when adversity strikes ( part 1)
Are you familiar with this toy? In Germany we call it the "Steh auf Maennchen" =literally "Stand up man". As the picture shows, it can wobble, get knocked down and it will automatically adjust to its original posture : straight. It's fun for kids to watch it wobble , but for my illustration, I want you to think about resilience. You get knocked down, you wobble for a while, you stand up again. You know where your center is. You know where you align just right. Don't we say" I feel a little off today?"
Or "I feel down". So what is the secret of standing up again? It's not to avoid being afraid. Afraid of adversity. We all know that $#%&! happens, as beautifully depicted in the movie FOREST GUMP. What do we do when adversity strikes? We all want the resilience. But Resilience is defined as the ability to overcome. No resilience without a challenge. In life, challenges, struggles and adversity is built in. It's guaranteed. Its not all sunshine and roses. Not even in the sunshine state;).
Even Jesus said " My prayer is not that you take them out of this world, but that you protect them from the evil one." John 17:15.
So here we are , on this earth, living a life that is filled with a good portion of challenges and adversity.
Webster defines resilience as follows:
"An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. "
Sometimes we see adversity as heavy weights in a gym. They are too heavy and we run from them. Like I look at my son's weights in the living room and they are 30 pounds each ! I know I am going to fail, because my muscles have not been through enough weight training to be able to lift those. But the more I work out , the heavier weights I can lift, right? Are you with me? The more I challenge my muscles , the more they grow and the more resilient I get. So looking at those 30 pound weights, do I give up completely? No. I start with my 5 pound weights ( don't laugh). I know I can do that. Then I work myself up.
So, you might say :"I wasn't ready for this huge challenge to come, I had no plan to work up to that, it happened so fast!" That's where I encourage you to look back and see how much you have already overcome in your life. Sit down and make a list. From small to big obstacles. Really give yourself time to think back and realize how many challenges you have already tackled.
I challenge you to see adversity as an opportunity. Whats my other option? I can say :"This is too much. I give up. The weight is too heavy!" I curl up in a ball, put on a mask, put on a fake smile, cry every day, shop, overeat, over-drink, overdose, get lost in social media...you fill in the blank. The difficult circumstances, and often, the difficult people in your life, present an opportunity for you to grow. Ouch. I don't want to hear that. I want the circumstance to change. I want the other person to change. It's their problem after all, isn't it? I didn't do anything wrong here. They are hurting me. If only they straightened out, then I would be OK. I am sure you have scenarios you are thinking of. Like: " My daughter in law is not talking to me. She is not letting me see my grandchild." Ouch. "My boss laid me off." Ouch. "My husband never takes me out on a date."Ouch.
As much as I want you to allow yourself to feel the pain, I also want you to know that the pain you feel after the initial adversity strikes, and hits you like a ton of bricks, that pain is optional. Say what? Stay with me. At that point you have a choice, you have three options. We understand that the adversity is there and won't move. You can count on it. It's there. It's going to be part of our life. Like it or not.
Be sure to have enough self care in place, practice deep breathing and meditating, journaling and praying. And then decide if you want to
grow with this opportunity or if you are going to
dig in your heels with resistance. Or you can
give up and put your head in the sand.
Those are your three options. God never promised that life would be easy, but He did promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He promised His presence.
I am never alone. We are in God's school, right? There are so many unannounced "tests", obstacles and challenges. I mean, we don't sign up for adversity voluntarily like we sign up for a gym membership. But the more I lift those weights, the more confidence I have to take on more. I have built resilience. The same with life. When I have been through a certain amount of adversity, I know I made it through, I know I can make it through this one. I have survived this far. Stop and give yourself credit. I tell my clients that all the time. I stop them and help them see how much they have overcome. How strong they are already. Kind of like a personal fitness coach. "See how much weight you lifted today? Wow, 20 reps? See how far you've come from lifting 5 pound weights? Awesome." Look at the adversities you have come through. Stop and look. And appreciate the growth that already happened in you.
I will continue with part 2 next week.
You are loved. Deeply loved. Loved beyond measure.
Write or call to set up a free session. I would love to help you through your adversity.