How to Remain Whole When Life Tries to Break You
by Qiana Cressman
Betrayals. Tumultuous relationships. Setbacks. Major life losses. We’ve all experienced them. Those devastating circumstances that strike a swift blow, nearly knocking the wind and hope out of you. Circumstances that make you wonder how you’ll survive or recover. Then, once you’ve survived the unimaginable, you wonder how to begin moving forward.
Good news: We can go from surviving to thriving. We can hope, dream and smile from our hearts again; smiling and living from the inside out. Not a fake smile to masquerade pain and display a façade of happiness to hide a bleeding heart. But a smile derived from genuine peace, the peace residing inside a woman that surpasses all understanding and keeps her mind intact despite the storms of life.
Wholeness or being complete is based on identity, not life ‘happenings’. Life always happens. Tragedies happen. Business deals fall through. Loved ones sometimes hurt or wound us. Those things won’t cease to occur. Yet, once you’ve established who you really are, your true identity, whatever what comes your way, you’ll still keep pressing and rising. Below are ways to embrace and protect your wholeness.
Don’t obsess over closed doors in your life.
If you do, you’ll get stuck on something or someone that isn’t changing. Release what was. It’s not worth wasting more time or energy on what won’t be. Keep it moving. How do you release? Don’t nurse and rehearse the pain, closed door or negative experience. Literally, think about what you’re thinking about! Then, renew your mind with something life-giving not life-draining. Max Lucado quotes, “Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge. Your problem is not your problem; your problem is the way you look at it. You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control the way you process them.” Some memories will never leave us, but they don’t have a right to control or dictate our quality of life – unless we allow it. Misery is a choice. We can learn from history with repeating or replaying it.
I remember a time that I would get depressed and second-guess my worthiness or competence every time I faced a closed door (or rejection for an opportunity). Now, I've come to understand that both closed and open doors prepared me for my destiny and the impact God created me to make in the lives of others. During those times of waiting and discovery, I grew in wisdom, compassion and maturity with each open or closed door. I'm grateful!
Maintain a supportive circle of trustworthy relationships.
When life tries to break us, it’s tempting to seclude yourself. Personal reflection is good, but excessive alone time is isolation. Isolation paralyzes and hinders us from moving forward.
A good circle of loved ones includes relationships that provide wise prospective and words of life that elevate you. We don’t discover who our true supporters and confidantes are on the mountain top. It’s in the valley of life that you realize the strength of your circle. Check your “valley circle” it is there you’ll find who should be beside you when you reach the mountain top.
Focus on three important P’s: Perspective, Purpose & Passion.
Perspective: There’s a proverb that reads, “The one who associates with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Life is the sum total of the company we keep and advice we take. Wise perspective is everything.
Purpose: Discover what you were born to do and get busy doing it. Surround yourself with purpose-minded people.
Passion: Align your life with what makes your heart sing. Many aren’t courageous enough to do this because it takes time, self-discovery and faith. Once you’re aligned with your passion, you become a magnet for opportunities. Fulfilling opportunities that are organic, unforced, profitable advantages that lead to the manifestation of your highest purpose.
Maintain an attitude and atmosphere of gratitude.
Keep gratitude list, identifying what you’re grateful for. Scientific research proves that gratitude improves psychological health. "Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret," according to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher. Dr. Emmons has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. What have you made it through this far? What is there to be grateful for this year, hour or day? Give thanks.
Rely on God’s unfailing grace.
There is One who will never fail us. His strength is perfected in weakness. Surrender to God. Rely on His strength. Who is your spiritual power Source? Misplaced expectations lead to disappointment. Why not place your hope and expectation in an unfailing, unrelenting Source of strength? It doesn’t mean we stop trusting or expecting the best of people, we just stop putting our total reliance on people. “Each time He said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) Let His grace do what it does best, keep you whole, thriving and stable through anything life brings.