Are you wondering how to keep going in the midst of hard times? Are you facing a “new normal” that is anything but normal? Are you left wondering how to keep going?
Hard times visit us all at some point. Why is it that we all think somehow we are immune from trials and seem surprised when they come? How is it that we all can think that certain things will never happen to us?
Well, what do you do when you discover that the unthinkable has, in fact, landed on your doorstep?
- Realize that it is ok to be weak. For
someme this is very hard. I am very much a mind over matter person, and I can push myself beyond the limits in many areas both physically and mentally. But we all need to realize that the time will come when we will come face to face with feeling helpless and weak – and this is ok.
- It is also ok to not have all the answers. Maybe you are like me and can almost always find the answer if you don’t know something initially. There will come a time when we cannot find the answer no matter who hard we try, and we need to be ok with that, too.
- It’s ok to be angry, for a time. Anger is a God-given emotion that in itself is not wrong, it is how we handle that anger that becomes right or wrong. As long as you are managing your anger responsibly and only for a short time, it is ok to be angry.
- It is ok for others to see you work through these areas – weakness, uncertainty, and anger. Showing your husband, your friends, and even your kids these emotions within reason and when appropriate is not a sign of further weakness, you are simply human. It is ok to be human sometimes.
- Grieve over your hard, but not forever. Grieving is a natural reaction to many struggles, but we can’t live there. We must move forward. We must grieve for a season and then move towards healing.
- Recognize that we all process things in a different way. Don’t let others force you into handling things like they think you should. When facing trials, some need to seek counsel and comfort in family or friends while others need to withdraw. There is no mold to fit into. Don’t let others force you into a mold – even those who have walked a similar road. We are all different and need to be respected as individuals. It is ok to insist that others accept you and your unique needs during this time.
- Unplug. Technology is a blessing and a curse, and at times it can be so hard to watch the joy of others while you are walking in a dark valley. It’s ok to unplug from technology to focus on your own rugged journey.
- Say no to others. Say no a lot. Focus on you during this season and staying on course with the path that is in front of you. Staying on that path is often all we can manage to do. Don’t feel selfish in doing just that.
- Allow yourself to be scared. So often we see fear and pain as negative emotions that need to be managed and even eliminated. Being scared and hurt often warns us to change course or to walk more carefully on our journey, to linger, to savor the very breath we are given in all its fullness. Focus on what being scared is supposed to be teaching you.
- Ask questions and then ask some more. If you are in uncharted waters the unknown is often unnerving. Chances are there are those who have more experience or knowledge in your situation. Don’t worry about being a burden, of course within reason. Most times people who have walked in your footsteps before are willing to walk alongside you, but oftentimes we worry more about being a burden and don’t ask. They can’t help if you don’t ask.
- This brings me to my next point. Ask for help. You are not an island, and you have loved ones who would love to help, if only they knew what to do. Don’t wait for them to offer. Just ask. I am certain there will be a time that you will be able to return the favor. Life is full of dark times for us all. Most likely the roles will be reversed at some point. Just ask.
- Share your feelings. Sometimes this can mean in a journal rather than with actual people, but there is something to be said for sharing with trusted friends or loved ones. Even if you must withdraw initially, don’t keep your feelings inside forever.
There are no easy answers to trying times. Each situation, circumstance, and surroundings are unique, but following all or even some of these things can get you moving if you are paralyzed with where to start.