I've always been curious to a fault. I've never been afraid to dip my toe into dark waters, swish it around, blindly trusting that whatever lies beneath won't bite.
Only, it did.
Not too long ago, I made a decision that not only broke me but forced me to reevaluate everything. I tried, I learned, I conquered, and I moved on to other waters where hopefully fewer piranhas live.
But how do you survive the bite?
My husband is the toughest guy I know. When he gets a cut, he pours straight alcohol on it and barely flinches. It's truly a sight to see. Man, is he manly. In another life or maybe in some romance novel yet to be written, he's the burly guy who is seemingly invincible. We've been together 15+ years, but I still want to impress him. I want to be that strong woman he tells his friends about who helps him build porches, move furniture, remodel houses, and can take the pain of pouring alcohol on her wounds. I love to see the big guys' faces when he says the latter--their brows cinch together, mouths upturned, recoiling at the thought. Because it hurts like hell, but it's only temporary. And afterward, it's better, so much better.
Removing the bacteria is only one step to surviving. Afterwards, there's a recovery period. A time of healing. After all, you've been hurt, and it takes time to bounce back from brokenness.
Your time of recovery may look different from mine, but I chose to bury myself in scripture and surround myself with people who not only cover me in prayer but who also guide me into decisions that are best for me and the purpose they know God has for me. God, thank you for these people. I cannot do life without them and You.
Relationships are such an important part of healing. You will likely still need time to recover in solitude and prayer, but be careful not to isolate yourself for long. Cling to those who feed your soul and spirit but gently distance yourself from those who are not lifting you in prayer and action through this fragile season. The actions of those around you during difficulty show the state of relationships. Take note. But give and receive grace. This isn’t about being selfish, but when your spirit is broken, you need to know who to turn to that will lift you with a Godly focus. In other words, this is not the time to surround yourself with the takers in your life.
Recovery time is sort of like going fishing. You cast out your problem into the dark waters, but you keep reeling it back. Some days more than others, and you may find that you've caught your sorrows all over again and you have to recast. And maybe you have to recast daily for a while.
It's an ebb and flow until your heart and mind find a peace that surpasses understanding.
When you've had enough of reeling that trouble back in, when you can finally go days without thinking about it, it's time to let it go completely. No looking back. No looking into other boats and wondering what fish lie elsewhere. No second-guessing why you ever left shore to begin with. No more past. It's only future from now on.
Make the decision and move, even if it's only a few steps.
This is when the world will make you feel less than. After all, you aren't what you were before. Before you were more, and you were miserable.
Let's stop right here and get real for a minute. If the life you're living is unhappy in any area, do something about it. It's admirable to stay in unhealthy situations to spare people, but it's not sustainable. That's not a healthy place for anyone. If you find yourself in a place of trying to please the people around you instead of following what the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do, take an inventory of your life and goals. If this doesn't add to it, you need to make a change.
You will be humbled by your new circumstances because to the world, you've failed, but in all honesty, you've done something so much more--you've found freedom. Waking up to a life that's lived within your purpose feels like fresh air. It feels like a whale has just moved off your chest, and the sky is finally turning bright, beautiful blue again.
You'll still suffer pains from your injury from time to time, because despite our head knowledge of Truth, our hearts are stupidly stubborn sometimes, taking much longer to grasp what our mind and spirit are telling us.
Set a new goal, and follow it. Find your hope again.
It hurts. You were broken. You tried. You made mistakes. You learned. You made a tough decision. You survived. You will thrive again.
I'm a painfully private person, but in my past few blog posts, I've spoken with you like a friend because that's what you are. You are reading this because...
a. You are sharing the same struggle.
b. You are curious.
c. You're supportive, an encourager.
No matter why you're here right now, I'm grateful for you. I'll take it a step further and confess that I'm thankful for our struggles because it's brought us together as a community of like-minded and like-hearted individuals who are only trying to find their way in a world that makes connection so difficult.
Jesus Calling is my daily devotional, and in it, the writer shares that troubles are opportunities to exhibit faith in its purest form. I've never wanted to be thankful for things that have caused me great pain, but He brings good to the worst of cases. He's already revealed some things I know will enrich my life forever through this broken circumstance.
The sea to freedom isn't easy. But it is grand. Its vastness is unsurpassable. All we must do is keep our eyes on He who has promised to keep those who rest in Him. When you start to stumble, reach out. He will catch you, and so will your tribe.
This is a time to practice your faith, even though you feel like crawling in a hole. Resist that urge. Following God's prompting is never something to feel ashamed of, despite what others may say or feel about you.
With love and prayer.
The Faithful Creative is a blog, community, and magazine for believers who create. Our hope is to bring you encouraging and inspirational articles that enrich your life, art, and faith.