When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise [...]
This truth rang out in my interview w/ Sue Klebold on the Live Inspired Podcast, too. Listen here: tinyurl.com/ya7uhfyj
#listen #parenting #tipsforparenting #onlylovetoday #handsfree #liveinspiredOUR ROLE IN OUR LOVED ONE’S STRUGGLE
The times my child cried as a baby all blur together in my mind. But the times she cries now—those stand out—as I stand by witnessing her pain, desperately wanting to spare her from it.
But I can’t.
And I shouldn’t.
That is not my role.
As my daughter sat silently in the backseat after a painful experience recently, I grappled with what to say. This is what came out:
“Although this really hurts, you are gaining a valuable experience that will help you get through the next challenge you face. When something feels familiar, even something painful or disappointing, it helps you overcome the next obstacle.”
I gave her a few examples that personified uncomfortable feelings and how past experience helps us deal with them. It sounded like this:
“Hey disappointment, I know you. And I know you eventually pass.”
“Hey frustration, I’ve dealt with you before. You didn’t stop me then, and you won’t stop me now.”
“Hey obstacle, you tried to stop me, but I made it to the other side. That’s what I am going to do today.”
I told my daughter that pain and disappointment can be like walking into a familiar place. They don’t feel quite as scary if you’ve been there before.
A few days later I noticed the sadness in her eyes had been replaced with a fiery spark. I recognized determination, courage, and strength. She had a plan she said. She wasn’t going to let this setback keep her down she said. As I watched her walk into the building where her heart had been shattered a few days prior, I realized:
On the other side of disappointment is desire—desire to create a different outcome next time.
On the other side of letdown is belief—belief that your story is far from over.
On the other side of pain is strength—strength you didn’t know you had until you had to dig deep to find it.
On the other side of hurt is gratitude—gratitude for those who love you and stand by you in your pain.
On the other side of despair is connection—connection that comes from recognizing a familiar look of pain in someone else’s eyes and reaching out your hand.
Shielding my child from struggle, challenge, pain, and disappointment is tempting. But the characteristics I most want her to develop are often born from a place of adversity. So that one day, when she come face to face with sadness, trauma, loss, or hopelessness, she will not be paralyzed with fear or give up because it’s too hard. Instead she will say, “I know you. I’ve seen you before. You cannot take me down. In fact, I’ll face you and come out stronger than I was before.”
“We are only as blind as we want to be.” - Maya Angelou
There are more than 500,000 homeless individuals in the United States.
Everyday 16,000,000 children go to bed hungry.
And, shockingly, there are more than 40,000,000 individuals enslaved worldwide.
Sure, we’re familiar with these types of statistics. We’re aware of the figures.
It is very easy to ignore numbers when they are nameless, or faceless, or aren’t directly connected to us.
Either overwhelmed by the enormity of it all or unconvinced we have an opportunity to make a difference, we shrug, refocus on what’s in front of us, and go about our days. After all, what can we really do for them? How can we help those people? We live here and they are over there.
But what happens when you actually meet them? How do you respond when you find yourself speaking directly with those people? What happens when over there is directly in front of you, right here?
A recent speaking event put me face-to-face with this reality. Let me explain.
After speaking to several hundred employees from a local business in St. Louis, I asked the president if I could tour their facility. She agreed and asked one of her senior leaders to be my guide. The gentleman approached, shook my hand firmly with both of his, and introduced himself as Jean.
As we toured, I was impressed by the facility, but more so by my guide. Jean had a gentile spirit, an ever-present smile, and a beautiful accent.
As we continued our tour, I asked Jean where he was from originally. He shared that he was from a small town in Sudan. He then looked at me, exuding joy, and added that it was quite a journey to get here.
After some prodding he shared his story.
At age nine while walking to school, he was offered a ride by a passing vehicle. He hopped in, grateful to escape the heat, save the energy, and get to school early.
Instead of taking him to school, though, Jean was forced into labor, abused by his captors, and assured that if he attempted to flee, his family would be killed.
Jean was moved several times around Sudan, then into a neighboring country, and eventually sent on a long journey by boat, after which he found himself enslaved in the shadows here in the United States.
Far from some enormous, impersonal, distant statistic, I now saw before me a man who had spent six years of his childhood enduring the unimaginable.
I was face-to-face with a man who was liberated at age 15, along with almost a dozen other boys, only after one brave person stepped forward and tipped off the authorities.
I saw before me a man who was taken into the home of loving foster parents, was educated and taught English, and who found himself almost 20 years later walking me around his office, talking about how good his life now is, and bragging about how beautiful his kids are.
Still stunned, realizing that slavery (the most barbaric manner of treating another human) remains alive anywhere in the world, not to mention in my own backyard, I asked how rare his story is. Certainly, there aren’t many others that this still happens to, right?
Jean responded, “John, my friend, it’s everywhere. Everywhere. But you must open your eyes to see it. And then we must have the courage to stop it.”
(After hearing this brave man’s story, I wanted to invite someone onto our Live Inspired podcast who modeled the courage to make a difference with this massive, but seldom discussed, problem. Christine Caine is an activist and advocate against human trafficking worldwide. She’s also the recipient of the 2017 Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice. Not only does she personally have a remarkable story of rising above her circumstances, she now helps individuals around the world escape from their circumstances and reclaim freedom within their lives. Listen to this remarkable woman share her incredible story by clicking the link below.)
My friends, what do we do with the terrifying numbers we see around us in our community? How should we respond to statistics around homelessness, murder rates, human trafficking, and more? What do we do with figures around the epidemic of loneliness, gender inequalities or racial discrimination?
Realizing that we are only as blind as we want to be, let’s open wide our hearts and eyes.
Let’s put a face, a name, a life to the statistics.
Let’s have the courage to own one small area we feel called to make a difference and then take action.
No, you may not be able to change the entire world. But you most certainly have the ability to change the world one person at a time.
Christine Caine's hurdles may seem insurmountable: She is a survivor of both sexual abuse and cancer. At 32, she found out she was adopted. Yet, she is living a profoundly inspired life. Christine leads a global anti human-trafficking movement and received the 2017 Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice. Have you ever felt like your story was derailed by unexpected or unwanted news? Christine will show you how to "let go of your history so you can step into your destiny." Listen to Live Inspired Podcast Ep. 82 --> bit.ly/2rOaXcC