There are times in life when it feels like you are caught in a riptide with no idea which way is up or when you’ll be able to come up for air. I’m going to risk saying that we all have been there at least once in our lives, and if we haven’t, we will be.
The question is, what do you do when life kicks you in the cojones?
Part of living an intentional life is consistency – even in the midst of the things that shake you and try to break you.
How do you maintain consistency in the midst of a sometimes inconsistent set of circumstances? When someone loses a job? When a loved one is hospitalized?
It’s easy to get carried away by your circumstances – easy to allow your whole world to shut down around you. But I believe it is in these times that we need consistency and intentionality the most.
Here are some thoughts:
Remember your values.
Make every effort to keep your values at the front of your mind, even when you feel desperate. There are lots of opportunities for us to choose things inconsistent with our values, but none so tempting as a situation that leaves us feeling powerless or desperate. When circumstances are less than ideal, or downright terrifying, this is when you need your values the most.
Don’t settle for desperate.
Don’t settle for desperation. Remember that although there will always be things in our lives that are out of our control, never is everything out of our control. You may not be able to control the loss of a job, but you can control what you do next. Stay in control of your emotions and actions.
Focus on the big picture.
What’s the big picture? Don’t get tunnel vision. Whatever you are experiencing right now, you won’t be experiencing forever. Every event has a beginning and an end. It doesn’t need to define the rest of your life. No matter how bad things get, there will be a time in the future when circumstances will change again. Consider all areas of your life together, not just the one that sucks right now.
Don’t go it alone.
We have friends for a reason. When life tries to take you out, call in for reinforcements. It’s tempting to shut people out, especially when we are struggling to be strong. But friends and family have a way of recalibrating our focus and helping us to process things in healthy ways.
Whatever life throws at you, hold onto your values, remember that you are not completely helpless, consider the big picture, and let your friends and family support you. All things come to an end, and you will make it through. Whether you let it define you and change the course of your life, well, that’s entirely up to you.