This month I got my mammogram. I regret to say that I have not been making these screenings a priority for the past 4 years (since routine screenings should start at 40 years of age) but all that has changed since June of this year. As I have been taking major action to improve my overall health and well-being (which includes prioritizing my annual check-ups etc), I keep thinking about a very close friend of mine who just told me she has breast cancer.
I can only imagine how much this diagnosis has impacted her world. And although my friend is full of faith, fire and fight–it doesn’t change the fact that she is experiencing a major life-quake.
As I have been thinking about the faith-filled, resilient spirit of my long-time sister-friend, I undoubtedly know it is BECAUSE of her faith in God that she is at peace because she has placed her life in the hands of the one and only PRINCE OF PEACE. JESUS. And it is HE and only He that has given her this peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace is her blessed assurance. It is what guards her heart and mind. And it’s because of this supernatural peace that she presses on with faith and fight–confident that her faith in God will make her well (Mark 5:34).
As I reflect on how my friend has been coping with this plot twist in her life, it reminds of how Jesus told us we would have trouble (life quakes, trials, and disruptors) in this world but we are encouraged to take heart because He has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).
Life is in the transitions
In my personal reflection time, my mind was taken back to some of the many life disruptors listed in a book I’m currently reading called “Life is in the Transitions”
by Bruce Feiler. Bruce defines LIFE DISRUPTORS as the events an experiences that interrupt the everyday flow of our life.
He chose the word “disruptor’ “as opposed to stressors, crises, problems or any other kind of label because the term is more value-neutral.”
Bruce goes on to say that life disruptors such as adopting a child or starting a new job are not traditionally defined as being negative but they are still disruptive because they interrupt the flow of your life.
Feiler devised a list (or as he calls it a deck) of life disruptors that include 5 major life areas: Love, Identity, Beliefs, Work and Body. For example, disruptors in the love arena of our lives include death or a spouse, divorce of parents, infertility, getting married, divorce, etc. Disruptors in the work arena include changing jobs, losing/quitting a job, retirement, or public recognition (TED talk, Award).
I truly believe that life disruptors can make us better. Or they can make us bitter. According to Bruce, our resilience depends on our ability to “reimagine, rethink, reconstruct and rewrite our personal stories as things change, disrupt or go ‘wrong’ in our lives.”
Resilence and Faith
But I would add our resilience depends on the level of our faith. The level of our God-confidence. In other words, the confident expectation that God will cause ALL things to work together for the good of those who love Him. Even when we don’t understand. Even when we are in pain and full of fear and anxiety. Even when things seem hopeless. And even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
One powerful question Felier poses in his book is “What happens when our fairy tales go awry? What happens when there is a plot twist in our lives? Do we stay stuck in anger asking God why? Why me God? Why now? Or do we ask God “What now? How do you want me to respond to this life disruptor? Do we ask ourselves “Will I allow this disruptor to define me and doom me? Or will I allow it to refocus me and reconstruct me? Will I allow it to grow my faith? My God-confidence? My perspective and my God-dependence?”
Life will not always ascend
So. What about you? What plot twist or life-quake are you experiencing right now? What life disruptors are you navigating? Maybe you’re dealing with the loss of a spouse, friend, or loved one. Or maybe you’re dealing with the loss of a job or business. Maybe its the illness of your child or having a prodigal child. Maybe it’s a recent health diagnosis or recent decline in your physical mobility/ability? Maybe it’s the death of a child or the inability to conceive a child. Maybe it’s a marital separation or a maybe it’s a geographic relocation.
The reality is that life will NOT always ascend. Life is FULL of plot twists and turns. Peaks and valleys. It’s full of successes and setbacks. It’s full of good surprises and stressors. It’s full of triumphs and failures, joy and sorrow, pain, and pleasure. Life Disruptors can disorient us or destabilize us. But only IF we give them the power to do so.
I believe one of the keys to being resilient and bouncing back from life’s disruptors stronger, wiser, and hopefully more God-confident– is choosing to “accept those life disruptors, name them, mark them, share them and eventually convert them into a new and vital fuel for remaking our life stories” (Bruce Feilder). It’s also choosing to place them at the feet of Jesus (Radhika Cruz).
Life is the Story you Tell Yourself
I’d like to add that our resilience MUST be rooted in the belief that God is still good even when bad things happen in our lives. It’s choosing to believe nothing can separate us from the love of God and nothing happens to us in life without His permission. It’s choosing to believe God’s ways are higher than our ways. It’s choosing to accept the fact that we may never know why something bad has happened in our lives. It’s choosing to rest in THESE promises because no matter what we face, God is with us and for us. And He will give us the strength to face whatever life disruptors come our way. Our resilience must be rooted in our ability to rest in the truth that our lives, our health, our hearts, and our future are ultimately in His hands. And there are no better hands to be in my friend.
Bruce says in his book “Life is the story you tell yourself. But how you tell that story, are you a hero, victim, lover, warrior, caretaker, believer, matters a great deal. How you adapt that story, how you revise, rethink and rewrite your personal narrative as things change, lurch or go wrong in your life–matters even more.” I could not agree more.
What story are you telling yourself?
So. Back to you. What story are you telling yourself? Because if the story you’ve been telling yourself contradicts God’s promises and ability to use your life disruptors for your good–you’re in the wrong story. No matter the disruptive event or experience you’re facing in your life, you have a choice. You can perceive your disruptive event as an opportunity to grow your faith and for God to show himself strong in your life. OR, you can perceive it as an event or experience you’ll never heal from or overcome.
The good news is YOU have the ability to change your perspective and get a ‘God-perspective’. My prayer is that you will gain God’s perspective on whatever it is you’re facing. I pray you will choose to cultivate unshakable God-confidence and God-dependence. And it’s my prayer that with every disruptor you face in this life–you’d be able able to say ‘it is well with my soul’ because you know that your light and momentary troubles are achieving for you an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor. 4:17).
Here’s to trusting the Author and the Finisher of our Faith wholeheartedly. Love you xoxo