Something very interesting happened to me a few years back. I realized one day that I am old enough to know stuff. Not just stuff I read somewhere or heard from someone else. I actually have enough life experience to back up what I know. I’m not sure when that happened, but I suppose it happens to everyone eventually.
When I was 21, I was almost killed by a drunk driver. I spent the following year in excruciating pain while I waited for my shattered leg to heal and relearned how to do almost everything without the use of my now-paralyzed right hand.
When I was 31, my husband and I lost almost everything we owned in a tornado. We picked up what we could save, discarded what we couldn’t, and went forward from there.
People still ask me how I dealt with those things. I learned to do three things. I find these three things can get me through pretty much everything from daily frustrations like heavy traffic to tragedies that you always hope you never have to face:
Take a deep breath. Then take another one. People have a tendency to hold their breath when something hurts (physically, emotionally, or in any other way). Physical therapy taught me that you have to breathe through pain. All holding your breath does is deprive you of air. Hold your breath too much and you eventually pass out.
Believe that it’s going to be OK. Believe in yourself and your strength. Believe that God will handle whatever you can’t.
Be calm. Be brave. Remember that ultimately nothing lasts forever. Be aware of the big picture, but just work on the next thing that needs you attention. Don’t try to take step number 327 when you’re still on step number 3.
And that’s it. That’s my big secret to surviving the things that I could have allowed to crush me. I don’t have any great, profound wisdom. All I have is just three simple, little steps.
How about you? What things get you through tough times and everyday struggles? I would love to hear your insights.