Finding Joy in the Midst of Pain

For many of us, the changing season ushers in a renewed sense of thanksgiving. But what happens when your season of change is marked by pain? When you don’t feel very grateful?

As we approached Thanksgiving, I felt anything but thankful. A serious illness had darkened my door, filling me with disappointment and heartache over what was being lost: hopes, dreams, expectations on how life would be. Yet it was in this difficult season I learned two important lessons about gratitude, discovering that hardship, not happiness, is the forerunner of joy.

Is your season of thanksgiving overshadowed by pain? Are you looking for a way to harvest more joy in your life? Join me on (in)courage to read more and discover how you can find joy in the midst of your hardship!

 

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Anxious

Terror. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. The ever-looming threat of nuclear war. Just the events in the last month are bound to kick your anxiety up a notch.

And that’s just the global stuff. Add your own busy schedule, work load or family conflict to the mix and there’s plenty to fret about.  In fact, more than 6.8 million Americans suffer every year from general anxiety disorder.

If you’ve been stuck in the worry cycle lately, you’re not alone.

I come from a long line of worry worts; three generations in fact. I know what it’s like to worry over health, family, work, safety and the future. I’ve personally experienced trauma and panic attacks. Many times I’ve expected the worst to happen, feared disaster scenarios, and even found myself anxious about being anxious.

At its core, anxiety is really about fear and control. The more we feel out of control, the more we fear. And the more we fear, the more helpless we feel. Continue reading

4 Things to Know When Experiencing Hardship

4 things to note about trialsDo you ever wonder why difficulties in your life seem to cycle on repeat?

Like lapsing waves, one hardship rose after the other this month. Each circumstance cued my anxiety like clockwork. But when the pressure didn’t let up, it got me thinking. Why does each struggle feel so eerily similar to the last one? Continue reading

3 Ways to Defeat Despair

Last week I had a scare. In the span of a few minutes, my world was shaken. Again.Last week I had a scare. In the span of only a few minutes, my world was shaken. Again.It had only been 4 years since my last autoimmune flare. Yet my knee grew twice its size for a second time. Flashbacks of wheelchairs and home confinement flooded my mind, crippling my heart.

This couldn’t be happening. Not again. Not ever. Continue reading

4 Excuses That Will Keep You from Helping Others

4 excuses that keep you from helping othersDon’t do what I just did.

I was standing in the aisle at Walgreens perusing Mother’s Day cards when I heard her. A distressed, elderly woman in tears because she was lost and couldn’t find her way home.

Seeing her distress, my heart surged with compassion and concern.

But what did I do?

Nothing. Instead of lifting my voice or offering a hand, I sifted through each logical reason excuse while the entire episode played before me. Should I help? Should I say something? Should I get involved? Someone else should probably handle it.

In truth, the store clerk got involved and she likely made it home just fine. But I sure didn’t.

I saw the need. But I didn’t respond to it. And it disturbed me greatly. Continue reading

Do you worry about your future?

how to not worry about the futureWhen you think about the future, what emotions bubble to the surface?

I’m pretty sure all my thoughts about the future have resulted in permanent worry lines etched across my forehead. On most occasions the unknown creates anxiety, concern, stress and a host of pleading prayers. Flashes of what could happen combined with a gazillion what if questions flood my mind and threaten to sweep my emotions away with them. Continue reading