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You Have Permission to be in Process when Life is Hard

Listen to this as a podcast HERE.

Sometimes, I just want to step away from all the tips, tools, truths, and things that I love to share and give you real life. So, I feel like the only way that I can share real-life tips with you is by sharing my real life and telling you this is how I'm navigating it.

I find that 'this' works, and find that 'that' doesn't, especially because I look at my life through the lens of coaching, self-development, and personal growth. I don't want to stay in the same place, to cycle through things. I want to be healthy where I'm at, but I'm still just in the process.

And so there's a measure of giving myself the grace that I need so that I can move forward and survive. Survival happens for a while in certain seasons of our lives, and then we have to do the work to shift into thriving. We go through so many seasons and circumstances and events in our lives that are trying and hard and sometimes terrible.

And we just get through and survive. And some people stay in survivalhood, and some people leave survivalhood and move into victimhood. I've done it. I've been there. And sometimes people move into thriving. And here's what happens. When you move into thriving, you don't necessarily move out of the circumstance.

Thriving is more internal than it is external. Thriving is something that happens in your soul. Because people who look like they're thriving on the outside could be desperately dying on the inside. So we can't actually say that somebody's circumstances, the way they look on the outside to us, are perfect and that they should be thriving. 'They should just be grateful for what they have because in comparison to what we have, their life is perfect'. That doesn't work for anybody. It doesn't work when people do it to us. It doesn't work when we do it to other people. Thriving is on the inside. No matter what your external circumstances are, if you're thriving, it is deep.

And, you know I believe this: it's all starting in your paradigm. Your belief systems and your thought life are the root system to how you feel and what you do, and all of the fruit that you bear in your life. If you're thriving, it's starting with your mind. It's starting with a belief system that has some kind of root that creates your thoughts that say, "But God", or "There's hope," or "What if it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be?", or any kind of thought you might think that is new to the circumstance and brings hope. Because remember, hope is to the mind what blood is to the body. We've got to have it. And sometimes hope happens regardless of circumstances.

Somebody might offer us a new thought that brings hope. Or, we have a new thought for ourselves. But sometimes you hear somebody else say something, maybe you read a scripture, or maybe you interpret something differently than you interpreted it before, and you have a new vision.

Sometimes, it is just a new thought. "What if God will use this terrible circumstance and turn something into good out of it?" So, I want to give you permission to be in your process.

And I want to give you permission that is probably going to go against every personal development book:

But I just so believe in the grace and in the process. And I trust God with the end. So, I give you permission that if you need to spend some time in victimhood or survivalhood to ever get to thriving, it's gonna be okay. Let that be a new thought. Things are really hard. Life might just suck right now.

Or maybe it's just that life is so busy and so trying and so fatiguing. Maybe it's not terrible, but all the good things have worn you down. Well, just be there. Give yourself some grace and some self-compassion, and be there in it. I find that when I try to push myself through it faster than what my soul can really process, especially if I feel there's external pressure from other people, to move more quickly through my grief, my disappointment, my pain, my offense, and my hurt.

When I try to do that, I buffer and shove that under a rug. It comes out of the rug eventually, or I trip over it.

I'd rather stay in the process as long as I need to stay for it. And yet sometimes we need somebody to shake us out of it and say,

"Now you've just made a habit of this. You don't need to survive anymore. You're not a victim. It's time to move on."

And sometimes, we need help doing that. Sometimes, the process naturally moves into it, but I'm not going to ever be the person who tells you you need to get over it and move on quickly. Everybody has their own timing, and nobody can see, hear, know, or understand besides God what you're going through and how hard it is to get over it quickly, and the toll that it's taken on you- the depth of pain and suffering.

Even if you're putting on a good show on the outside so that you can survive, what if that's okay? I've heard people in the past say "At this or that church", or "At this or that job", "People are fake. You ask them how they're doing, they say fine, and you know it's not true."

Well, no, it's not true. Most of us aren't fine. But we're not just going to talk to anybody about it. Just because you asked me how I'm doing at church, you probably don't want my answer because I'm very honest. And I don't think you were asking me because you wanted an answer. I think you're being polite.

And that's okay. I'm going to be polite back and say, :Fine, thanks, how are you?" Because you're not my person. You're not my counselor, or my coach, or my husband, or my dream ally, or an investor in my life. You're just somebody who's politely asking me how I'm doing. And I think that we come across people in life who are being polite, it's okay to be polite back to them.

But there are some who aren't being polite when they say, "Tell me what's going on". They really want to know and they really want to be there for you. Those are the people you need to get honest with. You need to have a place to pour out and process, and sometimes we don't have those people and sometimes we have those people, but we don't believe we have those people.

If you don't feel like you have anybody who would listen to you, or don't feel like you have someone you can trust, and I would challenge you to question that belief and ask yourself, "Who could I see if they feel comfortable and safe to process with?" Just take a little something in your life and try practicing being vulnerable about it with someone you think might be able to trust.

And see what happens. If you've lived your life thinking, "I just don't have anybody," I want you to challenge that.

I want you to ask one seemingly safe person to hold space for you in one small area and learn to grow through it.

Back to the real-life heart of this episode: it's been a really hard past nine months for so many different reasons.

My husband and I both have parrots who are getting older and have a lot of people in our lives have been dealing with healthcare issues, struggles, challenges, and pain. And there's nothing we can do about it. We can do what we can to support them. But we don't live near them. And then they have spouses or caregivers that are compassion fatigued and decision fatigue and worn down. My husband and I, we have been running our disaster relief ministry and raised our children while traveling and moving, and now we live many states away from both of our families. So, it's painful and hard to not be able to care for our loved ones because we are not near them.

But we have an entire family of our ministry that we do care for in many ways. And while we run it, we travel, deploy, and take care of our staff. My husband does the majority of this now because I have started Sterling and Stone Mentorig and I have a greater role with the kids in the house, and I have stopped traveling and deploying as much.

But in the midst of all of that, we have health issues, and healthcare appointments for both of us. There are things that we're going through, based on everything that we've done in crisis response. There are health issues because my husband was at Ground Zero, and we both have measures of PTSD that we've had to deal with over the years, adrenal fatigue.

Plus we have teenagers, and our youngest about to start driving, and one that just graduated. One that moved into missions with YWAM and is traveling the world with them now. And a daughter and a son that are in their 20s, well I guess one is 30, and they don't live in the same state as us . And you know what? Having kids is a different version of hard when they're younger. You're chasing them, and you're cleaning them, and you're changing their clothes and diapers, and you're feeding them, and you're making all those decisions on your own.

And then they get older, and it's a different kind of tiring. It's less physical, and it's highly mental and emotional. And it can be really painful. And there's a lot of grief and a lot of loss. And I know a lot of you probably have graduates, that just have been in your home but move out and that brings a big change in both of your lives.

There's a readiness for it because the grace is gone. Even if the grace is gone for them to be adults in your home, it's also a loss of the children you reared and raised and loved so well, so hard, because they're moving on. You have to shift your life and continue to live, but you need to process and grieve the real loss.

In the middle of all of this, no matter what's going on in your family, your parents, you, all of the children that are in and out, it doesn't matter what the circumstances, you've got to hold onto the roots of what your beliefs are, and you have to be able to remind yourself and point out the truth in your thoughts.

And instead of operating from a place of perfectionism, from a place of pain, from a place of comparison and from a place of "But I should have this/be there/do that by now", I really encourage you to give yourself grace and let yourself be in the process.

Over the years, whether as a coach or not, the only thing that works in times of trial is grace. That's what I know. You've got to turn to the truth. You need to give yourself grace. You have to let yourself really be in the process that you alone need and you might not be able to define what that process is and you might not know how long it's going to take.

Don't focus on that. Focus on your healing. Focus on being in the word. Focus on taking yourself into the next piece of the journey. Just take the next step when you can. Everybody has their own healing process, so don't compare yours to anybody else's. Everybody has their own way of grieving.

Mine is stoic and sarcastic. yay.

As a youngest child, I'm very independent, basically raised myself in a lot of ways, and I have lived with a husband who for the past 22 years is not home all of the time. And in the midst of it, sometimes I'm with him, but there's always a crisis. And we've homeschooled and moved 19 times in 22 years.

It's what I do: I survive it. And I work against myself when I put a cap on it and say, "I can only survive it this far," or "I only have permission to survive this way". Now, don't get me wrong, there are healthy ways to survive, and there are unhealthy ways to survive. And so, that's when I'll refer you to thinking about how do you use external things or people to buffer so that you don't have to feel or think about or experience or stay in something that doesn't feel good.

Life is great and terrible and you're gonna have to accept both of them. We don't have a right to a life that's 100% great all of the time; there will be struggles and suffering. And the good news is Jesus is with us when we're in it because He didn't say we wouldn't have any. He said he'd be with us.

So yeah, this is literally a long version of me telling you to give yourself grace. Me telling you to survive but move into thriving the best way you know how. Get in the Word, read books, talk to God, ask others to be with you in it. Share your story. Sometimes the greatest healing comes from moving out and ministering to other people and their loss and getting out of your head and into somebody else's.

I've seen that time and again in our nonprofit work, where somebody who has lost everything goes out and becomes a responder to those who've just recently lost everything. So much healing occurs for them because they stepped out of their zone and into somebody else's. And now they see what a blessing it is to have the compassion and empathy that they can offer to someone else, that they can reach out a helping hand to somebody so they can share what somebody else did with them when they were in need or do for others what no one did for them.

It's so healing to get out of your own pit, climb the ladder, get out. And it doesn't matter how long it takes you to climb the ladder; meet people along the way. And pour into them right where you're at. It's one of the most healing things I know that you can do.

No matter where I'm at in my process, my coaching and my business are my ministry.

So I get to constantly pour into other people, regardless of where I'm at, what I feel, and how hard things are. I have a place I created as a container where I can pour out into other people's lives. There's the podcast, The Greenhouse Life Coach Training, the Called to Coach Course, our monthly calls, and 1:1 sessions with my clients. I have created containers and spaces and times so that I never lack for someone to pour into.

And it is one of the most healing things I've ever done in my life. To have a place where I know I can go give whether I'm being paid for it or not. It doesn't matter. I just need the people, I want to be able to sow into others. And it really gets me out of my own space. It pulls me; it gives me purpose and a reason to climb out of any pit I find myself in.

So again, I just want to encourage you: be in process. Don't try to rush it, don't sweep it under the rug. Allow yourself to experience the emotions that you're experiencing. Because they need permission to process through and out. Emotions are biochemical experiences in your body. Emotions are physical and they're happening because of things that you're thinking.

That means that if you define a situation as the worst day of your life, then you're going to have emotions associated with the worst day of your life. If you think about a situation and say, "This is bad, but I'm going to make it through," your emotions will follow suit. But you still have to give every emotion you have permission to be fully processed so that it can actually get out of your body.

Every emotion is actually a physical energy. Remember carbohydrates? That's how we measure energy in the food that we eat. And they go into our body, and they give us energy, or they take energy. So, energy is a real thing in your body. God created it.

Emotions are actually happening in energy. You need to allow them to process and feel them as long as you can. Go watch a sad movie if you need to cry but you're struggling to get tears out. Go be alone, put yourself in the car, scream in a parking lot inside your car, whatever you have to do to actually let that emotion process all the way through so that it can leave.

Otherwise, it gets stuck and it's just staying in your body because you swept it under the rug, you deny it, you ignore it, you avoid it. You buffer with other things. You eat more. You drink. You go shopping. You binge Netflix.

Whatever your thing is, as good as it is, maybe you work out for two hours a day, seven days a week. That's buffering. It's unnecessary. Go be healthy and work out. But if you're using it to avoid your emotions, that's buffering. And it's not good for you. So, allow yourself to process the emotions. Go serve other people in some capacity. Pour yourself out somewhere else and get out of your own pity party.

Leave the pit. Go see what somebody else is dealing with and just give yourself grace. It's not all black and white. There's a lot of gray in life and you don't need to do this perfectly. You just need to have space and time and you're going to come through this. Have hope. Jesus is an anchor of hope for your soul and I encourage you to turn to Him no matter what the season is.

Just like with raising kids, the days are long but the seasons are short. The days are long in hard times, but the seasons really are short. And you probably won't be able to see that until you have hindsight.

So bless you, friend. I'm praying for you that no matter what you're in the middle of right now, you find hope, restoration, truth, solace, someone who is a confidant, and overall that you're able to find the path into a thriving life.

Have a great day:)


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