5 Things to Remember When the Going Gets Tough

March 25, 2015

Uff da. I awoke this morning with a scratchy throat – the third and final physical sign that my body, that amazing creation that made no complaints as it dug deep and pushed me through a really tough month -- has decided it is finally safe to fall apart.  My body and I have done life together for so long that I’ve come to know its idiosyncrasies, including how it handles stress. 

Image by Stefano Corso via Flickr
I knew I was going to be okay when a cold sore showed up a week and a half ago.  I always awake to that first tiny tingling sensation on my lip just as the stress ebbs, and it is always the first physical sign that I’ve pushed through something hard.  The next to arrive was a back that seized and creaked and ached.  And just as I’ve dealt with those two first companions, my scratchy throat early this morning signals that a cold has settled in as the final act.

Strange as it sounds, it’s a relief, really.  I’ve come to recognize and accept these physical manifestations as verification that a significant storm has passed and that there is smoother sailing just ahead.

And that’s just the thing – storms happen. Just as we watch on grainy, wobbling video as tornadoes and hurricanes whip through the land, uprooting trees, overturning cars and smashing homes into smithereens, they happen in our lives with the same varying levels of intensity and destruction. Some storms are creatures of our own making – a colliding of choices and words and actions, but many storms are random, unpredictable and suddenly hit us between the eyes with no words, no actions, no nothing that we can or could or should have done to stop it, avoid it, or make it go away.

The details of my particular storm are unimportant.  What matters is how I navigated the storm.  And, being freshly on the other side, I’ve given some serious thought to what helped in the midst of figuratively whipping winds and crashing waves.

1.      Pray.  I prayed for my family, for myself but, more importantly, I prayed for others.  My storm was a strong breeze compared to what some are currently walking through, and I found myself standing in my shower most morning as tears and petitions spilled for others. Praying for others helped keep my perspective focused outward and on the bigger picture.  
2.      Friends. Let your friends know what is going on. I have a tendency to pull away when I'm in crisis. Don't. You need prayer and support, and who better to do that than your friends? 

3.      Cry. As I called a woman to let her know that I couldn't possibly make it to her meeting, her kind words, her perceptive heart had me bawling like a baby in about 20 seconds.  It is okay to cry. It is okay to put down the mantle of "I've got this, I'm fine." for a few minutes and just let the tears fly.  Just don't stay there.  Have a good cry and then pick yourself up, dust off and keep moving forward.

4.     Count blessings. I searched for the good in each day and made it a priority to thank the Lord for those good things. Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare is a wonderful way to keep your perspective balanced and your focus postive. 

5.  Scripture. Read the promises of God and tuck them into your heart. Tape scripture to your mirror, slip into into your purse, put it on the fridge - wherever it is that you will trip across it as you go about your daily activities.

Other suggestions for navigating storms?  Leave them in the comments!

We are once again linking up with the lovely Holley Gerth today.


  1. Hi Julie, sometimes take a walk and just Breathe. You can't handle the storm but God can.
    Thanks for sharing visiting from the linkup.
    God bless

    1. Ifeoma, thanks for visiting! I love your suggestion.

  2. Great list! With prayer comes trust that God has this thing you're facing. Whatever storm we're walking through, we can trust that God is walking through it with us and He has it and us in His hands.

    1. Kathryn, you are absolutely right! Thanks for commenting!

  3. I love the list! I agree that praying for others truly takes the focus off of us and makes the storm more bearable. Job was healed, after all, when he prayed for his friends.

    1. Stephanie, I couldn't agree more! Thanks for commenting!

  4. This is perfect! And I'm thrilled to be the recipient of some of your prayers. Thank you! I love you, friend. Glad the storm is calming down a bit.