Hope is a Journey….

Wow! It’s been a year and 5 months since I last posted.  I’ve thought about this blog countless times – wanting to share what’s been on my heart.  I’d like to say that ‘being busy’ was my reason for not posting, but…if I’m really being honest – I haven’t posted much because it’s been a really rough few years.  It’s been rough enough that I just crawled into my shell (I call this action, “Turtling”) and stayed there for the longest time.

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I was paralyzed in disbelief of the never ending swells of hardship that we have struggled to stay above water through.  Truthfully, I’ve been functioning (quite convincingly) in ‘Survival Mode‘ for longer than I care to admit.

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You see, ‘Survival Mode‘ isn’t as ‘safe’ as we all think it is.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – in acute situations – YES – it is a safe mode to be in (sometimes it is the only mode you can be in)…but to stay in ‘Survival Mode‘ for any length of time – well, it starts to eat you alive.

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It’s like a disease within your core and it slowly eats away at everything that you are, all of your dreams, all of your hopes, and…eventually, if you don’t stop it – the ONLY thing you’ll be doing in this mode is ‘exist’ – quite literally, you will merely ‘survive’ in this mode – there will be no LIVING.

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It’s a slow change…little by little you let go of the things that kept you grounded.  If I’m really being honest, for me, it was even easier to do this because of our move south.  It was easy to just let go of the things that made me SO driven – like volunteering, advocating, and connecting with others.  Moving south meant I didn’t have the connections, contacts, and the accountability that I had up in MA…and, if I’m being honest with you, I convinced myself that I was ‘just taking a break‘ from it all so that I could regroup and settle in to a new area.  That’s how it all began, and slowly – everything that ‘I loved to do’ became something that I ‘used to do.’

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If I’m really being honest with you….the only thing I did was disconnect, detach, and make excuses while the fire inside me was slowly being deprived of the oxygen it needed to keep me going.

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I had plenty of reasons for ‘shutting down’ – like serious health issues with both kids, adapting to ‘new medical norms,’ accepting progression of disease, financial struggles, educational ridiculousness…I mean, the list goes on and on – and – If I’m really being honest with you…we all have our ‘list of reasons’ as to why we’re ‘too busy’ or why we ‘don’t have time’ or ‘our plate is too full’ to do the things that we love, that we’re passionate about – that the world NEEDS us to do.

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You see, if I’m really being honest with you – I’ve been ‘stuck’ in this pattern for so long that I didn’t even know how to get out of it.  There was a feeling of restlessness inside my soul, but I was so STUCK that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

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It was like I had chained myself to ‘survival’

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that I was too afraid to just take the key that I had in my hand (the entire time) and free myself from the prison of my own creation.

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Now don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t completely void of living, I definitely spent some quality time with my family, made some great memories, led worship at my local church for a year, volunteered on a crisis team (also at this church) for a year, and even spoke a few times at events – but I was called to do more – and I robbed myself of so many opportunities to do so.  I regret not taking them, but the only thing I can do now is LEARN from those missed opportunities and make better choices in the future.

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So, because I’m really being honest with you – I’m going to tell you that I know I’m not alone in my experience…

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I know this because I’ve talked with people about it, I’ve seen friends living in ‘Survival Mode‘ and I see their chains – they look a lot like mine.

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I am here to tell you that you can have every reason in the world for shutting down, shutting the world out, holding back, and going into ‘Survival Mode‘ – but…
it. will. not. help. you.  

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It will not stop the chaos, it will not stop the fear, it will not stop the hurt, it will not stop the uncertainty, it will not stop anything BUT YOU.

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Yes, it will STOP YOU from healing, growing, changing, learning, and giving.  Often times, our deepest growth is born through our worst and most difficult times.  If we run from it, if we try and hide from it, if we think we can escape it – all we’re doing is fooling ourselves and denying ourselves the opportunity to grow – despite the immense pain or the obnoxious discomfort that we feel.

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There’s always a choice…you can OPT OUT of long term ‘Survival Mode‘ and choose to LIVEbut it will still cost you – it won’t be easy…there may be a lot of tears, a lot of heartbreak, and a lot of pain – – – but you WILL find your way through it.  I can’t tell you how long it will take, but I promise you, you WILL get there.

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And, when I say, “there” – I mean, you will get to a point where LIVING is again beautiful, rewarding, joyful, and brings you peace and happiness.

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For those of you struggling or unable to get out of ‘Survival Mode” – I get it – and there’s no judgment here….all I’m doing is asking you to do is keep fighting to release yourself from the chains of ‘Survival Mode‘ and step out into LIFE again.  It’s going to be hard, uncomfortable, painful, and maybe you’ll hate it for a while…but I want you to know that I’m here with you on this journeyyou are not alone.

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I’m still making my way back from stagnant survival and I’ve been clumsily making my way through the healing process…it hasn’t been easy, and a lot of it has definitely NOT been fun – but I’m working on LIVING OUT LOUD and I am finding my way back to the things that filled me with passion and peace.

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For me, my faith has been my anchor.

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It has been a refuge that has held me steadfast – even when I wanted to let go and drift away in the sea of unrest.

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And, if I’m REALLY being honest with you…I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen the last of  ‘Survival Mode‘ – but I am determined to never let it take root in my life ever again.

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It’s good to be back…

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Love and Light,

Stefani

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