Years ago when I was driving to work, I passed a church where the sign had been hit by a car and was badly mangled. Months later the church had a beautiful, brick, modern sign in it’s place.
I can imagine that the church was content with the old sign before the accident, but now after the accident the church was able to rebuild and have a much nicer sign.
This is a good example of how a crisis or accident can happen in our lives and at first we may feel devastated and broken by it. But when we really step back and look at the situation, we see the crisis as an opportunity to rebuild with hope that we can create something more beautiful than before. Jennifer Rothschild says, “In the adversity we dread, we find the life of which we’ve only dreamed.”
Whether your marriage has been destroyed by infidelity, you’ve walked through a divorce, lost a loved one, or had a severe illness- you may be able to relate.
Here are 3 ways to rebuild with hope after walking through a difficult time:
Reflect on how you’ve grown
What did you learn from this time? How did you grow? Oftentimes we will focus so much on the pain of the experience that we forget that it was also a growth opportunity. If you get buried in the pain of a struggle, you will miss this. Doing this doesn’t mean you are ‘grateful’ for the pain, but you are acknowledging that the struggle can offer you an opportunity to learn something you never would have been able to if it wasn’t for this pain. I truly believe that God doesn’t want us to waste our suffering. He uses it to refine us and draw us closer to Him. My hardest times in life have been my biggest emotional growth spurts.
After walking through a hard time, there is usually someone to forgive. A person who hurt you, wronged you, and sometimes it’s even having to forgive yourself. Forgiving doesn’t mean you are ‘okay’ with what the person did or with what happened. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself from the bitterness, shame and resentment you carry because of the pain. Being stuck in unforgiveness, keeps you from moving out of the pain. It is like quicksand. Letting go of the pain is a big step towards rebuilding with hope. For more on forgiveness, here’s an article on my resource page.
Take a next step
Sometimes the next step isn’t always clear, I know. But what I mean is that you have to take ‘A’ step to rebuild with hope after a painful struggle. You’ve growth and learned something from the pain. You’ve let go of the pain. Now it is time to take a step away from the pain. This might be getting out of bed. Or sharing your story with a friend. For some it’s journaling about what you’ve learned. It could be using your story to help someone else. The possibilities of ‘A’ step are endless. This point in the rebuilding process is about doing something different after the pain than you did when you were sucked into it. Think about a step you can take using the lessons you’ve learned from the pain.
Healing from painful times is not always a simple process. The more painful and chronic the incident, the harder it is to rebuild with hope. Pain is often triggered and draws us back in. You may have to walk these steps over and over again to move through the pain.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned after a painful time?