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  • Writer's pictureToni Thrash

Don't Give up

Staying positive during the storms of life

Can I ask you a question? When’s the last time you quit something? When storms hit, do you go to the negative, run, and hide under a blanket at the back of your closet? Or do you fight to the death, so to speak? Do you repeat the phrase in your head: “this is not worth it or I don’t have anything left!” I cannot be the only one! Someone, please raise your hand! I had a brief moment like this not long ago! Well, not so brief. I tend to stay in my head about all the things and this had been building. I created the storm in my head. I can be my own worst enemy. I was in a major pit on this particular day and shamed myself the entire day; you know the furious way you slam yourself?! (If you don’t do this, then please send me your secret to avoiding this) On repeat: “I think I will just quit!!!” Felt like I was backed into a corner instead of fighting my way out. I not only thought these words. I, unfortunately, said, “I think I will just quit!” out loud on the phone to someone who just laughed! Yep, laughed and said, “when you’re finished quitting let me know and by the way, that’s probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth.” She knows me very well!

I’ve never liked storms. Probably because I can’t control them. They cause me to be restless and unsettled! This storm was minor in comparison to other storms I’ve faced, but because I’m a planner by nature and to be in a constant state of stormy weather is not something I would choose for my life. I like routines and I hate surprises!

I thought I would be further along in this journey; the journey from divorce. I just assumed the road out would only last a couple of years and I would be back on solid, stable ground. Turns out I was wrong! The road is long and hard. A friend recently told me “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” An 8-year-long marathon to be exact. Most storms come when we least expect them. You can prepare for them ( You think you can prepare for them. There’s the control thing again!) or you can get a crash course when they beat your door down. I wished I could connect what my heart knew but my head disbelieved was true. My heart knows He knows and yet my head doubts and my logic overrules what my heart KNOWS to be true. (Make sense?) I got a text from a friend yesterday confirming that I am not in fact what I wish I was. “And you’re human too. You’re not Wonder Woman!”(This was a blow to my pride)

Sometimes I like to think I’m Wonder Woman and can do it all and can manage all emotions and thoughts and not let them disrupt my life. My cape is my source. You do a little this and a little that and you save the world from the storms in one episode. Unfortunately, the episode we have is this one life and it doesn’t always go as we plan. Oh, if only you could read my mind… You might change your mind about me! The tornado of thoughts, fears, and worries in my head is categorized as an F5(tornado)! Talk about a storm!

I was watching Andy Stanley one morning and this quote fits me without question: “What are you telling yourself, that if you were to say it out loud to someone, they would think you’re crazy?” (I did say it out loud) What was on repeat in my head found its way out of my mouth. The truth is my unsettled brain had overstepped a boundary. What are we told to do when such storms appear? We fight or we take flight. When the storms hit we tend to panic and try and figure out a plan of action. We must learn to be content right where we are! How do we do this? How do we stay positive in the storms raging around us?

The thing is, I needed to stop. Rest. Be still. Quiet.

My friend shared, “Your body and mind are SCREAMING for downtime and quiet!!!!” I took my superwoman cape off… trying to slow down enough to simply be still and needing time to write and study God’s Word. God doesn’t need me to calm the storms, that’s His job.

The warning to slow down and be quiet, plus the reality of what I was facing was real. The one thing I couldn’t do was sit long enough and figure it out. I needed some help with this! I was afraid of the quiet..only because it wasn’t so long ago, the loneliness that engulfed me was almost more than I could bear! I didn’t want to go back there!

Here are some ways to stay positive and not beat yourself up:

1. Pray.. this is the time God hears what only He needs to hear. He alone can bear this storm. Say it all. Scream, cry, wail, argue, and fight with Him! This brings me the comfort I need! You need it.. because once we grasp this truth, our brain slows down and God’s voice whispers, “What hangs in the balance if you quit now?”

2. Remember Gratitude! I journal 5 things I’m grateful for every day. Try it for 5-10 days and see if it doesn’t change your attitude. Find a partner to who you can verbally say these things. I promise it helps.

3. Serve. Find someone anyone actually that you can serve. Find a place to serve. Church, soup kitchen, kids aging out of the foster system, or your neighbor. Once we start to pour out on others, it gets our minds off of ourselves and our problems don’t seem as big. They are still there, they just don’t consume every thought. God delights us when we serve and on top of that, it’s such a generous thing to do.

4. Don’t be afraid of the quiet…Here’s what I know to be true: we cannot hear a thing when we panic and try to be in control. Sitting still, helps us focus on the good in our lives. It shifts the perspective from “all about me” to look what is good in my life on top of this storm. It is good, we just need to focus on this.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help- I promise it shows you that you have grown. It is a sign of maturity, not weakness. You can always ask, but you have to get out of the “I can do this myself” mentality.

Remember, when the storms of life hit, it is okay to have feelings, fears, and worries. It is natural. But don’t stay there long. God will see you through and HE will walk before you and machete the path for you. You are not alone. I’m guessing you might need help now. Feel free to reach out on any of my social media.

But, Please Don’t Quit!!!!


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