Chris, today’s guest blogger, and my paths have crossed several times. His positive outlook and desire to pursue a better version of himself in all seasons is so inspiring. Chris has had many difficult obstacles in his life yet continues to overcome and rise above. I can’t wait for you guys to get a look into how Chris has let his seasons refine him rather than define him.
I recently came across this quote by S. C. Lourie, “Breathe, darling. This is just a chapter. It’s not your whole story.” This gave me great pause and I found myself asking “What are you trying to tell me?” The answer was something I had seen many times before and the message was simple, ‘seasons change’.
When you sit back and reflect on your life, can you find a season of change you traveled through? For me it was July 30, 2015. I had been married for a few months when I received the news that would forever change my life. I had been going through testing to find out if a mass I had was cancerous when I received a call to move my appointment up two weeks to that afternoon. I remained positive, as I always strive to do. Even though there was a slim 1-6% chance I was in the clear there was still a chance. I wanted to keep believing it was nothing. I wanted so badly to be told it was benign. I met with my doctor a few hours after that phone call and was told I had stage one cancer and that I would be having surgery the following week.
During my season of change in 2015, I needed to learn to embrace the season rather than run from it. In that season I unfortunately chose to run, not talk about what I went through or how I felt, what my underlying fears were or even to see myself as a survivor. I kept myself so preoccupied with everything else in my life that I never allowed myself the time to truly process the season. What I should have done during that time was lean into my support system, see myself as a survivor, seek out counseling, allow myself the time needed to process the change and most importantly mend my faith. There is no going back to redo any of this, there is only learning and adapting to change to move through the seasons as they come, especially the challenging ones.
Rather than raising the sails to take the storm on head first, I let the storm of that season take control and wreak havoc on my life. What started as coping mechanisms quickly turned into a pattern of destructive behavior; I began to drink in excess, over eat, spend too much time at work, neglect my wife and children and allow the overwhelming feelings of depression to take over. I lost my way, my faith, and most importantly myself. I allowed the season to conquer me until 2017 when I decided enough was enough, I needed to take control. In a season of defeat and utter chaos, a new season of growth and inner strength began to bloom. I took a step back from working so much, started eating better and exercising, spent more time with my family, put the bottle down and allowed myself the opportunity to see the seasons were changing. I also rediscovered my faith through a very open conversation with a good friend, Daryn. In our conversation Daryn shared, “Never let yourself get too high, and never let yourself get too low.” He planted the seed of how to navigate through the changes in a season of life with that simple statement.
There will always be seasons in your life that stand out as defining moments. These moments will not define who you are but lead you to understand your true potential and what you are capable of. Will you rise to the occasion or run in retreat? Will you allow change to conquer you or will you conquer change? Give yourself permission to explore the season to see what it truly holds for you. Life is a never-ending journey that is filled with constant change that we may perceive as good or bad but change is necessary to live the life you were designed for.
Remember your story is not yet complete. Embrace your seasons of change, explore the reasons behind them. Live the life you were designed for and make your best life today.