Bad Circumstances Happen
Bad circumstances happen. Let me tell you a story.
A little over a year ago, I was at a trampoline place with friends. I started to do flips, front flips, anyway, and I was getting more and more daring. Then I decided to try a back flip. Because of that dumb decision, I caused myself to have a burst fracture in the L1 lumbar. In simpler terms, I broke my back.
The result was 5 days in the hospital, excruciating pain, and an average of 4 months of bedridden healing with a body brace. Needless to say, I was miserable.
I am fully healed now, with nary a pinch of pain. I am back to normal, and it is almost like the event never happened. But it is a pure, memorable experience that, as I look back on it, I can honestly say was a (bear with me) strange, unusual blessing in disguise.
I say that because it was one of the best teachers I’ve had. I became stronger in a lot of ways. I learned what to do in a situation that made life seem grim, hopeless, and narrow.
1. Do what you can
I couldn’t stand up or walk around or doing any physical activity while I was healing, so I used what I could: my arms, my hands, my eyes, my mind. During those months I did a ton of reading, writing, and crafting. It was during that time that I started my blog Merely Inspired because, well, I had nothing else to do. I had to quit my job and I couldn’t go outside the house and see people. So, while I couldn’t do one thing, I did another. And the best thing it did for me: it kept me busy. When I was working on a novel or reading a book or making a craft, I wasn’t thinking about what I couldn’t do and what I was missing.
2. Distract yourself
This goes along with doing what you can. Do something stimulating to keep your mind off the circumstance. The cool thing is, you’re productive and get stuff done when you otherwise might not.
3. Allow yourself to mourn
There were several occurrences when I wept over my circumstance, got angry and frustrated that I couldn’t get out of bed, worried over my future, etc. Once my mom found me on the bathroom floor crying because I was afraid I would never be able to run or dance or climb ever again. This does not mean I was weak or I was giving up on life. I was simply mournful for the loss I was experiencing. Sometimes tears are very healing; they may be just what you need at a particular time. The important thing is you give yourself the freedom to feel sorrow and then you pick yourself up and move on.
4. Take it one day at a time
It’s natural that you’ll think and worry about the future now that this circumstance has happened, and that’s okay. But don’t let that consume you. Focus on the present and today. What do you need to do today? Conquer each day as it comes. Take it slow and steady. Don’t rush anything.
5. Set your mind
Make a foundational choice. I had to make up my mind to not let my circumstance break me or stop me, even when I felt that way and even when it really looked that way. Wherever you are at in a situation, make some solid choices about yourself and choose to believe them. When you make the decision to believe something, eventually your mind will follow along. Be stubborn about it. And if you waver and fall short, just begin again.
6. Keep in touch
Being surrounded by people you love makes it difficult to dwell on your circumstance. I was bedridden and so I couldn’t leave the house, but I communicated through Facebook and phone and had people come to me to visit. I even hosted a Christmas party with my friends, and we played board games and watched movies. The important thing is to keep your relationships. Don’t make yourself a hermit because you’re in a difficult time. Friends always make it easier.
7. Gather encouragement
My mom gave me a book of scriptures and devotionals specifically for healing while I was going through those months. I read a page every morning. It was a healthy reminder of the truth I knew, that I was healed because Jesus died on the cross for my healing. It renewed my confidence and hope. Whatever you’re experiencing, find something that will remind you of the hope you have. Take it like medicine.
8. Remember life
Remember, “While I breathe, I hope.” You’re alive, and that’s enough to be hopeful for. Discover things about yourself and create purpose.
9. It will pass
No matter what it is, it will pass. Even something that may be permanent, the hardship will pass. Circumstances give life substance. Battles make us stronger. Embrace them, and see what sort of things you can learn from them.