and are able to have the required conversation with you. The challenge to be aware of when considering this route is the following
Family/Friends love you and want to protect you/themselves (there is a vested/immediate interest in the decisions you make. This desire to protect (and unfortunately in some cases the desire to see you stumble) will ‘subconsciously influence the advice they give you and in some cases, this advice although well intentioned will not be the advice you need.
The same is the case with work colleagues, sports team mates etc
If you’ve been following my posts for a while you may have realised that I am a man of faith. My relationship with God is a very personal thing which has taken me a while to develop and in time has given me a lot of blessing and support.
I wanted to share a passage that came up recently in response to a challenge I was praying about
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithfull in prayer”
This passage came up just after a very searching prayer. The reason it helped me and I find it particularly powerful are
1) It came up straight after my prayer and spoke to what I had been praying about
2) The words and the way it is written are amazing. There are a number of reasons for this –
a) It’s telling us to ‘be’ Joyful: this is an action, a how to we can look up ways of being which help us move forward. It would be very different if it said ‘have’ this is something we need to decide to own, not easy when we are struggling. In other words, at this time I can go and look at ways of acting on creating lightheartedness. Simply reading synonyms like ‘sunny’, ‘sprightly’, ‘mirthful’, ‘radiant’ brought a smile to my eyes and casting shadows from my heart.
b) In Hope – Our hope is Gods trustworthy promise to us. It’s saying “have a confident expectation in His promise that He will deliver.” This is so exciting
c) Again the action of ‘being’ patient in affliction. For me this is an instruction, a guide that I have to actively work at being patient. He knows I am frustrated and panicking; that my prayers aren’t going to be answered and is saying “I have you, you work on kerbing your panic, let me do the rest“
d) and finally ‘be’ faithful in prayer: This hit me at two levels, firstly that I am being told that “ok, you’ve prayed and asked me for things , now you have to actively work on trusting (faith) that I am going to deliver“, my challenge as I journey in my relationship with Christ is to not see anything happening and then go off and try to take control in my own hands which cause more friction and never solves the issue, and secondly “and keep praying” I need to be faithful in building my relationship. i need to be intentional in my walk of becoming a Leader who is a World Changer
Whatever battle you are going through, remember you are not alone. There is always somebody out there who is facing or has walked a similar journey. You don’t need to (and hopefully you don’t feel you need to do this alone.
Reach out, two are stronger than one