Let’s be honest; there have been times in these last several years that I have been completely overwhelmed. I don’t always do change well and lately my life has been jam-packed with huge life changes: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I’ve had a tornado … or two, wrestled with insurance (Ugh!), become an empty nester (Gulp!), and gone through a car wreck that could have killed my husband but thankfully he was just injured (Yikes!). We’ve dealt with the loss of a job and regular income when it seemed surely the end of trouble would come. Death of dear friends, and watching as my own mother’s battle against cancer failed (Heartbreak!).
Our challenges led to lots and lots of packing then moving … yes, more than once. Distance. Depression. Deliverance.
I’ve learned so much through the shifting and changing of the narrative of my own life. While some change is joyful and exciting like a new job, marriage, and the birth of a new baby, some change is downright gut-wrenchingly painful. The one word they all have in common is … change!
Either way, changing your life narrative is often quite a force to be reckoned with. Here’s some good news though—you can and you will get on the other side. Through my season that’s been full of so many changes, there are some things I have learned.
Here are my 5 tips for when your life takes a left turn:
1. Admit, “This is hard!”
It’s really ok to say, “this is bigger than me”; “this hurts”; or “I’m not sure I can handle this.” Be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace … especially in the beginning. I’ll be honest and tell you that I suck at this. My tendency is to look at the big picture and think “in light of what others are going through these things aren’t that bad for me.” I’m learning to be more honest about my own life and not measure it against the lives of others. Honesty is good. Life is messy folks. Yours will be too.
2. Ask for help.
Put away your Superwoman Cape for a time. Receive help. Let some responsibilities go. Say no. You can do it. Repeat after me, “I can say, no.” It’s ok to not be the champion in every situation. You will know when you are ready to put your Superwoman Cape back on. Just remember, even superheroes need a break.
3. Take care.
Take the time to care for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you don’t, your body may very well force you to. It is okay in the midst of getting your “sea legs” in a new season to take time for yourself, really! You will be better for it, and you will be able to contribute more to that change. No guilt, sister!
4. Celebrate the happy!
Let loose a little, and celebrate! We need to take moments to enjoy or mark changes. Even in the midst of a dark valley there will be slices of light that cut through the darkness. Grab those moments, throw back your head and have a good happy laugh or happy cry. That’s a celebration! Look for those moments and embrace them fully. Throw a party. Go out for dinner. Take a mini celebratory vacation. Buy a new pair of shoes. Make a special meal. Eat an ice cream cone. Moments like these give you strength to step forward, and they celebrate where you’ve been and where you are. You’re doing it! You’re narrative is changing, and you are finding joy in the journey.
5. Remember, your life is valuable.
Even in the tough stuff, we must remember that we are here for a reason … and everything that happens in our life has purpose. Oftentimes the difficult seasons in our lives teach us some of the lessons above—lessons we might resist if we weren’t forced to accept help and embrace grace for ourselves. Remember: you are valuable, your life is valuable, and once you get through this you will be a stronger woman with a fresh appreciation for grace.
So the next time your life narrative takes a left turn you’ll be ready for it. Well, at least you will know it will probably head your way. When it does you can follow this 5-point plan and get to the other side.
Check out these articles that share a positive perspective on the hard seasons of life Keep Fighting; There’s a Plan for Your Life, A Woman of Grit Without a Hard Heart, and When Life Gives You a New Normal