Many of us find ourselves in less than ideal situations from which we can’t immediately escape. Maybe never escape. In situations like these it is easy to despair. It is easy to compare, to feel trapped, to feel unhappy, to feel defined by our circumstances, to feel judged even.
I know, I have been there before! I am much better at handling challenging situations now. BUT, unlike my optimistic husband, I am naturally a glass-half-empty kind of gal. It has taken his gentle guidance and love to help point me in a better direction. A better way to live. Thankfully it gets easier with practice for any of you who may have a similar natural inclination! And still, this post is a good reminder for me too.
There is a better way to live
It is easy to allow difficult situations like these to affect us mentally and emotionally. To let them get us down. Then we walk around discouraged and don’t function at our full God-given potential. Goodness knows I have lived this kind of drained existence. Having experienced a different way, I can confidently say that it is NO way to live. That we don’t HAVE to live like this. There is a better way!
Get off the roller coaster
Challenging, difficult life circumstances happen to all of us. If we allow the quality of our life to be dictated by what is going on at any given moment of our life, living becomes the equivalent of riding an emotional roller coaster. At times, when the “stars align” and things are going peachy, life is exhilarating (rarely, right!?). Then one bad thing happens and we tumble to the bottom, incapable of seeing anything but gloomy despair.
Worse yet, are the hard situations we can’t escape in the foreseeable future. They may be related to our finances, a relationship, our health, a living situation, our children, or lack of children. WHATEVER they are, we wish they were different. We want our circumstances to change but they don’t. And who knows, maybe they never will.
Being content in the life we have been given
What if, though, instead of allowing these circumstances we are trapped in to dictate to us how we feel about ourselves and our lives, we chose a different way? What if we learned to be content, happy even, in the life we have been given? What if we found that the fairytale life we had always hoped to live was the life we were living right at this moment? Good and bad.
I finally did and you know what? It changed my life. All the various challenges were still there, but I no longer felt emotionally shackled by them. I actually began to feel happy and at peace even in these difficult circumstances. I don’t always do this perfectly, but over time it has gotten easier and easier. If someone like me (who is NOT an optimist by nature) can live this way, anybody can!
As we learn to be grateful and content in life, we find that positive things begin to happen. Regardless of our circumstances, we begin to experience joy and peace and hope. We begin to “bloom where we are planted”, as my amazing friend April likes to say. Life opens up for us in ways that we never expected or dreamed of in: a sunrise, the comfort of a friend, a walk outdoors, beautiful artwork, a shared family meal–the miracle of life. Our circumstances haven’t changed. Rather, the lens we view life through and what we choose to focus on changes US.
And we may even find that these difficult, inescapable circumstances work in us to shape our character. And work empathy into our hearts for others. And often provide opportunities for us to serve people, giving our life a fuller purpose and meaning beyond ourselves. I am telling you, there is nothing else like it in all the world! No amount of fame or fortune can compare to the pure joy that comes from living a life filled with purpose that is bigger than us. A life that makes a difference to others. I dare you to give this way of living a try if you haven’t already! I can assure you, you won’t want to turn back.