2021 Picking up the Pieces: What to do When you Hit Bumpy Times
Hey TTSP tribe,
Happy February 1. I felt this week that I should get on and share with you in real time, some things I'm learning in my life as I'm in the process of "Picking up the Pieces" after a very difficult 2020. If I'm being open, which I try to be on this platform, 2020 was a year of loss. I lost a dear family member, I lost my job, I lost an opportunity to travel to Uganda, I lost a relationship, and I truly lost life as I had known it.
This isn't a pitty party, in fact, looking back I can see a lot of silver linings in a very dark season, and I will be the first to confirm that God is faithful. But that doesn't mean I don't feel all the feelings, and even in 2021 I'm still feeling all the feelings. I have good days, and I have bad.
Some days I want to crawl into a hole and never come out, can anyone relate?
But here's the deal. It is human to feel the feelings: hopelessness, sadness, pain, anger, depression, hurt, betrayal. So yes, I give you permission to feel. We must, we have to.
However, we can't stay there.
Once we start to feel these feelings, we are at such a vulnerable state to allow fear and doubt to creep in. And when that happens, and isn't dealt with, our lives look pretty grim.
Let's take a look at Joseph in the Bible. Put yourself in his shoes (that's empathy by the way, a gift/tool essential to have in this life). Yes, he was a bit cawky. And yes it was probably his arrogance and pride that started off the chain of events: oh you know being sold into slavery to a foreign country, being accused of rape when you actually ran away, being thrown in prison for the rape that you didn't do, and then forgotten by the guy who promised to help get you out.
Yea, I could imagine that Joseph felt all the feelings.
I could imagine Joseph's struggle. I could imagine the hopelessness Joseph must have felt.
But what I love about this story, is we know that God used EVERY season of Joseph's life to help cultivate him into the man God had intended him to be. God doesn't waste a season. God doesn't waste pain.
How do I know this?
Well Joseph's story starts off at "Look at me brothers" as he showed off his beautiful coat to a jealous group of brothers, who yes, then took their jealousy to the extreme. Pretending your brother was murdered by a wild animal when you actually sold him instead is never a good idea.
But when Joseph, after years in prison falsely accused (remember?), was called into Pharaoh's court to interpret Pharaoh's dream, Joseph had grown, he matured. Old Joseph would have responded..."Pharaoh, my man, it is I, Joseph son of Jacob, that interprets dreams and they come to pass, pretty cool right?". Or he could have been bitter Joseph, "Pharaoh, it's about time. Before we get to your dream, let's talk about all the ways I've been wronged..."
But instead we see the "new" Joseph. "Pharaoh, it is not I that interprets dreams but God".
Wow! Something took place in all the season, in all the feelings. Joseph had changed.
Joseph's transformation and relationship with God is what caught Pharaoh's attention. This man was different. And so different, God wanted to entrust all of Egypt to Joseph.
Guaranteed Joseph pressed into God, saw the error of his ways, and kept his mind clear despite his circumstances. So I'm going to take the liberty and fill in the blanks of Joseph's story...
The mind is huge when overcoming obstacles. We have to keep the mind in control, feelings can't always take the reigns...that is where we can get into trouble
I could imagine that Joseph decided to choose forgiveness. We see that Joseph chose to take opportunities and work hard. We know he chose self-control and respect for others vs. the temptation of Potiphor's wife. Joseph had a vision for himself, and he wasn't going to let distractions get in the way and ruin that. And if a distraction came, he literally ran, he chose his mental environmnent even when his external environment was beyond his control.
Joseph committed to God's plan. He knew he was created for something special. God confirmed that once again in dreams early on. He may have taken things into his own hands, and that's when his life became a bit messy. But he trusted that God still had incredible things for him. He didn't let fear and doubt get in the way. And I can only imagine that every failure became an educational opportunity.
Joseph understood the path is never straight. I can imagine he owned his mistakes and he forgave those who made mistakes that affected him. Joseph took the steps that were in front of him, not knowing what exactly the end goal was. So many of us won't even take those baby steps, fearing that we may miss God's plan.
But isn't God big enough to redirect our effort, our failures? Doesn't he just want us to try
Guys, I'm on this journey with you. I have made my fair share of mistakes. I have had quite tremendous pain, but I know 100% that if we allow God into our lives, He will help us through the Bumpy Times, and the other side will be more beautiful than we could have imagined in this life and in the next.
Love you all,
See you Next Monday!