To further help you in this quest, I want to offer you five facts that will help you explore your emotions, accept your current reality, and find the harmony you seek in building a better life:
- It’s not personal; it’s just reality. We all have bad times and bad seasons because we’re imperfect people living in an imperfect world. I realize a lot of emotion revolves around the “why” questions, but the fact of the matter is that bad things happen to everybody. You’ll come out of this season and somebody else will enter a tough season. That’s just life. It isn’t a result of anything that you (or anybody around you) did or didn’t do. As people sometimes say in my job when they get off track with an application, sometimes “life happens.” It certainly has been happening for the past few months, and if you’ve had more come down on you during this tough time then that can make it all the more difficult. Of course, it’s natural to question why, but the only answer to that question is that it’s your time to go through a rough season. You really can’t compare yourself to others, because the journey of life is different for us all. That person you know who’s on top of the world will find that pedestal toppling when their own difficult season catches up with them, and then you might be in a better season. And that’s the thing to salvage from this: you can draw comfort from people who have “been through” these times before you. Once this season is over, you might be called to be a comfort to others. It’s the cyclical nature of life. It ebbs and flows. You can’t control it.
- This too shall pass. It’s impossible for anything to last forever. The nature of life is change and motion, so rest assured that whatever you face will have an end date. It will pass, and you will come through the other side. Think back to other tough times you came through. Are you dealing with the same problems you had one, five, or ten years ago? Of course you aren’t, and you won’t be dealing with this forever either. Everything in life has an expiration date; we just don’t know what it is yet. If you’re struggling, take comfort in knowing that this will pass, and doing your best every day will make the journey easier than struggling and resistance. If things are good, give thanks and express gratitude every day for what you have. Mountaintop experiences are rare in life, so enjoy it and give thanks for it with all you’ve got. Hold to your faith on the peak and in the valley. The truth is, you always need it.
- Life isn’t safe. We think we have certainty, until something unexpected happens and takes that gift away: a bad diagnosis, a life changing accident, a circumstance that turns your world upside down. But the truth is that it’s a false gift. See #1 above – anything can happen at any time to completely change everything. Being alive is, in and of itself, dangerous. Of course you can’t live in fear, but it’s also naieve to believe that you can avoid anything bad. Again, this is why walking in faith is important. We have to remember that all things come together for good in the end – we just don’t know what or where that end is. That’s the only certainty we have in life and frankly, that’s good enough. It’s the best we could ask for, actually.
- Have gratitude for your blessings. When I look over my life so far, I see that there were always blessings along the way, no matter how bad things got. There’s always some blessing to help you through, and this is usually what you need to build a better life. Too often, we take stock of all that’s wrong when we need to take account of all that’s right so we know what we have to work with. Expressing appreciation for our blessings also gives them the energy to grow. So the next time you find yourself in a downward spiral of negativity, stop and choose to turn it to a gratitude session for all you have to help you get right and get through. This is extremely important to realize because of the next point –
- Life will never be perfect. It’s your responsibility to do your best, every day, no matter what’s happening. Something is always going to be broken, mixed up, out of alignment, or a pain in your butt. As I said above, we’re imperfect people living in an imperfect world, and this is how it manifests itself. Even in the best of times, there are things out of your control and they will remind you of that. You have to choose to root yourself in prayer. You have to choose to walk in faith and give thanks. You have to choose to be happy. You have to choose to be content with what you have. You have to choose to forgive. You have to choose to let go. Most of all, you have to choose to do your best, every day, no matter what happens. I don’t care what’s happening in your life right now: the only way to turn it around is to make an active choice every day that you will do your best. No “I’ll do it when this problem is gone.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to make the choice today. Even if you hurt. Even if your phone rings all the time, and it’s always bad news. Even if it’s whatever fresh hell awaits you today. You can’t let yourself get on (or stay on) that spiral. Frankly, that’s letting the devil win and you don’t want to do that, do you? I don’t. So make the choice. It might be hard, and your best might vary, but that’s ok. It’s effort that counts. You might not feel it but don’t worry about that, either. Your feelings will catch up if you make the choice every day, and it becomes a habit. Life is never going to be perfect and it’s useless to develop a sliding scale of allowing yourself to find it, so embrace the chaos and do your best. Better days will come – and they’ll come easier if you choose to accept what you have, do your best, and move forward every day.
This is where the fundamentals I talked about two entries ago come in. Getting back to those basics will help you accept this insane reality and help you stand even when the world around you is rocking out of control. I know I’ve been hitting them pretty hard lately, and it helps. Sometimes, watching a Joyce Meyer message is just what I need to get myself right for the day. It's amazing how the little things can set you on a right track, if you'll let them.
Small things are exactly how we go about making a bigger, better life. How do you do that? I’ll tackle how the small steps and random opportunities can lead to big differences in next week’s blog. Stay tuned. We’re getting on track to building the mosaic of a better life. We might be broken, but those shattered pieces can create a thing of greater beauty, if we'll let them.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July and a wonderful weekend.