Recently, I spoke with a friend who was at a low point. So much so that she said, “I quit. I’m giving up.”
“You can’t.” I told her. “I won’t let you. You’ve got this.”
“But you don’t understand, Cindy. It’s always been so easy for you.”
(I’d been told something similar in college. Didn’t care for it then, and I still don’t now.)
Really? I held up a hand. “Huh uh. You don’t really want to go there.”
“Sorry. It’s just that every time I think I’m about to clear my plate, then life heaps on another helping of turmoil. I’m tired of it. I can’t take it anymore.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” And I was. But I also realized that what my friend needed wasn’t a Placating Polly, but rather, a Tough Love Tilly. It was time to get real in a way my friend would understand. In a way that said Look, you have a right to your feelings, but because I love you I’m gonna tell you just how the pig ate the cabbage.
Here’s the set-up (and for privacy reasons, I’ll use the name “Mel.”):
For the past two decades, Mel’s wanted to pursue a lifelong goal. In her 20’s, Mel went to school, had a career, married, had babies, and became a stay-at-home-mom. She placed her goal on the back-burner, all the while still dreaming what it would be like to one day be a writer.
Her kids grew older. She resumed her career. (And not one she particularly liked.)
She thought about taking some writing courses. Getting involved in a writing organization. Something that would confirm her future as a writer. But then the unthinkable happened. After almost 19 years of marriage, Mel divorced. Now, she felt locked in a career she barely tolerated, but had to have. And her dream of writing all but evaporated–again.
“Look. I’ve never experienced divorce, but I have known heartbreak and a hundred stops and starts during my writing journey. None of them have been fair, kind, or pretty. But here’s the thing–” I told Mel placing an arm around her shoulder, “Without that gunk, we’d never be the writers God intends. It sets the stage. It primes us for victory. It clears a new path.”
My friend’s eyebrows arched upward. “For what?”
Ahhh… Lightbulb moment. I sensed the wheels turning.
“Bu…But what do I do? How do I get started while working a full-time job and raising two teenagers?”
“Baby steps,” I suggested.
I went on to offer some things my friend could do now. Things like join a critique group or writers organization. Set workable writing goals around her busy schedule. Aim for a new goal each month. Shoot for realistic results within a limited, but doable time frame.
Discouragement is such an ugly beast. It rears its awful head just when we’re at our most vulnerable.
Perhaps, you’ve met with disappointment after disappointment. Maybe, you’ve had a huge life change or a more subtle, albeit challenging, personal event. It might not even be something you can pinpoint. It could be a slow, steady progression toward the tunnel of despair.
Wherever you’re at during your journey today, don’t doubt God’s hand upon your life. Understand, however, that while He directs your path, He also grants you free will as you navigate it.
And for every stumbling block, pitfall, or crevice, He’s faithful to deliver. It might not be in the exact way you plan, dream, or hope. It might not be without a floodgate of tears.
It might come at a cost.
For your own good.
That’s hard to swallow sometimes, isn’t it? It sounds superficial even as I type those words. For your own good. But please know that’s not how I intend it.
Get up. Get going!
You’ve got this.
God’s got this.
And you’re about to rise to new heights!
It’s hard to practice “tough love.” Can you think of a time when you needed a little?
What about an instance when God used you to deliver some tough love?
Has your life journey taken a detour? Encouragement found here! (Click to Tweet)
Sometimes, our tunnel of despair is God’s way of preparing us for the light! (Click to Tweet)
Photo Credit: listentothemountains/Creative Commons
See you Friday!