7 Challenges to Consider As You Journey Farther Down the Valley of Suck

We do not get the same life as anyone else.  You might think this is fair but it is the reality we must come to face.  Just this week I was worrying over both my young adult kids for differing reasons as they have been facing some harsh realities of becoming “adults.”  I do a disservice to them though if I try to shield them from what they are facing.

The thing is, it is no different for me.  As my kids reach their “rites of passage” to adulthood, I’m living my own life and making the transition toward an empty nest.  There remain thoughts of what was planned when my late wife, Heather, was alive, and then new thoughts and new plans as I consider a new life and a new relationship.

As I was thinking through all this, I started to consider some of the things I have been finding helpful.  It seems to me there have been 7 Challenges to Consider, seven topics that I have found helpful...

  1. Be real with yourself.  How are you changing? What did matter most to you?  What does matter most now?  Don’t back down here, really, you’ve got to be flat-out honest with yourself!  Enough of the crap people say to make themselves feel better.  You must take your next steps and not everyone in your family and friends is going to be in agreement with you and your decisions from here on out.  A good journaling habit and or a counselor might be a good idea.

  1. Do what you need to do.  Do you need to get away for awhile?  To binge watch TV?  Sit out on your porch and drink beer?  I don’t know what you need to do.  I can tell you that NO ONE else knows though.  You need to do things and take part in things that help you heal and move forward.

  1. Choose your flock.  Who are you hanging with and what kind of influence are they in your life?  Who has stood by you?  It is time to let some people go.  Chances are, they already self-selected out of your life while others you didn’t expect, showed up.  You choose who you get to hang with and when.

  1. Consider your life philosophy.  Carpe Diem?  Life sucks and then you die?  The one who dies with the most toys wins?  Maybe you haven’t really asked that question before, well, now is a good time to do it.  This might be the time to discover what it WAS so you can consider what it IS now.  It is okay if it changes.  

  1. Consider your financial status.  I know this is no fun and it sucks to do this but it must be faced.  How are you going to provide for yourself moving forward?  What is it going to cost?  Who might help me?  Is there someone I can trust with my best interests?  You may not have much or you may have an abundance.  Regardless where you fall on the spectrum, be honest with where you are in this area.

  1. Start imagining the future.  What do you see your future becoming?  What does it look like?  You get to shape what is next. It does not matter how old or young you are - you do get the freedom to choose.  Times of pain and change provide the times we most often are able to grow and change.  

  1. Where is God in all of this?  My life philosophy became the title of my first book, “Life Sucks Seek God.”  In some ways, I have been all over the map, from being angry with God to falling down helpless and hopeless before the Divine.  How do you see God in your life?  It may be that it is time for your image or personification of God to be tossed aside.  God is bigger than any box you and I can make.  Maybe you need a break from God too.

No matter how greener that grass looks, the manure we each leave behind provides the nutrients for what is growing there.  A bit disgusting an image?  Well, we do often learn from the mistakes of others!  Look, remember that it is okay to leave behind those things, those convictions, and those beliefs that may no longer serve us well. What no longer serves you now, may be what helps another person find healing and wholeness.  And it might well be, in leaving old things behind, you are truly experiencing grace you never knew and are being really born again.


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