By Monica C. Voskamp
See the lonely boat? Maybe its been out there for days, weeks, months… sail torn, radio crackling in and out. Even if land is ahead..fog obscures any sight of hope. This sailor has crossed an ocean of brutality. Life hardships. With a paddle in hand, he dips it into the cold waters stroke by stroke. He’s having a hard time summoning the strength to go on; he’s barely finding the motivation. Can you identify?
Motivation. It’s easy to have this when things in life are going well. You have a steady job, a job you like, relationships are going great or you know, semi-good 🙂 , health is good…& at least you’re in a place where you see progress in life. Progress. BUT, what about when you don’t see progress? What about the times you feel stuck and no strength to move forward? You’re beyond tired. It’s work to lift the paddle for one more stroke. You see the vast ocean of life and stare at sheet of fog for the future, instead of a picture of clear skies, a working boat, and the beautiful destination on the horizon.
What happens when life is on the rocks? Your life isn’t what you once knew. When you’ve lost motivation in life, what do you do? How do you handle this???
- Realize and accept your life will look different in this time. And that’s okay.
Not everyone is going to understand you are going through a major change and honestly that does “knock the wind out of your sails.” For that reason alone, it feels lonely.
This is a distinctly different time in your life, so allow yourself a safe space for your emotions. Your emotions will experience a turbulence like never before. Loss does that. Give yourself permission to grieve.
These are different than any waters you’ve crossed. Many people will not be able to understand what you are going through.They are NOT in your boat. Don’t worry about other’s judging you, telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Take it with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, you are in your situation. Even if they’ve ridden a similar boat (struggle)..you are uniquely you. Your ride is yours. It’s normal that people don’t understand. Live your life without guilt and fear of what most others can’t understand anyways. Take care of you, and live the best life you possibly can in this difficult time. It doesn’t have to make sense to others. It’s hard enough for YOU to make sense of things. So relax here, and be gentle to yourself.
2. It’s going to take a different approach.
This is not a simple reboot…its not just trying to realign what was a little off kilter. Something is majorly adrift, and requires a depth. It takes a plunge to BRAVE, COURAGE, and WILLINGNESS to walk this road. This may be the pitch black in life, but the irony is you may understand LIGHT better because of this. Allow your perspective to shift. Give yourself some slack in all areas. Your body, holistically, has gone through major stress. It needs time to heal. It needs to process in order to progress. This is part of your own personal growth.
Normally the ships come in to shore. Normally. This is not a “normal” time. Or it sure as heck doesn’t feel normal. Naturally, we *expect* the tide to come in and out. When it doesn’t, our world feels off.
Everyone finds a way to navigate in the dark times, in times when life has shaken the house upside down. You will learn how to navigate differently. The tide isn’t the same. This is the time your brave, courage, creativity, strength, perseverance are born and fortified. People may not see it. You may not see it. But each day you go on, face the fight, another muscle of these qualities are grounded in you.
3. Recognize this time can be an advantage.
I know. That doesn’t sound grand, but there is advantage in this time. It’s not a waste. You aren’t a waste! You may feel purposeless, alone and drifting. It may be the hardest time to keep on.
It’s easy to lose your identity in such times. We so easily wrap our identity by our successes, how much we see we are progressing in life, what we have or don’t have. What you are going through, doesn’t define you. Name it. ________ is not my identity! You are are still you. You ARE actually in a transition period (so you ARE moving purposefully! This is part of your life journey.)
Whatever ocean of turmoil, waters of dark you are making your way through, they do NOT define you! When we hit rock bottom, we can feel like…a failure. ‘Why paddle? Why go on?’ these words taunt our weary beings.
Hardships and loss have a way of breaking our spirits like nothing else.
The thing about a broken spirit is this: it can cause us to look deep within ourselves like never before. We often venture into the hidden places of our being. As we persistently open ourselves, we shine in a way we never would’ve otherwise. This is the advantage.
Think of all the pressure on a glow stick when you snap it or whack it (I forget which) to make it shine. Either way it makes me CRINGE to think of that happening to myself. But it has. My gosh…it has. I thought I was done being broken up. I was like God, I’m shining as bright as Venus already. 😉 But honest, I’ve had more than one agonizing “glow stick whack” that left me on that lonely boat too. I didn’t know if I could do life again. But I did…am, and you can too. It’s possible.
Glow sticks come hard and dark, but when hit, snapped broken they shine like something else. They go through a process and then they light up. And you know where they light up?
Glow sticks light up in the black; they light up in the dark.
I don’t know how your journey will unfold, when or how motivation will awake. But I do believe you are a lot like a glow stick: The dark. The pressure. The brokenness…. and a special light to come through it.
Where there is even a fraction of light, it can’t help but shine into things that were unseen to you before. This just may be a spark of hope for you.
I’m always hopeful for you, in the dark and in the light~