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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Surviving before thriving

Thursday at work I was talking to one of my coworkers about the book and movie, "The Shack".  I haven't made it through the book fully, but anyone who knows that book or movie knows it's a story of a man's struggle with himself and God as he comes to terms with the abduction and death of his young daughter on his watch.  As a father of a young girl, that book kind of got to me.

Anyway, the takeaway from our discussion was survival.  Life deals us blows from time to time and usually we can absorb them, process them, shrug them off and move forward pretty quickly.  However, on a few occasions the blow are so deep and profound that we can't just do that. Sometimes, it is just enough to survive them, never mind trying to process them.

So, it occurred to me, what do we do in the process of surviving.
  • We consider the basics of what we need.  Depending on the loss, this could include
    • Planning and burying a relative.
    • Working on maintaining/recovering our health.
    • Making sure the needs of our children are met.
    • Making sure our basic needs are met including a roof over our head.
  • We process what we need to at the time.  Depending on the loss, this could include:
    • Understanding our loved one isn't there & will no longer be there.
    • Taking the steps necessary to deal with our illness or recovery.
    • Understanding that our house has been destroyed or taken away from us and that we will no longer be able to stay there.
  • We push aside the things that either don't matter or that can be deferred until later.  This can involve.
    • Delaying a major purchases.
    • Delaying or altering a vacation.
    • Cutting back on all but necessary spending.
    • Focusing on taking care of our (and our family's) own needs rather than trying to help everyone else.
    • Allowing other to do things for us while we recover.
  • We take the daily steps that we need to.   Depending on the loss, these could include:
    • Focusing on our recovery.
    • Pay the bills we need to.
    • Getting ready for the day.
    • Going to work, school or whatever the day demands.
    • Eating when we need to.
    • Making sure the kids or pets have what they need.
    • Process a little, vent/cry a little.

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All that being said, it occurred to me what is surviving?  To me surviving is like the necessary taking steps to keep an old car running until you've have the means or have saved up enough for a new car.  The sub points are how it relates to life.
  • You put what you need to into the old car.  Your focus is expending only on keeping it running.
    • You energies are invested what you need to do to survive.  Not much more.
  • You limit driving in the old car to extend the life of it.
    • You limit your focus daily to making it through another day.
  • All the while, you are trying to save enough and/or make enough to make the purchase of a new car more feasible.  
    • Little by little survival mode yields to processing the blow and all that it means.
    • Gradually you get out of survival mode and you start to 'thrive again'.
      • Opening up and seeing people again after a loved one dies.
      • Recovering from or learning to live with health issues.
      • Financially recovering enough to make major purchases again.
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Anyone who has been through a major blow, a major life change, a major loss and survived to tell the tale, will tell you half the battle is survival.  It may seem like forever until we are in a better place, but somewhere, somehow we know that there can be a better place for us.  There can be a place where we can thrive again.  Just like Job, when everything was taken away from him and he was suffering, he stayed firm in his faith.  Because of his faith, he was blessed with a larger family and a twofold inheritance (Job 42:8-17)   Now I don't expect everyone who keeps survives the bad times, keeps strong and keeps the faith will be reward so handsomely.  However, I do think there is an object lesson there.  Know that if you work on surviving the bad times when you need to, work on processing them along the way and work on getting to a better place you can, you can go from surviving to thriving or at least coming to a place of serenity.

In short, SURVIVE UNTIL YOU CAN THRIVE.


Now for some music to encourage everyone to keep on moving in the face of adversary.