In three…two…one. And then the bottom dropped out. With little warning, there was nothing but air and swirling pressurized water under my feet. I swooshed into an enclosed vacuum, sucked to the depths below. There was no way out, no going back, the only way up was to first go down.
I sputtered, tried to time my breaths when the water subsided a bit, and held it the rest of the way. My heart pounded, and chlorine threatened to burn the hairs in my nose. I hoped the ride would end soon.
But at least I’d chosen to take Six Flags Kamakaze water ride at Hurricane Harbor. Life has thrown me into plenty of rides I didn’t choose. Rides I wanted off of, and hoped would end before I drowned. Rides that ended differently, without my cackling laughter as I launched myself back to my feet at the bottom of the steep tube that had just spewed me into daylight.
When blindsided with news you wish you hadn’t heard, life changes in an instant. No matter how you thought you’d react five minutes before, reality may force you in a different direction. You struggle to survive in a vacuum of shock, confusion, anger, sadness, and the other stages of grief, hoping they don’t smother you. Death of anything propels us to a lonely place.
Life’s end comes in many forms.
- People die
- Marriages die
- Friendships die
- Jobs die
- Business relationships die
- Church families die
- Family structures die
- Innocence dies
- Security dies
So how do you get through things you’ll never get over? I’m actually writing a book on this subject at the time I’m creating this blog post. Sadly, and happily, I have much experience and many stories to draw on. Until the book is ready for release, here’s a short list of survival tips I’ve discovered after life sucked me into a black hole I didn’t choose.
- Face the pain. Our instincts tell us to run as fast and far as we can from things that hurt. But I’ve found the sooner I resolve to stop, turn around, and deal with the situation head-on, the sooner I heal.
- Talk to someone whose been through hard times. No two people will experience exactly the same thing, but there’s a comfort in seeing and conversing with someone you know has survived a tough situation. It gives us hope that we too can make it through.
- Read the Bible. Look I’m not preaching at you. I’ve been preached at from a hurting place, and don’t ever want to do that to someone else. But I promise, it’s the strangest thing that when you’re feeling all alone in a big ugly problem, God’s Word really does offer hope, encouragement, strength, and healing. I can’t tell you exactly how it works, but it does. Simply tell God you need something specific to your circumstances, and a special way to know He hears you and cares. Then get ready. Cause He’s going to knock your socks off. Then you’ll know that you know you are not alone.
- Start a gratitude journal. It probably seems strange for me to suggest this during what is probably one of the lowest times in your life, but it’s a powerful remedy to what pains you. Everyday, resolve to write down, (and it’s important to write them and not simply think them), at least three things you are grateful for. I’ve had to fight to come up with things, reduced to silly offerings such as ice cream, or fingernails, but whatever you can conjure up a pin prick of thanksgiving for, put it on paper.
- Post inspirational messages on your bathroom mirror. I mix it up between scriptures with special meaning, positive quotes, and action items I can take from a place of courage, even though I’m probably scared to try. (Like facing my fear and plunging down a water tube at fifty plus miles per hour.)
There are other helpful things I’ve discovered on my own ride through places of great adversity. I’ll share them in my book, and through other blog posts. But in the meantime, start with this short list. When life hands us problems we didn’t ask for, and often didn’t cause, sometimes the most challenging and powerful thing we can do, is take a first step. Otherwise, we can’t make it through the tunnel, until we are finally released into some light. That’s how I learned it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith!
Anita Fresh Faith
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, national speaker. She’s the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and Christianbook.com.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, a client of WordServe Literary Group, and the Simply Sue Speaks booking agency. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Anita likes to lounge by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.