It’s a strange time to be alive. There are so many things that are outside of our control, so many circumstances we have to navigate, steward, and respond to.
Lately, it seems there has been a barrage of circumstances in our lives. Infertility. Pandemics. Etcetera. It can be a lot to handle. With so much happening around us (that inevitably affects us), taking ownership of those three things we can control feels more and more like it is easy to say but hard to do.
Here are a couple options to help if you, like us, find yourself in a season of overwhelming circumstances.
One of the unforeseen advantages/opportunities of tragedy and prolonged hardship is that it invites us to reevaluate our perspective and our habits. Everyone has been quasi forced into this since March. And it is not all bad.
It is so easy to develop patterns in our behavior and in our ways of thinking. The cogs of those patterns turn and turn and turn. If they are broken or ineffective, they will one day give out completely. It is like how addicts often need to experience a “rock bottom” before they realize exactly how destructive and unsustainable their practices have become.
All of us need to reshuffle every now and then. We need to take a deep breath and consider what we are doing, thinking, and believing. And whether or not there might be a better way.
We often talk about how compartmentalizing is a negative thing. And it most often is. As people seeking to live transcendent lives, there is real danger in isolating aspects of who we are/what we are experiencing from other aspects of who we are.
So, what I am about to suggest should not be used liberally. Only with the utmost wisdom/discernment, community accountability, and a healthy perspective.
What I am suggesting is to itemize your circumstances and address them one at a time. Sometimes we are going bonkers over one piece of news or one circumstance we are facing. And it really isn’t about that. We are reacting to the cumulative effect of circumstances within each thing we face. Some circumstances you can leave behind. It is ok. The small encounter at the grocery store where a cashier was rude to you likely does not need to be carried around and rehashed over the entire weekend. I am not suggesting you ignore your emotions or the other effects of the circumstance. I am suggesting you deal with the small things efficiently and then move on.
For example, the infertility thing is a big deal for us. I want to focus on it for what it is worth. I don’t want to carry it into my encounters with supermarket employees in such a way that I am avoiding addressing the circumstances that matter most by projecting them onto little offenses I might accumulate.
Life is hard. And we can only do what we can do. Circumstances are happening every day, but they do not have the power to overwhelm or bury us. It may often feel they are leading in that direction, but the ultimate decision on how they affect us is an issue of perspective and choice.