When It’s Time To Bounce Back

Once you have reached rock bottom the only direction you can go from there is up. In the initial stages you may not think you will ever leave the abode of rock bottom as doubts as to whether you will ever rebuild your life creep in. And then, once you begin to feel the desire to move on from rock bottom, you are so used to being there that you wonder if you are worthy of being anywhere else. So accustomed to being in the depths of darkness, you are fearful of stepping out into the light.

Whatever your circumstances may have been, they were just that; circumstances. And circumstances are not permanent but subject to change. Whether you have lost a loved one, a home, a job or suffered a public humiliation, there is no law of life that permanently confines you to your circumstance or decrees that you live your life in shame and in pain. You may never truly ‘get over’ your past but you can choose to not be reduced by it. You are worthy of standing tall despite the pain that resides deep within you, and you will be all the more stronger for it.

When it is finally time to face the world again, you may feel extremely self conscious or nervous. You might walk with your head held down not wanting to make eye contact with people who you feel are staring and gossiping about you, and if your story is anything like mine, they probably are. It hurts. But it takes a lot of mental affirmations until you will truly believe that what other people think about you, is their business and not yours. They may hate you and blame you for many things but you need to understand that these are their own personal and emotional issues that they need to overcome, just as you are beginning to overcome yours. It will take a lot of mental affirmations until you will truly believe that you are in control of the perception you have of yourself, and you do not need to diminish the belief you have in yourself just because of the opinions of others. I know it is incredibly difficult to have such a firm feeling of self worth, especially when situations occur that knock all the confidence out of you, but you have to ask yourself why we give permission to other people to make us feel inferior? Why do we give their personal opinions of us such authority over our lives? They are their opinions, and just like circumstances, they are not permanent, but subject to change.

Set about changing their opinions by showing them and the world who you really are. And even if they don’t change their opinions, it is of no loss or concern to you. Be the wonderful person that you are, continue striving for change for the betterment of yourself and you will give people a new reason to talk about you. Because if your story is anything like mine, the talk will go from ‘It’s all her fault, how could she show her face around here?…’ to ‘Wow, she’s so nice! It’s amazing how she has bounced back from x, y, z!’ People are fickle. They will enter in and out of your lives, but you will remain with you for the rest of your life. So be kind to yourself and turn that niggling voice in your head into a positive one. It’s not going to be easy, but trust me… you’ve got this.

Thank you for taking the time out to read my story. Please share it with anyone who you feel may benefit from it, and have a blessed day!

 

Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

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When We Are Disconnected

How long will it remain like this? For anyone who has experienced the depths of depression this question may be all too familiar; how long? Perhaps you have heard it asked or perhaps you were the one asking. It is a question  that comes from a place of despair and exhaustion because it is tiring living each and every day as though you carry the weight of your pain over your shoulder like a heavy sack filled with the burdens of your past. It slows you down and it wears you out. The prospect of living out the rest of your days in such pain is unthinkable and so you question; how much more?!

How long will it remain like this? It is from my personal experience that being in a state of strong faith and being in a state of depression does not exist in the same moment. And so we remain like this as long as we are disconnected from our Creator. I write this without intent to cause harm or offense to anyone, but to share parts of my personal experiences and my journey in the hopes that it reaches someone and resonates with them. By no means am I suggesting that medications and professional counselling services are ineffective and that professional services and advice should not be sought. Everyone is individual and unique and what works for some may not work for others and vice versa. But what I can share is that the burning desire to turn things around and the self motivation to take oneself out of a situation sees quicker results than anything else. In my case happiness could not be administered to me in the form of a pill or words of golden advice, the desire to be happy had to come from within me. And in the midst of the trauma that had engulfed my life, it was only my conviction in the existence of a Creator that allowed me to reach a happy place and then remain there. While my life in this world was falling apart to all those who observed, I was excited for the future, fuelled by the belief that I was going to meet my Creator.

Having faith has had the most uplifting effect on my life. Instead of holding on to past experiences with all their bitterness and pain, I let go of all the burdens that were weighing me down and gave them all to God to take care of. Instead of becoming frustrated and agonising over situations, I accepted that I couldn’t fix everything myself and that through faith I could allow myself to trust Him to rectify my affairs with full confidence that they would be taken care of in the best manner and with an ending that I could not have dreamed of. Faith has instilled a calming reassurance to the heart, knowing that I was not alone in every step of my journey.

By no means am I saying that one who has faith can’t feel sad. Things happen in life that get us down. We are people with feelings and emotions, and of course we will react to certain events and situations otherwise we wouldn’t be human, but what I have noticed is that when faith is strong, we are better equipped to deal with these situations. It doesn’t cause our lives to come to a standstill as we tell ourselves that God will take care of it, and to trust in the plan. There is a huge difference in being unsure of what the outcome will be and being sure that the outcome will be good because it will be just as God planned it. It literally is a weight off of your shoulders.

So as I mentioned before, reconnecting with my Creator was what lifted me up from the depths of depression. Though I didn’t even realise I was ever disconnected. I tried to do all that I was supposed to do and abstain from all that I was not. But I guess you could say my heart was not alive. We weren’t created to feel sad and isolated and despite what well meaning people may advise, reconnecting with our Creator shouldn’t be difficult or mechanical. Nor should we feel inferior to others who are able to achieve so much. Some people feel amazing after spending hours in worship, others get the same feeling by sitting in a garden and reflecting on His creation. God knows our capabilities as well as our limits and our judgement is not based on the achievements of others. Whatever it is that will bring us closer to our Creator, we only need to take the first steps and be sure that He will cause the rest to fall perfectly into place.

 

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When Friends Leave

She was my friend and I adored her. I admired her. Sometimes its hard to find someone that you share common interests with. I thought that I had found that friend who had the same interests as me and was passionate about the same things that I was. Sometimes we find ourselves putting up a façade in order to feel as though we belong, but with her I felt I could be myself. I could be the real me and she wouldn’t judge my inner weirdo because deep down she was a weirdo like me. Although at that time I had my husband, sometimes there’s nothing like a best friend. Like little girls, we laughed and giggled as we bonded over coffee and heartbreak. Two women whose childhoods and life experiences mirrored each other, finding themselves in a small town and resulting in two like-minded people.

That is why it was all the more hurtful when she decided to leave. Unexpected and traumatic events threw my life into turmoil and she made her excuses and simply walked away. I laughed it off in public but in reality it cut me. I told myself that I didn’t need her, and truly I didn’t. But that didn’t stop it from hurting me. I was lonely and in the middle of a devastating crisis, I yearned for companionship.

When people leave us, we can say all kinds of things. How they were selfish, how it was their loss, how they had never been a true friend in the first place, and these may well all be true. But it doesn’t stop the heartache. It doesn’t stop you wondering how and where they are now, and thinking that in such a small town, perhaps you might run into them as you look for them in every place you visited together. Blaming the people who leave us, and they may well be worthy of blame, does nothing to fill the void that their disappearance has left in our lives. Nothing can replace that feeling of emptiness, except knowing and truly accepting and believing that this is what was best for us.

We have to entrust our broken hearts for healing to the One who made them. God tells us that sometimes we desire something, and it is just not good for us. If something has been removed from our lives, we need to trust the One whose infinite knowledge extends across all of creation, and know that we are in good hands. Perhaps the heartbreak of these people leaving, is a lesser pain than the one that they would later inflict on our lives if they stayed.

She was my friend and I adored her. I admired her. Past tense. I still think of her often, but I no longer yearn for her companionship. In the middle of my devastating crisis I found the true friend who never leaves, and during unexpected and traumatic events, my heart was reunited with the One who made it. And that was what was best for me.

 

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Why Is It Always Me?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you ever wondered why nothing in your life seems to go right? Have you ever felt as though you have been abandoned and that God surely doesn’t love you if He keeps insisting on punishing you? Life is tough sometimes and often it turns out completely different to how we expected it to be, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t turn out to be beautiful.

I know it gets tiring, feeling as though life is a battle and that you are constantly fighting an unwinnable war. One hardship after another, and just when you feel as though everything is going to be alright; another test comes along and throws you into despair. Why is it always me?! The problem is not the tests we face, but rather the perception that we have over them. We can believe that God dislikes us and is targeting us in this way because of this, or we can choose to believe that God loves us and is targeting us in this way because of this. Same problem, different perception but major impact that perception has on our lives.

We can choose to believe that God loves us so much and wants what is best for us, even when that means what is best for us is not in alignment with what we want. When things don’t work out we can become upset about it, or we can say “Thank God!” because He made that decision over our lives and He knows what the best decision is for our lives. Same problem, different perception but major impact that perception has on our lives.

Why is it always me? It feels as though it is always you, because it is always you. You are that important. It has been said that sometimes a thing will happen again and again and in various formats, until we learn our lesson. Well say “Thank God!” It is always you because He doesn’t give up on you and He doesn’t forget you. He cares for us so much that He is going to condition us with life experiences until we become the best versions of ourselves.

Does it sound far-fetched? Think about the way in which we nurture and instil character in a child. When you want to teach the concept of hard work and the value of material possessions, do you go out and buy the child everything they want? They wouldn’t appreciate their possessions, they may not care for them properly, or just play with them a few times before tossing them aside with all the other unused items. They wouldn’t understand the labour and hard work that went into obtaining these possessions. Instead you might give the child some chores and allow them to earn a small amount each week to teach them the value of money as they see just how long it takes it earn it. When they are actually able to get that thing they wanted, how differently they would treat it, experiencing the true value and the hard work that went into being rewarded with it. How wise the adult would be in this case, who instead of giving the child everything they wanted immediately, gave it to them in a timely manner, alongside its lesson. We can apply this principle in our lives, only on a much larger scale. Instead of the desired result being toys, we can put everything that we hold dear into the balance. How Exalted and Wise is the Owner of our lives, who instead of giving us everything that we desire then and there, gives it to us in perfect timing, alongside its lesson.

Why is it always me? Thank God that it is, and understand that you will emerge all the better for it.

I thank you for taking the time out to read these reflections and I hope that it has been able to resonate with someone. Have a blessed day wherever you are and keep the faith!

 

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When You Are Ashamed of Your Story

We all have things in our lives that we are not proud of. We have all said and done things we wish we hadn’t, and we have all wondered what it would be like to change events and do them over. Live our lives again from the beginning and perfectly rewrite our stories.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the impossible as we dream up the way things would be now if we hadn’t done such and such. And likewise, it is all too easy to forget that the things we are not proud of, the things we wish we hadn’t said or done make us who we are. There is every possibility that if we removed those regrettable moments from our lives we would not be able to fully appreciate what we have been blessed with.

Without our past experiences, would we know what we know now? Our characters were developed through them as they evolved us into who we are today. While it is true that we all desire an easy life, if we had one, would we know what to value and hold dear? Would we be careless and insensitive? Would never having  any mistakes to own up to make us immature and incapable of resolving problems? Would having a so-called ideal life where we didn’t make mistakes make us arrogant? Would we become filled with pride and ingratitude? Would it create distance and take us away from remembering our Creator having no need to call on Him?

The events in our lives that we often wish we could omit humble us. They keep us grounded. Our pasts prevent us from thinking that we are better than others by letting us know that first and foremost, we ourselves are not perfect, and at the same time there is beauty in that imperfection. Perfectly flawed, we are made beautiful by life’s battle wounds. Our life stories, complete with mistakes and learned lessons, are individual and unique masterpieces.

There have been many times where I have been ashamed of my story.

I have been ashamed of living my life, because of my story.

I have felt ashamed of being me, because other people knew my story.

But now it is time to own it. And it is time for you to own yours. Our stories are what make us the beautiful and strong people that we are, and are testament to the fact that we will not be burdened beyond our capacity. Though painstakingly written, I am a better person because of it. The mistakes and lessons in our stories are not just for ourselves, but for others who are inspired by them. Don’t be afraid to share your stories, along with the wisdom gained through experiencing them. Your story was given to you for a reason, along with the people that weave in and out of it. Let our stories become an inspiration to others and symbols of hope and light.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this, have a wonderful and blessed day.

 

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

When Plans Don’t Work Out

We think we have it all sorted, we think we have everything figured out in our heads and even in our planners. We dream about our goals and the necessary steps that it is going to take in order to get there. It preoccupies our minds and fuels our existence as we fantasise about what things would be like once we finally achieve our goals. That’s why it is so hard to come to terms with the reality of when things don’t work out. When we feel as though everything that we have worked so hard to build up misses the mark or comes crashing down all around us, it hits hard. Like a physical blow it wounds us as we come to the realisation that what we wanted is not within our grasp.

So what happens next? Do we fall into depression? Blame ourselves? Blame others? Or, in contrast to some new age belief systems, do we come to the realisation that there are some aspects of our lives that we are just not in control of. In the name of progressive and modern thinking we do away with God, in favour of the notion that we ourselves can become gods. Yet all it takes is a relatively brief moment in the timeline of our life spans  placed in a compromising position to realise that we are not the almighty beings that we are led to believe. In that compromised moment of desperation we call out to the God that progressive and modern thinking would have you discard. We ask for help and we ask Him to rectify our affairs, because when our plans don’t work out and when everything that we have worked so hard to build up comes crashing down all around us, the belief in the fact that He is the Best of Planners, and not us, will carry us through.

Whatever is destined for you will be yours and there is nothing and nobody that can avert it or take it away from you. Try as they might. And whatever is decided is not best for you, try as you might, it will never become yours. That is not to say that there is no need to work or strive, or make efforts to better ourselves, our lives and the lives of others. We reach our goals through dedication and perseverance and we take comfort in the fact that we will achieve and have everything that we are destined. But what I am saying, is that when it appears that our plans haven’t worked out, we take comfort in the fact that the One who is in ultimate control over our futures is worthy of our trust.

Although it may not be apparent at that moment, have faith that our lives are being shaped and guided towards something that is better. We have ideas and desires but we see things from a very limited perspective. We are bound by lack of knowledge of the future and of the past and futures of the people who weave in and out of our lives. Our plans may have failed because of their limited nature and when that happens we trust the plan of the One who is unbound and infinite and unlimited.

I know it may not seem like it now, but one day all the dots will become connected and we will understand and be thankful for the fact that our plans didn’t work out. Sometimes our plans fail to make room and pave the way for more successful ones.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day! I would love to hear some of your stories and experiences in the comments below!

 

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When Kindness is Everything

Some people call them pushovers, doormats or soft touches. Those people who have been so badly mistreated by others but who do nothing to avenge the perpetrators when faced with the opportunity. Friends become frustrated that instead of giving that so-and-so a piece of their mind or telling them how it is, the “backboneless” victim chooses to forgive. Not only do they choose to forgive, but they forgive someone who doesn’t even ask for it, someone who is not deemed worthy. Friends become so angered by this un-deserving act of generosity yet it comes only from a place of genuine love and concern.

I am that person. I am that soft touch who may have angered many with my weakness. I used to say “yes” and agree to do everything and anything as if the affirmative was the only type of language existent in my vocabulary store. I was afraid to say “no.” I was so overly conscious of hurting others. I went out of my way to please everyone because nothing was too much of an inconvenience. This was the only way I knew how to be.

Life has taught me that people will not always treat you the way that you have treated them. They will not make the same sacrifices for you in the manner which you have. Perhaps you will find yourself in a situation where they walk away from you without a second glance, as I have. That has definitely been one of the most hurtful things for me in my journey. Being abandoned by people who knew the real me. People who knew my character, people who knew my heart. It was a lesson to me and one that I have to often reaffirm within myself; that their actions towards me is not because there is a deficiency within me, but because there is a deficiency within them, it just hadn’t manifested itself until now. The fact that people could walk away from me at the most difficult time in my life was not a reflection of my character but of theirs and it took this most difficult time in my life to reveal it. It was a painful lesson.

I used to wonder what would happen if I bumped into these people while out and about, what I would say to them. Would I ignore them? Confront them? The honest truth is that I don’t have a spiteful bone in my body. Even if I wanted to give so-and-so a piece of my mind or tell them how it is, the words would never leave my mouth and I would only be able to greet them with a smiling face and with the only type of language existent in my vocabulary store. Because this is the only way I know how to be. I have decided to embrace myself. My kindness in the face of their mistreatment is not to cause embarrassment, but because this is who I am.

Sometimes in life the very people who may appear to be weak and downtrodden end up becoming the underdogs who, when the tables have turned, become the very people you need to look up to. In an unexpected turn of events the poles are beginning to shift in my life and I am in a position to avenge the perpetrators of the cause of much pain and sadness towards me. I see them all the time and they know the tide has turned. I will admit that watching the events unfold gave me pleasure, but what has been an even greater pleasure is being in a position to show kindness to these people, to go out of my way to help them and support them because nothing is too much of an inconvenience.

I don’t do it to change their perceptions of me, the way they feel about me is their business and not of my concern. I do it because for me, there is no other way. To show anything but kindness would be to fight against my nature. Now instead of saying “yes” because I don’t know how to say anything else, I am actively and wilfully choosing to say “yes.” I am owning my words and not the other way around. So am I a pushover, a doormat, a soft touch? I like to see myself as leaving behind my signature in people’s lives. People’s perceptions of me are not of my concern, what is of concern is the perception of the Creator of these people and in Him these acts of kindness will not be lost.

Spread kindness wherever you go, you never know the effects that a seemingly small act can have.

Thank you so much for reading.

 

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