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My husband, Tim, is preparing to guest speak this weekend. And we’ve had some great conversations on the topic he’s talking about. It’s a topic near and dear to both our hearts, because before we met, both he and I experienced significant trauma when our lives fell apart at the seams. Like many of you reading this, during those hard days we felt the extreme need to carefully navigate that season because choices made in crisis are crucial to healing afterward.
That’s the word that keeps coming to Tim’s mind. And now mine since we’ve been talking. Really, that word goes hand in hand with the truth that “you can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can choose your response.”
This concept is what brought me to start Choose Joy in the first place. And today, I’m honored to bring Tim’s perspective into play as I highlight the word he uses.
Typing this, it’s not lost on me the importance of mulling over the idea of pivoting. You see, today marks the anniversary of cancer waging its final war on my late husband. Luke moved from earth to heaven years ago, and life could never be the same.
Horrendous doesn’t even come close to describing that hurricane of sadness and grief. Loss of my spouse meant the loss of most my dreams. In many ways, I felt as if I had died as well.
I’ve observed that a scary thing happens when trauma strikes. We’re seduced and enticed away from our foundations by confusion and the desire to escape the pain. The trauma may be large or small; but regardless of its size, there’s always a season of disillusionment in its wake.
I often talk about choosing joy during times like this. But there’s another choice to make: to either plummet, or to pivot.
When everything crashes down around us, we can easily be swept away by emotions, fear, doubts, and the fight to “feel better.” And believe me; I wholeheartedly understand that all-encompassing, desperate ache to just have one moment that feels right.
During these days, we can unknowingly end up being pushed and swayed until we look around and realize that in our distress we have plummeted into dark depths. It’s shocking to see how extremely fast we can drift from our foundation and who we are in Christ.
The other option is to simply pivot instead.
Letting faith in God anchor us, we then make adjustments to allow for our new circumstances without drifting and getting lost at sea.
Pivoting happens when we realize our limited understanding of God’s workings in our life isn’t a terrible tragedy. It’s natural to question why God would allow heartache or struggles, and we think or say things like “I thought God was good!” or “If God loves me, why didn’t He stop this.”
Even though it’s counter-intuitive, when we come face to face with the reality that God completely baffles us, it’s a moment to sit back and take heart. And here’s why: if our small, finite and limited brains could completely wrap around God, then He wouldn’t be very impressive. And honestly, this type of god would not be worthy of worship in the least.
But our God is much grander than anything we can conceive! And regardless of what’s going on in life, we can rest assured that He is good, all the time. Jesus’ death on the cross speaks more eloquently about God’s extravagant love for us than any of our doubts ever could.
Plummet? Or pivot?
The choice is ours. Plummeting is passive; a sitting back and hoping for the best. Pivoting is an active choice; a determination to adjust and make alterations where necessary, all while choosing to remain confident in Christ.
Being ready to pivot includes these actions:
Making sure our anchor is cast and secured long before the storm hits, because storms happen without warning sometimes. In other words, a vibrant relationship with God will be the difference in whether we drift or stand strong.
Being quick to repent and course correct when needed. Crazy stuff happens in our minds and actions sometimes, I get it. There’s no need to beat ourselves up, or allow failure to hold us hostage in an unhealthy lifestyle. A simply apology, and an effort to change are all that’s needed.
Daring to dream beyond what we can see. When our dreams die and we’re forced to create a “new normal,” we can get overly focused on the destruction still in front of us. But when we listen intently for what God is speaking and where He’s whispering to go, we can dare to press on and venture into new horizons.
So I ask again, which one will you choose? Let’s pivot.