When things go bad, don’t go with them. – Elvis Presley
Show of hands…how many of you have experienced this? You’re going along in your life, things are jammin’, you’re kickin’ it; you’re chillin’. You’re living life in the fast lane and then all of sudden life takes a sharp turn and you plow head on into a brick wall. As you try to extract yourself from the sudden mash-up with the wall, you’re left wondering what on earth just happened and what genius decided to make a navigational adjustment to your perfectly happy life without so much as giving you the courtesy of shouting “Captain! Iceberg ahead!” Hands?? Yep, me too.
We’ve all have had good things go bad at some point. Heck, you may even be in the midst of a bad thing right now. Maybe it’s a relationship or family dynamic that’s gone south. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your health or the health of a loved one. Maybe it’s your finances. Maybe it’s all of the above. Rot.Ten. It was all going good until one day the floor dropped right out from under you and now you’re free-falling into the proverbial abyss with no idea how to get out or why it’s even happening in the first place.
I experienced something just like that. It was a job I had been at for five years. I spent those five years pouring myself into my work, devoting myself to what I thought was a calling, something bigger than myself. Five years of expending my time, talents and energy committed to a mission, a vision, because I thought I was making a difference in the lives of others. Until one day it all came to a sudden stop and I found myself on the outs.
I’ll be honest, I was very angry, very bitter, and very hurt. I felt used and abused. To give everything I had to offer, just to have none of it matter any more. For me not to matter any more. That’s how it felt. I felt diminished, insignificant, nugatory. I felt like everything I had, had all been sucked out of me and tossed aside like a used tissue.
It took me months to even begin looking for a new job. Truth be told, I didn’t want to look for a new job. I didn’t want anyone to even consider hiring me because of how awful I felt. I was afraid of going back into the same situation.
Here’s the thing, God has this uncanny way of stepping into my life at just the right moment, and rather than allowing me to sit, wallowing in my misery, He pushes me forward in spite of myself. I did end up getting another job. I totally didn’t want it at first. I truly kept hoping they would say “thanks but no.” But they didn’t (God thing again). So I accepted. But…but it took me a good, long year to overcome my bitterness and anger.
See, I had lost all confidence in myself. I really thought I wasn’t any good anymore; that I didn’t have any marketable skills. That this whole time, I had been feigning my talents and abilities. What was worse, I felt vulnerable because I had opened myself up to people I trusted only to have that trust exploited for their own gain.
But as time passed, I began to gain my confidence back. I started using my time, talents and energy in my new role but oddly enough, in a very different way. I began honing them into new skills, and soon I discovered a passion for encouraging and motivating others, namely our employees. I now get to speak into their lives, inspiring them, empowering them, validating them. I tell them repeatedly that they have intrinsic value – and I mean it! All the things none of my previous employers said. Ev-er. My experience, my bad experience led to me to realize, to see the true value of others and not to take them for granted like I had been. My bad experience led me to become cognitive of how others may feel and the importance of validating them, not just as an employee but as a person; as someone with significance.
I may never have had this opportunity if I had stayed where I was, in my five-year job. It took a good thing going bad before it could become a great thing.
Someone made the observation that we are both fragile and resilient all at the same time. No truer words. We can be dashed on the rocks one moment and rise like a Phoenix from the ashes the next. We can get a punch to the gut; left in a heap on the floor gasping for air but we can always get up. And when we get up, we can move forward. It may take time to get back up but the point is we get up. We can’t stay there on the floor. Well…yes we could but what purpose would that serve?
Now I know my good-job-to-bad-job-to-great-job story may not measure up to what you’re experiencing. Maybe yours is more heartbreaking or gut wrenching. Maybe you’ve experienced or are experiencing some serious devastation in your life. I get that and can appreciate that. But the moral of my story still applies. If we would just get up and move; move out of our misery; move out of our grief; move away from whatever is holding us down and determine to rise, looking up instead of down, we will go from bad to great. It won’t necessarily be overnight. It may take longer than a few days, weeks or even months. It may take (dare I say) years. But the point is to move in a forward direction. No progress is ever made by stepping back or standing still.
I guarantee it will be difficult to get up. I guarantee it will hurt to move. But I also guarantee if you choose to get up and move, you will discover how resilient you are. Don’t succumb to the idea that a good thing will become a bad thing and then no thing. When good things go bad, know that great things are about to happen!
It could be that you were made queen for a time like this! – Esther 4:14
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – James 1:2-3
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. – Psalm 37:4-5
God is within her, she will not fall. – Psalm 46:5