Hints of spring are still in the air, but the heat of summer is gradually moving in. Seasons of the year roll along and so too seasons of life. They roll in and out, the good ones and the bad. As I mentioned in my previous post, the key to successfully navigating through difficult seasons when they blow across our shores is in how we respond.
What is our response during those times when our mind and our emotions are in turmoil?
At times, seasons of loss, grief, loneliness, illness, or disappointment cause us to freeze in our tracks. Standing still might be our natural tendency when hit with a painful reality, but it is the worst thing we can do. I know at times this is my inclination, finding the difficulty much too overwhelming to move. However, I’ve learned this only serves to add to my pain and turmoil overall.
Moving forward is imperative, to face the difficulty and push through it. It’s not always easy but we must try, slowly and at times with great intention.
“The only way out is through. It takes courage, tenacity, stamina, patience, God’s immense grace, and time.” (“Dancin’ Toward the Dawn” by Tim Hansel)
Many times, we have no choice in the hurt or pain, sadness or unfairness that finds us, but we do have choice in how we respond to it. Ignoring these feelings, shoving them deep and away for another day, will indeed hurt us in the end. Unresolved feelings tend to fester and can become twisted, turning into bitterness and anger, causing damage to our bodies and our minds over time.
Acknowledge those feelings that hurt, admit to them, understand them, and if necessary change what needs to be changed to accept them. If we don’t work through them at the time of the difficult season, they will inevitably seep out in other ways.
Feel deeply! Then bit by bit, move forward to gain the upper hand. Feel deeply for a time; however, don’t give those difficult emotions the power to take control and weigh us down. My brothers were wrestlers in high school and one went on to wrestle in college, so I attended my fair share of matches. When the battle with my emotions ensues, I sometimes imagine a wrestling match. Just as the two wrestlers strain to gain control, it takes an effort to gain the upper hand of my emotions.
Feel sad, and then seek joy.
Feel angry, and then strive for contentment.
Feel the stress and worry, and then pursue peace of mind.
Feel the loneliness, and then look for community.