When Life Is Far From Rosy, We Choose...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Image by Karissa Nickish
There are seasons in our lives that seem hopeless, awkward, painful and just down-right difficult at the core. The list of descriptions can be exhaustive when we inspect the hard details of our lives. Yet, we are not guaranteed a life without trials, hardship, transitions, or pain. Nonetheless, we are promised a full life of joy and hope despite our circumstances. 

If you are in a season that is far from rosy, or perhaps know a friend in this season, here are six things we can actively choose to do in this period. That is the key -- it is a choice. We choose to not retreat from the problem but rather embrace this season with all the beauty it, too, has - a time of diving deep into growth. 

We Choose to Learn

Ah, learning. While looking at the situation through a more academic lens may initially cause the chills of a high school math class, it can allow us to see multiple perspectives of an issue. It is important to feel all the emotions in a circumstance, yet we should not let them rule our hearts. In practice, this could look like asking ourselves questions in our seemingly-hopeless circumstances: Why is this causing pain or hurt? What are specific ways to hold fast to hope? And, ultimately, how can this be used as an avenue of growth and learning? 

Note that choosing to learn does not simply mean "looking at the bright side of things" -- for, that solution is only a temporary fix. Let's look at all the sides of the circumstance to fully embrace and press on in and through the mess. 

Photo by Karissa Nickish
We Choose to Zoom Out

When I was purchasing items for my college dorm last year, I bought a magnifying mirror to use when I get ready in the morning. And, boy, let me tell you -- you see everything in this mirror. Your facial imperfections and morning bed head are even further emphasized making the thought "do I really look like this?" roam your mind too often. 
What this mirror is good for is a small list: plucking eyebrows, fixing stray hairs and perfecting my contour*. Yet, at last, it mostly just punctuates an issue I wouldn't focus on otherwise. Likewise, when we zoom too closely into a circumstance, we are only seeing a fraction of our condition and letting that define it in its entirety. So, let's take a large step back, shall we? This way, we are able to gain proper perspective and allow the little details to take the back seat.

*Who am I kidding? Contour?! You know this girl does not have even the slighted clue how to do that. 

We Choose to be OK with Imperfection

In these far-from-rosy times, we are tempted to want to fix and fix now. While recognizing a problem and choosing to move forward in some way from it is a wise step to take, let's give ourselves some grace. We do not have to formulate a 1-2-3 step action plan to get back on our feet or have it all figured out in a set number of days. It is in the valleys brimming with imperfection that we have the opportunity to realize our humanity in full. When recognized and felt, we can choose to just do our best with where we are at each day (even considering purchasing this shirt with the mantra). Grace  on grace on grace, friends. We are all just trying to figure out this doin' life thing, right?

Photo by Karissa Nickish
We Choose Vulnerability

Allowing people to be apart of your season of life that is painful is scary. Terrifying at times, even. Yet, the vulnerability of admitting your hurt or lack of hope to a friend reminds both of us that we need each other. We were not made to go through the hard times alone, for it is in community that we can experience the beauty of carrying one another's burdens.

Practically, this can appear as simply sending a text to a close friend or family member letting them know what you are walking through and inviting them to be apart of that. Or, this can look like sitting down with someone older and wiser than you over coffee to process your emotions. Whoever it may be, those who are deeply rooted in your life want to be apart of your mess to encourage and hold you.

We Choose to Surround Ourselves with Truth

It is easy for our heart + mind to get a little foggy in a cloud of emotions some days. We tend to forget the things we know to be true, thus leaving us to buy into falsehood left and right. Though it may take time to fully believe or feel, choosing to surround ourselves with truth is vital to maintaining our sense of worthiness. What we need to remind ourselves of in a situation can differ depending on circumstance & person, but here are few phrases I prompt myself of in the thick of it: 01) This is only temporary, 02) Community heals and 03) There is hope (even if I do not see it right now). Either it be a close friend who speaks truth often or simply a sticky note on your mirror, setting our minds on what is real and honest far outweighs any lies we can believe.

Photo by Karissa Nickish
We Choose to Love

When life does not seem to be going our way, it is only natural to let that consume us. Still, life somehow seems to continue for both ourselves and our community. Therefore, we are not alone in our struggle; actually, we are in great company. While we are limited people making our giving modified in times of sorrow, we can still love those around us. Whether that be through thanksgiving for our friend's support or listening to someone's struggle without the intention of pulling our own into the conversation, we can love.


While not a perfect or complete list, I hope that we can be active participants in our lives and the lives of our friends + family in these far-from-rosy times. For in our mess and weakness, there is strength and beauty.

Join the conversation: What do you choose in times of struggle? How do you hold fast to hope despite your circumstance?



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