In life…stuff happens.
People betray you. They lie. They hurt you.
Perfect plans fall apart.
You know it wasn’t always that way. The pain is often a contrast from a better and happier time. You can’t help but reflect back to a day you thought you had the best life and thought you were untouchable by grief, anguish and pain. Yet, here you are, immersed in feelings of betrayal or loss. What happened? It may have been a word, a moment, or an unavoidable incident where things changed. You have no choice but to face your new reality.
How is one to survive these moments?
There are choices. Many of them are tough. The most natural is to fight back, to resist, become angry and bitter. The hardest is to walk through the pain and be an overcomer. These difficulties are only garbage in our lives if we waste them. They give us opportunities… huge opportunities that allow us to become stronger, deeper and to have an impact in other’s lives.
Recently, I was speaking to a very influential leader. He told me that every leader he personally deeply respected just happened to have gone through a time of deep pain and betrayal. It made me realize that each of those leaders had faced a choice. They could resist or rise above the circumstances they found themselves in.
It’s a myth that rising above difficulties is simple. It is hard, really hard. It means a continual renewal of the mind. As I’ve met some of my greatest difficulties, I’ve followed these principles.
1. Try to look at another’s perspective. I’ve come to realize that the words and actions of another sometimes eclipse the motive of their heart. They may not have intended to hurt you, but in fact, their intent may have been to help you.
2. You may have limited information. In complex situations, there is often a lot that you do not know. For reasons unknown, you have not been given the full picture and it is easy to come to conclusions that are not correct.
3. Don’t immediately assume negative intent. It’s very easy to assume negative intent with most things that are taking place. Sometimes people just do things without thinking about the implication and it may have nothing or very little to do with you.
4. Focus on moving forward. This is very difficult in the heart of pain and hurt. You may need help navigate through the current situation, but put your effort into moving on. It gives you strength and joy. When you have hope, it changes how you see and navigate through hurt.
5. Seek God’s direction and help. You are not alone. God wants to give you all you need to help you go through this time. Seek Him, ask Him how to pray and what steps to take. Ask Him to bring people in your life that can help you. Wisely ask for prayer for your circumstance. You need to do this in a way that you are respect confidentiality and your integrity.
6. Look for ways that this will make you stronger. You don’t want to allow this difficulty to become garbage in your life. You want it to refine you and make you stronger.
Your situation may be unfair and people may have done wrong to you. It hurts. We live in a fallen world and things will happen that are just not right. But with this comes an opportunity for God to work in your life. I know when I’m going through a difficult time and someone tells me a similar story, they suddenly have my attention in a way that they didn’t earlier. It means so much to know that they actually understand and that their insight comes from real pain of a similar story.
I have a story too. It is being written. Garbage happens in my life, but I embrace the opportunity for it to help me become a better person that can help others.
What is your story?