Monday, June 1, 2020
Home Authors Posts by Fran Thring

Fran Thring

Goodbye, worry

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“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

There is not a lot worse than worry. Worry eats away at your happiness. I think we can all identify with worry – when we have an exam the next day and we can’t think about anything else. When our child is at a party and we don’t know when they will be home. When you have bills to pay, or a work presentation, or relationship problems… worry grabs hold of your problems, tells you you can’t handle them, and spits them back at you bigger than before. Worry is nasty and to be avoided at all costs. But how?

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5: 6-7

Humble yourself

You can not handle everything in life alone. Nor were you meant to. If you feel like you are carrying more than you can handle, don’t! We are human and we can not do everything. The sooner we recognise our fragility, the better equipped we are to receive strength from outside of ourselves. God made us and he is able to help us. He can’t step into situations where you think you have it all covered, but he can step into situations where you call out for his help.

Hand it over

If you knew a friend who was very efficient, loved you to pieces, and was willing to help you out with something, wouldn’t you give the problem to them and let them deal with it? We hand over our cars to mechanics so we don’t have to worry about them. We pay an IT specialist to help with our computers. We go to a hair dresser to get our hair done instead of buying a box and messing it all up ourselves. Why not do the same with your anxiety and concerns? Hand them over and trust that the professional has it handled. God is better at dealing with all your issues than you ever will be. Give them to him, and don’t try take them back.

Use a symbol

It sounds easy to give your problems over to God but in practice the difficult part comes when you have to leave them there. Situations don’t change overnight and often we do not know what outcomes may look like. In this “in-between space” we often pick up the worry that we have put down. As things get more and more stressful this temptation becomes more difficult. The best way to stand strong and not take worry back, is to create some kind of visual symbol. Write down your problem and put the piece of paper in a notebook or log it on your phone. When you feel yourself grabbing for the worry again, go back to the cardboard and remind yourself of why you don’t want to go wasting time and energy worrying about this. Ask a friend to hold you accountable, put a Post-it on your computer or buy a pot plant and stick little notes in the soil. Whatever works for you.

Follow peace

Peace in your heart is critical for your spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. If you are someone who follows Christ, peace is part of the deal. There is nothing in the world that can replace a sense of peace in your heart. If you don’t have this peace I encourage you to look for it, no matter what it takes. Jesus tells us, “don’t worry about your life.” He says he created flowers, birds, and mountains –he can take care of you. Take some time, friend, to pinpoint the worry in your life and then give it to God. Then stand your ground and let him look after you.

I’m a Christian and a feminist. Yes, we exist.

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I’ve been a Christian for as long as I remember. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve probably always been a feminist too. From a young age, I’ve had a defined sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, and a desire to fight against injustice. I remember feeling frustrated when it was expected that my mom and my friend’s moms would do all the cooking and pick up kids. I remember watching moms run around a house while the dad watches TV and never bothered to offer assistance. Years later, I saw the impact of this lifestyle when I met men aged 24 who didn’t know how to turn on a washing machine because a female had always done it for them, or boys believing it was their ‘right’ to have sex with a girl or be served upon.

Some people think being a feminist means you believe girls are better than guys. This isn’t the true definition of feminism: at its core, this movement believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It means women can vote; women can get paid the same as men; women can apply for positions of leadership in business and politics. It means women no longer get treated as the ‘weaker’ or ‘less capable’ sex. Who wouldn’t be for that!

As I began to gain exposure to the world and develop my faith as a Christian I came to realise that equality between men and women, although a hot topic in pop culture, was not always a topic the church was comfortable with. I found if I mentioned preaching or leading a church, I would get sideways glances – as if people thought, “Ahhh, don’t bring your liberal ideas here and denounce the Bible”. I had no desire of denouncing the Bible; I simply couldn’t understand why the loving God I had experienced would want me to play small because of my sex.

I couldn’t understand why the church felt differently to the world outside of Christianity. I could see no logical reason why I couldn’t lead, or why I couldn’t talk on stage. When I voiced this concern, people brought up words like, “quiet”, “submissive”, “God’s will for women”, and “know your place”. None of this sat right with me. This wasn’t because I don’t think there is a place for being quiet at times but it seemed as if a subculture had been built on phrases which held women back. I don’t think Jesus would want anyone held back.

Four pro-feminist truths about the Bible back up this idea:

Jesus loves women

Jesus had a countercultural attitude toward women. Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), he defended a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), and he healed the woman whose illness caused her to bleed constantly, instead of shunning her (Mark 5:25-34) — which many would have done at that time. By doing this Jesus placed value on women at a time when women were uneducated, looked down on and viewed as property.

Submission

Luke 6:31 says “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” I believe that scripture teaches mutual submission in marriage — a marriage should be based on love, equality, and fairness. It should not be one sex misusing the Bible to be controlling or disrespectful. Submission is a mutual act between man and woman.

The Bible advocates freedom

When we put unfair expectations on either male or female gender we stop allowing a person to be an individual. If a girl doesn’t want to get married, that’s fine. If a guy prefers singing in the choir to playing rugby, he should be allowed this choice. Our narrow place allotments many people believe are God’s design are often a role created by church society without sufficient biblical evidence to back it up.

The Great Commission

Often Christians get themselves tangled on side issues like singing a type of song in church or who you vote for and miss the essence of the Gospel. The Gospel is and always will be about how much God loves us and we can see that through Jesus.  Christianity, at its core, is receiving that love and working to spread that love to the world, thus bringing God glory.

In my mind, Christians should be heading up the feminist movement instead of opposing it. We follow a God who loves justice and who advocates equality between all people, genders, races, and nationalities. I proudly announce I am a Christian and I am a feminist. Don’t let anything put you off track lovely ladies. God is your biggest advocate and he has a great plan for your life no matter what anyone says.

If this post has prompted questions about who God is or if you would like to know more about the love that Jesus came to show us, please click on the link. We would love to help you find out more.

#metoo and standing up

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Let me share three stories from my travels with you:

Israel

I was 19 and single when I decided to travel to Israel to work on a kibbutz. Why I had the courage, I don’t know. It was nearing the end of the trip. I was in the marketplace in Jerusalem bargaining my way to a new hoodie when the owner of the store asked me this, “do you have a boyfriend?”

“Yes,” I said. It wasn’t true, but I was not about to give him any reason to seize an opportunity. He had been enjoying our bartering more than I was comfortable with.

“Good,” he replied, “just make sure you let him do whatever he wants to you.”

Vietnam

I had just arrived in Vietnam, Hanoi City.  Tired and hungry, I was seated at a bar with a guy friend getting a beer before we went to our hostel. A young Vietnamese guy sidled in next to me and sat down.

“You foreign? I show you Hanoi city,” he offered.

“No, thanks. Not now, we’re tired.”

I remember noticing at the time that his nails were long and dirty. I wasn’t used to boys with long fingernails.

“Don’t be tired, it will be good time!”

Under the table the boy started to put his hand on my leg. I pushed it away and moved further down the bench. Three minutes later the hand was back. This time, he pushed his hand further along my leg and into my crotch.

I stood up.

“We need to leave.” 

“No, no don’t leave, I have a sister. Very pretty. You want to boom boom?”

Cape Town

I work in one of the so-called ‘up and coming’ areas of Cape Town. Our offices are around the corner from a Shebeen (this is what we call a small informal liquor seller). If I walk from my office to meet a friend at a cafe 200m down the road I pass by the Shebeen. Every time I have to pass that part of the road, I avert my gaze. I hold onto my bag and I walk really fast.

“Hey Sisi, where you going?” A drunk guy wonders into the road and starts to meander towards me. “Come here!”

I walk faster. I cross the road. I decide to take an Uber next time.

It frightens me that I live in a world where I can’t walk 100m down the road on my lunch break because I’m not safe. It’s a small example but it means that I don’t feel safe in my everyday world. 

If you haven’t seen #metoo scattered across the Facebook walls of the women in your world, I’m going to have to assume that you are one of the rare souls who aren’t on Facebook or ignores it because you have better things to do with your time (you do!). 

The #metoo movement began on social media in response to the countless allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Alyssa Milano who initiated the hashtag wrote, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

I find it hard to believe that any woman is exempt from the #metoo campaign. We have all been harassed in some way shape or form. Every woman in the world could put #metoo up as a Facebook status.

Unfortunately, a lack of respect is ingrained in our culture and we have let it prevail. We’ve said, “They are boys, that’s the way they are.” We’ve said, “She wore a short dress, she was looking for it.”

We’ve said, “She shouldn’t have been in his room,” or “She led him on,” or “Why are you overreacting, it’s just a comment.”

If you have been like I was, a victim of sexual assault in any way shape or form, even small, know this – nobody deserves this treatment.  

How we treat each other matters. How a man treats a woman and a woman treats a man matter. It’s time to stand up against sexual assault and to stand up against manipulation. As it states in the Bible, we are to love another as we love ourselves.  We were all created in the image of God and are precious because of it.   In a world where abuse like this is so widespread, it’s easy to see that our society is broken on some levels. We need to get back to the way God intended for us to treat each other.  Valuing each other and showing respect regardless of gender, race or age. It is only then that true healing can take place.  

The only way to really know God and experience life the way He intended for it to be is through a relationship with His Son, Jesus.  If you would like to know how you can connect with God or have questions about who Jesus is, please click on the link.  We would love to talk to you.

Are you scared of the important questions?

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I’m pretty open about my faith. People who know me know I’m a Christian. They know that I believe Jesus is real and He saves. They know I attend church (not that that makes you a Christian, but it’s often part of the package) and they probably know I read my Bible. Don’t worry, I won’t knock on your front door and say repent or you are going to hell. The Jesus I know didn’t do that to me – He found me in gentle ways and He offered love to me without an agenda.

What I like is when two people can talk about faith without attacking each other, from a place of “I want to understand why you believe what you do and why you live your life that way,” as opposed to another way. When you ask someone questions you show them you respect what they have to say and are interested in them. People who ask lots of questions are usually more open-minded and kinder and have a greater understanding of situations. I like to question people.

It’s important that we ask others questions and it’s important we ask ourselves questions about our faith. For some reason people are scared of faith; they are scared of offending someone and scared about talking about “deep things.” I’m not sure why – we are all humans trying to figure it out. I may get closer to my answer if I am able to hear yours. Can we talk to each other about this today? Just imagine I am a friend; we are seated at a little cafe with a plate of hot chips and tomato sauce between us. We talk and eat chips at the same time. We order milkshakes. We ask questions. I’ll start…

1. Do you believe in a greater being or something supernatural?

I’ve always believed in God. I feel like I know Him. He is there by my side when things go wrong and I can talk to Him. I can’t imagine a world where I didn’t feel like there was someone with a power greater than mine who was looking after me and cared deeply for me.

2. What gives your life purpose?

I used to want to have lots of friends and a wardrobe full of stylish clothes and some kind of mini ‘celebrity status’. Now, so much has changed. I’ve realised that life is not about things on this earth but about things after this life. Not that this life doesn’t have a purpose; it does. I think everything that we do here has eternal ramifications, which makes all the decisions we make important and significant.

3. Have you spoken with anyone of faith and heard their story or tried to read a holy book?

I love speaking to people about their faith. When I speak to people who share my faith, I’m encouraged by their stories of God’s goodness. When I speak to people of other faiths I’m able to have greater insight into their faiths. I read the Bible because it is a book with many layers that I believe God uses to talk to me. It helps me to base my decisions on something that will not change and it helps me to learn about God’s character.

4. What kind of person do you want to be? Who do you mirror your life on?

I want to be a kind person and a brave person. I admire people who give their lives in sacrifice for the lives of others. I like people who are full of joy, and quick to forgive. I base my life on the life of Jesus because His character was perfect and He teaches of things like peace, joy, and kindness.

5. What do you believe will happen to you when I die?

I believe that I am going to Heaven when I die. The Bible tells me that if I have a relationship with Jesus then part of the deal is eternity with Him and His Father in Heaven.  I don’t know who will go to Heaven and who won’t, I do know God and I know He makes good decisions so I leave that one up to him.

We don’t have to agree or come to a conclusion right now. But I would love to hear what you think. Or maybe someone else out there would. Have a conversation, order some chips; not everyone wants to beat down your door with a Bible – let’s just talk about faith! It’s kind of important.

If you would like to know how you can get answers to these questions or you have other questions about Jesus that we can help with, please click on the link. We would love to talk to you.

Are we too busy watching other people’s lives to live out our own?

Maybe it’s just me but when I sit down to do something I really want to do, like you know, build that dream writing career which is beckoning me from the rooftops, all of a sudden the LAST thing I feel like doing is writing. Moments earlier I was very awake. Seconds before I was talking with an animation and hand gestures to my house mate. Now, I’m not so sure. I stare into the mirror in my room. I pace around, pick up some forgotten clothes and make sure the papers are square on my desk.

Then I do what I KNOW I shouldn’t. I throw away the next 30 minutes I have, bam just like that. I pick up my phone. Why is it that every time I pick up my phone some numbing brain deadening potion is injected into my brain. I forget about my task for the night. I forget about the dreams, the hopes, the grit. All I can think about is ohhhhh, I wonder what this Instagram influencer is up to. I watch her story. Then, I watch her friend’s because she looks cute too.

Then it autoscrolls to the next story and I watch that too. Then I think OMG I need a top like hers, and I’m online shopping. There’s so much. The top needs shoes. The shoes need socks. My writing needs to start but that the last thing on my mind. A full shopping cart later, I pause. Oh, yes… what was I going to do? I check the time: WHAT?! An hour is gone. I put down my phone.

This happens all too often.

Are we too busy watching other people’s lives to live out our own?

There is nothing wrong with some healthy Insta stalking or Facebook for that matter, but don’t do it when you have set aside time to do something meaningful. Do it when you’re waiting for the train. Do it when 17 people are ahead of you at the grocery store. Don’t do it when you know you have something important to get done. We are throwing away our own lives because we are too busy and easily distracted by everyone else’s.

There isn’t enough time in the day.

Really?

We run around watching other people live their lives and our priorities get shoved into the back corner, behind the stove. They come out occasionally and then we dare to complain about things not moving forward.

Imagine, just imagine what you could get done if you focused on you. You and what you need to do. A while back there was a huge study which claimed that it takes 10 000 hours to make a master of a skill set. That’s a crazy amount of time, I mean really? Yes really, and I think the guy was onto something. But how? How? I kindly ask, can we fit in the large amount of time required to do our lives well if we are spending hours each day watch other people, clicking here, clicking, there, liking this post, opening our Facebook every time a red dot appears.

It’s time to make some decisions and get disciplined. You heard me, disciplined. Check your phone only at certain times. Make dedicated dream time times, and do something productive in them. DO IT.

Distraction is the biggest destiny dream stealer out at loose in our world today. There is everything to grab in a hand’s reach and not enough of us stop and ask what we are grabbing, if we really need it and why we grabbed it in the first place. Don’t let someone else grab your destiny. Don’t let lack of focus steal your story. Don’t you dare complain at the end of your life for the life you missed living- you’ve be warned. It’s YOUR story. YOUR responsibility and your destiny. Go live it. Go GRAB it. Hold on tightly until your knuckles and white and your nails tear. Look everyone in the face and refuse to let go.

Thoughts That Keep Me Up at 2 AM

What are you doing sending text messages at 2 am?” My friend texted me.

“My brain is running,” I said. “I keep on waking up at 2 am and then I can’t get back to sleep.”

Usually, when I’m awake-awake at 2 am I send messages. Why? Because a taunting voice in the back of my head says if you don’t do this now then you will forget and another week will go by without you fixing this situation.

This is one of the things that keep me up at 2 am.

Somehow, when the world is quiet, and all you have is you in your bed, questions have a way of jumping at you and things have a horrible way of seeming far bigger than they actually are. Are you plagued with thoughts when you lie in bed at night? Do you worry about things when you really should be sleeping?

I do.

Often our fears creep up on us in the vulnerable moments when we are supposed to be resting. They tease us with their size and taunt us with their realness. But they aren’t as powerful as they feel and it’s important to know that they are often irrational.

I’ll be alone forever

This is one of my biggest fears. I’m afraid I’ll be alone forever. Nobody will be there when I come home from a stressful day at work. Nobody will tell me it’s going to be okay. Nobody will have my back when things get difficult. I’ll die alone without anyone even noticing.

This fear is irrational. First of all I’m not alone at the moment, I have a lovely family, a great team of work colleagues, I attend a phenomenal church and I have more friends than I know what to do with. I’m not alone. Also, it is highly unlikely that this combination is all going to evaporate in the next 40 years. Even if you don’t have a significant other, then you will still have community and people around you who care about your well-being.

Did I send that email?

I sometimes struggle to leave work at work. Do you know what I mean? I feel like I’m always thinking, always planning and something is going to get lost between the cracks and I’ll end up fired. Sleeping on the streets because I have no money. Ashamed. Poverty stricken. Desperate for any job.

This fear is irrational. Firstly, worrying about whether you sent an email or not is counterproductive. There is nothing you can do about it, unless you open your laptop and check right then and there. This is not a good habit to get into. It breaks up your rest and will make you more stressed. If you have a good skill set and tried your best then there is nothing you can do to fix the situation. You are going to have to let it be and look at it again tomorrow.

What’s going to happen when I die?

We are all going to die and death is really scary. I often lie in bed and look out at the dark night sky twinkling with stars and imagine what eternity looks like. What and why are we here on this planet? What is the reason and will it make a difference if I died tomorrow?

Everyone feels anxious and afraid from time to time.  Worry, sadly is a part of life but when we carry these cares on our own they can weigh us down and drag us into a cycle of fear and despair, because we were never meant to face these things on our own.  The Bible tells that us that instead of worrying we should talk to God.  He wants to restore our peace of mind and help us navigate the challenges we face, because He loves us.  Regardless of whether you have faith in Him or not, try sharing your fears with God and invite Him to take His part in your worries.  His ability to help you is greater than your fear or doubt and it may well be the best decision you’ve ever made.

The friendship clean up

The people that you hang out with determine the amount of success you have in your life. Harsh. Hard. True. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when your friends are always pulling you down. It’s hard to feel motivated to be a better person when the people you spend all your time with are gossiping, drinking excessively or making up excuses.

It’s probably true to say that over the years you have developed a few friendships. Some of them are great, and some of them are not so great. Connection and good friendships are important to all people but bad friendships are draining and can have a very negative impact.

Sometimes in order for you to live your best life, you need to clean out your friendship closet. Yup, you have to actively choose to let go those relationships which are holding you back or taking up time and energy without reward.

Most of our friendships fall into three categories:

Bad Connections

These are the friends who drop you last minute. These are the friends who tell you all about themselves and never have time to listen to what is going on in your life. These are the friends who guilt trip you, who belittle or patronize you, or who don’t trust you. They probably spread your secrets and don’t respect your boundaries.

Pseudo-good Connections

These friendships are a little more tricky to decipher. Perhaps they are shallow. These people are around when you want to hang out and have a good time but they don’t know very much about you. They like you under certain circumstances but should things get difficult then they may not be around. They may be nice, but they are empty and based on things which don’t matter.

Real Connections

The real connections are the people who are genuine and supportive through everything in your life. They have a deep investment in each other’s feelings and they are not scared of honest conversations and saying the things that need to be said.

These are people who motivate you, support you and see the best in you. They will consciously and sub-consciously drive you towards what you want in life and you’ll ultimately achieve more.

Create a good friendship circle

Think carefully about the friendships in your life. Which of these pull you down? Which of these leave you feeling lonely or drained in the long run?

Try to distance yourself from these friendships and create space to let more supportive and genuine people into your life.

Intentionally grow your real relationships

Find people you can trust and who share your core values. Someone who has your best interests at heart and can tell you something honest if it means you’ll grow from it. Find people who you can be open, real and honest with. Find people who encourage you in an authentic and caring way.

Be vulnerable and open up

If you want real and open friendships then you are going to need to be open and vulnerable with other people. This means, not pretending that you have it all together. This means respecting people’s right to privacy. This means sharing your opinions in a kind way.

Put the effort into the right place

If someone moves or their life changes then you should still continue to put the effort into a relationship. Great people are always worth the time and care to make things work. Maintaining a friendship is important and you should exchange thoughts and conversations as often as you can.

Call this person, share images, ideas and plans and tell them about your day. This will help grow your friendship all the more.

When you get rid of negative relationships then you will start to see the changes in yourself. All of a sudden you will realise you have a lot more positive energy in your life.

If you are feeling alone, pray to God and ask him to send you the right friends and to help you with situations when you feel like you don’t have the strength to deal with them. 

A Colourful Life

Have you ever got into the shower only to find that the water is not hot enough? Have you been served a meal and found that it lacked flavour? Imagine going to the movies, buying popcorn, and finding out that they had run out of salt. Imagine if everyone in the world was the same colour? What if one day you went to the shops and all the clothes in the store were beige? I would hate that. Picture yourself eating porridge every day, for every meal, for as long as you were alive? This may sound like a dream, but take a minute to think about what life would be like if everyone agreed with everything you said- it would be boring!

Here’s what the Bible says about lukewarm: “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

Whoa! It sounds extreme, but here’s the thing: no one likes boring. No one likes bland. God doesn’t like it and, this is the good news, he didn’t make you boring or bland. Nor did he make you to live a copycat-grey-same as everyone else kind of life. He made you unique and he created you for a life of colour.

One of my favourite movies is the Wizard of Oz. In the story Dorothy, the main character, leaves her world of black and white and gets thrown into a crazy world of talking lions, witches and colour. Another favourite story is the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- in this story a small girl finds her way through a wardrobe into a magical world where she becomes part of an adventurous battle. If you’ve ever watched the Lord of the Rings, you will see a similar pattern. Frodo, a clumsy hobbit (very small dwarf-like creature) gets ripped out of his ordinary life and sent on a mission to save his people.

I love these stories because they remind me that life can be adventurous and colourful, we simply need to make the brave decision to embark on a journey which promises more.

So how do we get our everyday lives more colourful? And where is our big adventure, our Oz?

Matthew 5:13-16 The Message (MSG)
Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Jesus tell us how to life a colourful life. He says we need to follow him. When we choose to give our lives to Christ, his mission becomes our mission. We are taken from our ordinary every day, like Frodo, and we are given a purpose.

If you feel like your life has become dull and you are feeling drained, can I encourage you to come to your maker, the one who has a plan for your life? When we walk a life with Jesus, we get to know God and we realise he has made us special. Come to him and ask him to make your life colourful, tell him you are ready for the big adventure he has for you. Let him show you the colour in your own life and let him recreate the path for you so that you no longer wonder in fields of grey but dance and fight in mountains and valleys of colour.

I made that decision and I’m happy to say my life hasn’t been easy, but it’s been full of colour and vibrancy ever since.

It’s been a tough week

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On a scale of 1-10 my week has been horrible. It’s the first week back at work from my blissful 2 week holiday with my best friend in America. We went out, we created a set of in-house jokes that Hollywood comedy writers would be envious of and we shopped. It was heaven. It was perfect. I had so much fun I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Then I got back home. To reality, I guess. Responsibility, I suppose. My inbox flooded with emails. There were countless projects I needed to catch up on. Conversations I had missed out on. Jet lag which left me downing 3 coffees a morning in order to get out of bed.

It’s safe to say I was feeling a little sorry for myself.

Then I got food poisoning. Oh yes, the real deal hold the toilet bowl while your body makes sure everything that it has consumed in the last 24 hours leaves as quickly as possible. I thought I might die. I couldn’t stand up. My hands shook. I was the colour of an off onion. All I could do was sleep and stumble towards the bathroom.

It took me two days to recover. Once I was better and returned to work I ended up sitting in one of the worst discussions I have ever had. It was uncomfortable, personal and highly unpleasant. It made me cry for the remaining day of the week.

See, I told you – it was horrible. All of Saturday I couldn’t shake this feeling which was a mixture of hurt, raw emotions and irritation at life. I even went out with friends on Saturday night, but I didn’t feel quite myself.

On Sunday I resolved that I had to do something about this. I decided to do something different and shake myself off. I went to a yoga class and sweated a lot. Then I went for a run by the sea. Then I made myself lunch, showered, lay in the sun and went to church.

There is always something powerful about taking time out to do the things that help you to de-stress and make you come alive.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday monotony of life. It’s so easy to miss the beautiful moments because we are so consumed with the demands, deadline, bad weeks and tough conversations. Get to know yourself and make sure you know how to de-stress. It’s different for everyone.

There is something about church, positive people and a message of hope which will always put you back on a good road. We weren’t made to do life alone. We weren’t made to have no support and have tough weeks where nobody cares. We were made to lean on each other and encourage each other and pray for each other.

It’s always easy to forget God’s perspective when you get so caught up in your own little world and way of seeing things. It’s easy to forget that God is big and capable and your problems are just that, problems that within a week or two will go away. They are simply bumps to make the road more interesting. Nothing more. Nothing less.

It’s easy to get angry at God and ask Him why when things go wrong in your life. The thing is He never promised us 52 good weeks. And He never said it would all be easy. It’s not. But He does promise to be with us through the tough weeks and He does provide support and people for the days when you don’t feel your best. And He does send the Holy Spirit who comforts and guides you through it all.

If you’ve had a tough week try these two things: 1. Do something nice for yourself. 2. Ask God for help and hang out with some positive people.

How to cope with trauma and become stronger

I remember the first time in my life I experienced what I could really call trauma – I moved high schools. I went from this lovely private girl’s school to a big and rough government school. In that move, I lost all my friends. I lost everything that I was good at and had formed a part of my identity. I had never experienced anything like it and it left a scar. There was bullying. It wasn’t fun.

It was traumatic.

Trauma is a part of life. It will come regardless of how hard you run from it, how careful you are and how much you avoid things of pain. Maybe it’s a career change or it’s a divorce. Maybe it’s a break up or an illness of some kind.

If you are less resilient you are not weak.

We all deal with pain and trials differently. It may not affect your friend if she breaks up with her boyfriend but you may find it very difficult to get over this. She may be able to say, “oh that, we’re just friends now. I’ve moved on,” while it may take you 6 months to feel like you can get up and go again. We all have different levels of resilience and endurance in different places. Some of us get ill quickly. Some of us struggle with moods and anxiety. If it’s traumatic to you, it’s valid.

Know yourself

It isn’t a competition. Know what makes you feel better and stronger. What is it that drives you and get’s you back when you are tired and demotivated? Know your triggers and your downsides. If every time you spend time with a specific person it affects you negatively, then monitor this time.

Make sure that you are intentional about creating community for yourself.

Don’t overdramatize every event

It can be easy to become caught in the circle of drama, instead of recognising what is actually traumatic as opposed to what is just looking for attention. If you can say to yourself that you don’t often feel this way then I would say you are going through a rough patch and don’t need to worry about being a drama queen.

How to cope and become stronger

Be flexible

The sooner you realise that life won’t always go according to your plan the more resilient you will become.

Stress less

Figure out what works for you and what helps you to destress. If you are less stressed then you will deal with the traumas of life better.

Don’t deny help

When things go wrong it’s often easy to shut down and withdraw. This should never be the option you select. Always depend on people and let your close friends and family assist in carrying the burden.

Practice acceptance

It’s hard, but sometimes you have to force yourself to accept the situation. Even though it’s not fair and not what you would want. It’s the only way you are able to move through to the other side.

Be grateful

The best way to go through life, is to stay grateful. When we have a grateful heart we open ourselves up to the good in life in addition to all the pain and the difficulty. There is always something good, no matter the situation.

Remember this will all be a memory. No matter how much you hurt right now, it will get better.

You can always talk to God in your trauma and difficulties. Although He doesn’t always give you the answer you want, He does promise to be with us through tough times and give us a peace which passes our understanding.

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