Friend, we will all face hard times. Trials that come out of seemingly no where, knock us off of our course and flat onto our backs. The wind knocked out of us, rendered senseless.
It has often struck me how there are two responses to the shit storms of life.
One will either become a victim, or a survivor.
The victim sees life’s struggles as baggage that weighs them down. They get overwhelmed and downtrodden, using the experience as a reason why they are stuck, why they can’t do or pursue what it is that they desire. Why they settle for less.
The survivor, however, sees struggles as strength, as something that hones, prepares, and drives them. This experience becomes a motivating source to aspire for and do more. They see this as a driving power to pursue what they desire. To do and become more.
There are so many times when I can recall coming to a crossroad due to unforeseeable events.
Some of them small moments, like being cut from the Varsity softball team as a junior to the shock of my teammates and myself.
And others serve as road markers. Meaning, these are times that irrevocably changed me. Ones in which there was a very clear version of who I was before and who I transformed into, such as my husband of three years leaving me unexpectedly.
In these moments you have to decide.
Are you a victim of circumstances,
or are you a survivor by the sheer force of your will?
After being cut from the softball team I could have quit, complained, cried, and raised a holy ruckus.
I was disappointed and heart hurt, but this didn’t stop me from competing.
Instead, I made it my intention to do my very best and to daily show my coach that he had made a mistake. I played my heart out on the junior varsity team that year, which ended up being the superior team. I won’t take credit. It was a team that meshed well and had fun, which made all the difference.
When my husband left I had similar choices, and I almost let the grief swallow me whole,
But I didn’t.
That was a trying time. Not only did my husband leave, but shortly after I found that where I was living had been rented to new tenants, and I was laid off of my first teaching job due to a levy failure.
I was abruptly divorced, homeless, and unemployed.
This was a time in which I felt like a failure and questioned if I had the energy to start over again, mostly because of wounded pride.
The idea of facing others, people that I loved and respected, and telling them where I was at in my life terrified me.
Fear is a determining factor in why so many people quit, don’t push through, don’t start over when they’ve reached a dead end.
I know, friend, I’ve been at the dead end… more times then I can count.
These times have served to reveal to me who I am, not from the fall to the bottom, but from my persistence as I struggled to create a new path.
Failure, struggle, hurt, angst are all necessary components of life.
It is these hard moments, not the easy ones, that show us who we are and push us to become more.
Our ability to persist and grow is what provides a sense of self confidence and buoys us through all future problems we will face.
In each of these moments we decide how we will carry these burdens and if we become a victim or a survivor.
I hope, friend, you choose to survive.
On the other side of pain is always a brand new you.