With all of the craziness of Coronavirus sweeping the world it is critical to examine 4 mindsets that can help us survive and thrive during these hard times.
Welcome to another episode of Tamara's Takeaways on the Stories of Hope in Hard Times Podcast. The world in the last few weeks has just gone crazy. And I have to tell you that my life has seems to have been turned upside down as well. This is totally out of the norm. It is not how I expected March to turn out at all. In fact, I've really never been quarantined to my house before. So life is different.
It's a good time for us to ask the question: What do we do in times when life gets turned on its head?
This is a perfect time to reflect on last week's episode where I interviewed an incredible man named Matt Bowen. Matt's life completely changed in one day due to an accident which paralyzed him. Now, Matt gave us six amazing lessons that he has learned from his hard time. And these lessons were positive and uplifting. I'm going to pull from some of those today and kind of add on to them.
Mindset #1. Patience
Now the first lesson I would love to talk about is the word patience. The word patience does not have a positive connotation. Matt said he had to learn to be patient with himself, that things were going to be different. It was like he had begun running a marathon of sorts. That is fantastic advice when we hit bumps in the road, like COVID-19, the earthquake we had in Utah, or other things that are totally unexpected. Sometimes life changes for a day, for a week, or even for a month, and we have to learn to be patient not only with others but with ourselves as well. That is tricky to do.
I found some really awesome quotes on patience. There is a great scripture in the New Testament in the Bible where Paul explains a little bit about patience and the evolution of hard things in Romans 5:3-4.
We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.
So maybe you're not glorying in your tribulations right now. But those hard times help make us more patient. And when we have more patience, we gain experience. Then when we have experience, we gain something called hope. And this podcast is all about hope.
A Personal Example
Let me give you a personal example of that. When my children were diagnosed with autism, it was very hard. I really wanted to pray that challenge. I did not want that challenge. Would it have made me more patient? Yes, but I didn't want it.
In my book, Normal for Me, I compare it to the children of Israel when they left Egypt and got to the edge of the Red Sea. It's easy to look at these people and say, why were they complaining? They just left Egypt. They're on their way to the Promised Land. But they got stopped at the edge of the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army came. They complained to Moses that they'd rather go back to Egypt.
Sometimes the things we know (either Egypt, Coronavirus, or life without autism) seems to be more comfortable than what we are currently going through. For example, we're quarantined at home and there's a shortage of toilet paper. Life is different than it used to be. So, we don't want the challenges we have--and yet by going through them, we gain patience and experience. And then we have hope that because we made it through that with God's help, maybe we can get through something else.
And so patience is a great quality. We don't like getting it, but once we have it, it is a blessing to have.
And I'm not saying I'm a hundred percent patient, believe me, I'm not. There are some days I'm more patient than others. I think a lot of that has to do with self care. So during this time of stress for you and your family, I have just one tip to help you with patience: get enough sleep! Everybody does better when they sleep better. So take care of yourself. As Paul says Hebrews 12:1, "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us." This is a race--an endurance race. Matt called it a marathon. Run with patience.
Mindset #2. Feel All Your Emotions
Have you ever had a circumstance in life where things did not play out the way you envisioned they would? Those are called changed expectations. At the beginning of the podcast, I said was March has not turned out how I expected. I'm sure all of us can and could echo that same sentiment. Sometimes when things don't turn out the way we expect them to and we grieve what we hoped would happen. We feel bad. Different people grieve differently.
Some people get really mad when things don't turn out the way they expect. I know I felt that way before. I was supposed to be on choir tour with my children in California. They were going to perform and then we were going to go to Disneyland. And guess what? That got canceled. It did not happen. And my kids were really disappointed and I was sad too because I was looking forward to that time with them.
So sometimes things happen and they are completely out of our control.
And so the second point that Matt talked about that I really want to emphasize is it is okay to feel emotions. It is okay to feel disappointment, sorrow, and joy. And for some reason I think sometimes we always tell ourselves that we shouldn't feel the negative emotions. Matt learned that it is okay to feel those.
Three Ways to Express and Vent Feelings
1. Talk About Feelings
Now as I've interviewed different people for the past year, I've noticed a pattern. People talk about the importance of being able to express these emotions. It's important not to bury them. It is important to talk about what they're thinking and feeling.
For example, the earthquake we experienced last week in Utah was scary. And being able to talk to my kids about how it was okay to talk about feeling scared. It's okay to talk about these feelings of feeling frustrated that out trip to California got canceled.
2. Write Feeling in a Journal.
Some people prefer to journal. I love journaling and I also like talking, so I do a little bit of both. But writing your feelings can help you identify them and get them out in a place which is private. It feels good to journal about things.
3. Vent to God
Another great place to vent emotions is actually to God. He knows what you're feeling anyway, so He is an impartial person to talk to and He loves you no matter what you tell Him. So if you're feeling particularly stressed or frustrated due to a situation that is completely out of your control, then you can go to God. He's a great person to turn to when you're feeling frustrated or when you're feeling down. I have found great comfort and talking to God.
So express those emotions. Positive, negative. It is Okay. All right.
One Caution--The 10 Minute Rule
One caution that Matt did point out, is to not dwell on the negative all day for days on end. Matt's brother challenged him to keep the negativity down to 10 minutes a day. And if you don't use your 10 minutes one day, that 10 minutes can roll over to the next day. So if you have a really bad day the next day, 20 minutes, that day. So, know it is okay to feel those negative emotions, but then move on to the positive.
Mindset #3. You Create Your Own Happiness
This feeling emotions kind of blends into the next topic, from Matt's podcast. He called it extreme ownership (that's the title of a book that he read that kind of totally changed his perspective on this.) The concept of this extreme ownership is you are the person who is in charge of your own happiness. You have to decide, are you going to let life, paralysis or changes drag you down? Or are you going to say, "You know what, I'm still in charge of my own happiness. This isn't what I expected from my life, but I'm going to keep moving."
A Lesson From My Dad
When I was a teenager, my parents were really great at giving us chores to clean up dinner. We rotated once a week. One of us would clear and wipe the table. Another of us would clean and wipe the counters. One of us would sweep the floor. And another of us would do the dishes.
And let me just tell you the dreaded chore of all the chores for all of us was the dishes. Nobody loved having the dishes week. (I don't know why, because as an adult now I'm like, "Do the dishes! You're done in five minutes." We probably complained for like an hour before we did the dishes as kids. My poor mother or father!
Here is peek into the Klein family home. My dad had this great saying, "You have a choice. You can do it happily or unhappily, but you will do it."
And you know, I have told my kids the exact same thing. You can do it happily or unhappily, but you will do it.
We Have a Choice
So many things in life are like that. Here we are in a circumstance which many of us has never been through in our lives. We are basically quarantined to our homes or we have social distancing. But we still have a choice--We can do it happily or unhappily!
There are moments of definite unhappiness. Like I said, it's okay to feel that way. But remember that ultimately you do have a choice.
It's been interesting to me as I've been writing in my journal and he's the last few nights I love writing about things I'm thankful for. At the end of the day, it helps me look for the positive in the day.
I encourage that if you are in a hard time, find the good things in this. Maybe you have more time to spend with your children or your spouse or maybe you have time to actually make all those phone calls and connect with those loved ones or friends that you've been meaning to call. I've had some of the funnest conversations on the phone with friends where we have just laughed our heads off since I've been stuck in my house and it's been great. I've just absolutely loved it! So take this time to find the positive, to choose happiness. Matt would say, take extreme ownership of that.
Mindset #4. Hope for Morning
The final lesson I would love to conclude with in this podcast is to encourage people to have hope. Sometimes when life throws a curveball at us, we feel like we are in the depths of despair. We feel like it is the midnight of our lives. In fact, I found a really great Psalm, I would love to share with you today because when I read it, I felt like David totally gets it. This is Psalm 88 and I'm just going to skip around a little bit.
1 O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
Have you ever felt that way? Like you feel like you want to die? That's kind of what he's saying here.
4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
We feel that way. Don't we guys? You can tell he's in the depths of despair.
6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves.
8 I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
That last verse is especially applicable for us today--because we are shut in our houses. That one made me laugh when I read it.
13 But unto thee have I cried, O Lord; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee (which in Hebrew means 'come before thy face.')
So morning is going to come. God hears those prayers uttered in the darkest moments of our lives. We've all been there and we've felt that midnight.
A Song I Wrote
Some of you may not know this, but I love music. I love singing and I've directed choirs. And many years ago in 1995 I wrote a little song that I still need to put piano music to, but it just rolls around in my brain every once in a while. And I'd love to just share a little piece of it with you today because we all have times when we do feel we are in the dark, but we have to hang on until the morning--because morning always comes after the darkness. We may feel like David--where we're in the darkest pit, but need to hang on until morning.
You cried my child in the darkness and your heartache's not in vain.
For I've heard your plea, and will answer thee--in the morning.
When I'm morning comes, there'll be a light to shine around you.
Until the morning comes, hang on.
When the morning comes, the dark clouds that seem to cover, you will drift away.
And I will stay, until the morning.
Alright, I don't know that I'll ever sing to you guys again, but I thought you might enjoy that. Sometimes we've got to hang on until morning because in the morning those dark clouds drift away. So just hang in there. Everything will look better when the sun comes up.
In James 5:8 it says, "Be ye also patient. Stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Things are going to get hard. They're going to get complicated before Jesus comes again. So just hang in there.
So those are the 4 winning mindsets during times of crisis. Be patient--Do your selfcare and get your sleep. Remember it's okay to feel emotions. Create your own happiness. And have hope that morning will come.
Hang in there guys. If you're having a hard time, give somebody a call today. Just challenge you to do it. Talk to a friend, talk to a neighbor, talk to a family member and have an awesome and blessed day.
Fun Facts About Tamara
The Second Place I Could Never Work: A Hardware Store
Two weeks ago I established a tradition where I told you something fun about myself. Obviously I just sang you a song. So you know that I like music.
Last time I told you one of the places I could never work was a bookstore because I love books so much and I was spend all my money doing that. Today I'm going to tell you a second place I could never work. And that is actually a hardware store. And the reason is because I love tools of every kind. I love paint. I love walking through any Home Depot or Lowe's or ACE hardware, anything like that.
So perhaps you can see why could never work at a hardware store, because my entire paycheck would be spent. My husband gave me a saw one year for Christmas and most women be like, what? He gave you what for Christmas? I like the saw. It's like one of my favorite things! It has this little rolly table that goes under it and I can collapse it up and roll it into my garage. And when I want to use it, I just roll it out and I set it up on this little stand and I cut the wood that I need to cut.
My Wood Collection (Much to My Hubby's Chagrin)
I have a wood collection in my garage. That's another reason I could not work at a hardware store because I love to go through their piles of wood and just take wood home with me. I have a problem guys! My husband doesn't like me to go there all by myself because I show up with who knows what. I love wood and cutting wood. I like building shelves and creating things. And there's nothing worse than getting an inspiration of how you're going to fix something, getting all excited, digging through your woodpile and then finding out you don't have the stuff you need. Maybe you don't have the bracket or screws. Then I just say, "Oh nevermind! I'm not gonna do it."
So I like having stuff on hand. So when inspiration strikes I can just act on it really fast. Super cool. So I am one of those women who likes power tools. That's another nugget about Tamara. You actually learned several things about me today: that I can sing, compose music and I like power tools.