When you walk through a particular dark time in your life it is easy to fall into patterns of depression or at best negativity. There is the temptation to believe that those moments may define you and in some ways control you. Many people spend years looking for light in the darkness of the trail following personal heartbreak, personal failure and devastating loss. Events can completely change everything about us and in some cases threaten to push us into places of darkness instead of light.
Life happens. Life is precarious and challenging. You may wake up one day and find yourself estranged from everything you once knew. Life is different. Life may not look like anything you’ve known in the past. Death, divorce, loss of vocation, and a hundred other things may cause your life to turn upside down.
There is hope. There is light. You still have value and reason to live. Yes, it is new. It may all be new and unlike anything you have known in the past but God never changes. He is the same. He is not shocked by your circumstances. He calls you to keep following. He longs for you to reach out to Him especially in your brokenness and vulnerability. He will lead you through the new and find ways to use you that are beyond what you can see now. Just follow the Light. Jesus is the Light.
In our journey, both Fran and I have read a lot, allowing others journey’s and words to bring healing. Brokenness is not easy and if you are not very attentive it may lure you into a stuck place. You might be tempted to let people, opinions and judgements without the facts stifle your future. Sheryl Sandberg’s book Option B includes these words of admonition:
“We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization—the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness—the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence—the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. The three P’s play like the flip side of the pop song “Everything Is Awesome”—“everything is awful.” The loop in your head repeats, “It’s my fault this is awful. My whole life is awful. And it’s always going to be awful.” Sheryl Sandberg, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.
Life is not awful. Life is here to be lived. You have family and friends. Some of those friends or even family might be new but you have people to love and people to give back to. You have things to do and God wants to do them through you. He has never shied away from the broken and hurting and more often than not He uses people who are broken to show the way of mercy and grace to those around them.
I keep writing this blog for those that have gone before me and those that will no doubt come behind me. Your responses both private and public often tell the stories of hurt, shame, discouragement and even depression but also many of them ring with the sound of hope. You’ve found Jesus in the shadows like you never found Him before when things, at least on the outside or publicly, were at their best. So relax . . . give yourself a break . . . let Jesus continue to call you and heal you. Let His Light shine on you in you and all around you.