Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to know if you are surviving or thriving?

Back in March I was driving our van when it started to jerk me around like a bucking bronco. I was so scared. I was on the freeway, of course, and cars were just whipping by me as a I puttered along to get off and to safety. This was the start of a 7 month waiting game. We got a new transmission but it had problems so for 6 ridiculous months the company that rebuilt it had our mechanics trying this and that before they would honor the warranty. It has been stressful driving on a faulty transmission and my anxiety has grown exponentially because of it. Some days I don't even want to get in the van. Other times I do drive it but I watch the dashboard like a hawk and jump at every lurch. My van has seriously given me Post traumatic stress disorder or something like it. Our van has barely been pulling through this. It has also been stressful on our family. I have barely been pulling through this!

I feel like my van. It feels like I am barely making it and just surviving. I keep waiting for the "check engine" light to come or that I am running on empty. I was doing good and then October hits and I am fighting Depression and feeling like everything I have worked on this last year was for nothing. This all or none thinking is one of the many unhealthy thought patterns I have developed in order to protect myself and survive. Depression, anxiety and self pity keep knocking at my door and rattling and jerking me around. I realize that relapses are normal but still frustrating.  I feel like I am searching for purpose in all that is going on in my life and all that I have lost because of my illness. Yes I have gained. I have gained a lot of hope, perspective and patience but I am still grappling with the loss because of my illness.

Maybe you learn to live with the loss of who you once were or who you can never be. Maybe you never get over it? A loss of any kind is hard to get over don't you think? I know there is a purpose in pain and struggle but it is hard and it doesn't mean I like it. I am still trying to figure how to get the life I want.  The life I need to thrive.I think wanting to do more than just survive is bringing me closer to what I really want. That's is to thrive. I hope so. I keep trying things and nothing is having any lasting effects. It is just like my van and all the things we tried before we got a working transmission. Its frustrating and exhausting!

How many of you feel like you are just surviving? The dictionary define surviving as the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, in spite of difficult circumstances. Thriving means to grow and develop well or vigorously. When you are surviving you do anything to get by. When I think of thriving I think of a garden flourishing. Why do some of us wither and decline and others grow and develop rapidly? Why do some of us get knocked down and others of us adapt more quickly? That is what I intend to find out. I am going to be getting my hands dirty, and just like my van, I am going to see what it going on under the hood.

I am already finding things that need some tuning and God's grace. He is my mechanic in this scenario and all aspects of my life. I am hurting and feeling so hopeless. This is not how he wants me to feel but as I crumble before his feet he will fix what is broken. I am reminded as I was a year ago that all these things that are not working or broken will take time. It is just hard when I am in pieces and I can't see how this is all going to be put back together. It may mean another year of tears and struggle. I am surviving, but just by a thread. To those of you feeling the weight on your shoulders and feeling like giving up, Be strong and have courage! Keep trying and don't kick yourself for time wasted. Just get up and move towards thriving and being a better you!

When you feel like you are barely hanging in there, endure to the end. Endure to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in him. Its a daily choice and willingness to let him in so he can fix what is broken.This may take months or years. It most likely will take our lifetime. It feels a lot like this situation with our van. We fix one thing and then there is something else that has a problem. Our 7 months of struggling with our van has taught me a lot of patience but it has been so hard. So many days I have felt paralyzed and unsure of what to do next. It is real. It feels like continuous car trouble. Trying to make sense of all these trials has felt the same way.  We just have to keep trying things and trust in our mechanic. He is really the only one who knows what he is doing anyway!

So what does car trouble and thriving have to do with each other? The more my life is engulfed by darkness the more I want to be free of it. I am searching and looking for answers to make my life and others better. I don't know when if ever I will stop feeling like I am just surviving. As I ask for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's help I am now asking to endure and develop into who I was meant to be. I am looking at things from different angles and trying to trust more. I want to be less jerked around and feel more peace in this whole process. My diagnosis is grim and difficult, but some day, I will work and function like a well oiled machine. I can't wait for that day! But while I am waiting for it, why not thrive and blossom despite the struggles?

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