I decided I didn’t want to survive cancer.
Not just survive anyway. I wanted more. Even if this was it, you know, the end; if I was going to pop my clogs and hit the bucket way too early, I wanted to go down living life to the full, dancing to Abba and embarrassing my kids.I decided I didn't want to survive cancer. Click To Tweet
I’d had enough of the constant battering life was giving me. Not just the normal frantic day-to-day stuff of life, kids, an overwhelmed schedule and an underwhelmed soul, but enough of the big, painful, life-changing, world-rocking, grief-inducing, suck-the-marrow-out-of-you stuff that kept hitting the fan and landing in my in-tray.
Maybe life’s thrown some big, painful stuff your way too, leaving you exhausted, hurting and running to stand still, constantly battered by a life you didn’t choose or sign up for; just surviving. It’s not fun and it’s not really living is it?
You see both my mum and sister had died of cancer, and then it was my turn to hear those three words; the ones that will rip the ground, and everything you know to be good and true, from under you.
You have cancer.
The heat seeking missile of death had locked in on me. I was trapped. I couldn’t out run this one with my usual grit, determination and old school gumption.
Would I beat it or would I, like my mum and sister before me, lose this often-unwinnable battle?
Would I ever get to see my children in their cap and gowns, my daughters wearing white or my son teach his kids to swim, or would my only presence be a tender ache in their hearts and a glasses raised to absent loved ones at Christmas?
I had no idea, but slowly I came to realize this; I didn’t want to just survive. I didn’t want to merely make it through physically.
I wanted more, so much more, and I didn’t want to have to wait for the “good weeks” sandwiched between chemo sessions or a clean bill of health to find it, grasp hold of it, and live it.
I wanted to live the abundant life Jesus came to give me and I wanted it right then and there, slap bang in the middle of the pain, the hurt, grief, and fear. I didn’t want to wait for the current storm to be over because, quite frankly, it might never be over, and even if it was, there could always to be another ominous storm rolling in from the horizon.
Life’s just like that.
Because here’s the thing; when Jesus said He came to give us life in all it’s fullness (Jn 10:10) and then a couple of days later announced in this life we’d have trouble (Jn 16:33), I don’t think He was contradicting himself or implying a full life can only be found in the calm between the storms.
I believe Jesus came so we can live abundant, full, lives whatever the weather. I believe He has life in all its fullness whatever we’re going through, however good, bad or ugly it is. I believe Jesus came so we might thrive and not just survive the storms of life. We just need to reach out and grasp it.Jesus came so we can live abundant, full, lives whatever the weather. Click To Tweet
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? A life full of peace, joy, connection, community, healing and growth, no matter how hard life is.
If you feel battered and bruised by a hard painful life you’d rather not be battling or you’re wondering where that life in all its fullness Jesus promised has got to or whether you’ll ever get to live it, I’m so sorry. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all your pain, heartache and worry vanish in a puff of friendship. I’d love to make you a nice cup of tea and tell you it’s all going to be OK, but since I’m here, stuck inside this computer, and you’re there reading me in your car or wherever, I want to give you a gift instead. A gift to help you thrive and not just survive, whatever storms you’re battling today. A gift to help you reach out and grab the abundant life Jesus came to give you, today.
When I was diagnosed I met hundreds of men and women in a Facebook community for colorectal cancer survivors and it was these brave folks who called themselves thrivers, not survivors, and it was there I first decided I didn’t want to just survive cancer. I then reached out to all sorts of people I knew who were battling really difficult, painful storms; brain tumors, grief, anxiety and depression, cancer, children with epilepsy, to name but a few. They shared with me how they grab hold of God’s abundant life in the midst of all they face and how they choose to thrive, not just survive.
I’ve taken all their tips and encouragement and put them into seven tools for you to grab hold of and use each day. They are,
- CHOOSE BRAVE
- TRUST GOD
- FIND COMMUNITY
- BE VULNERABLE
- EMBRACE THE JOURNEY
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE
- REACH OUT
If you’d like to dig deeper into what they look like and how to put them into practice I made you a booklet to help you get started – 7 Tools for thriving, and not just surviving, when life is hard. Just CLICK HERE to download it. From me, to you, with love. xxx
In the coming weeks I’ve invited some of those thrivers to come and share their stories, encouragement and tips in a blog new series called Is this it? Learning to thrive and not just survive, when life is hard.
Join me as we learn from these amazing people how they find God’s abundant life in the storms of life, and don’t wait for calmer days ahead.
If you don’t want to miss them CLICK HERE to get their posts sent straight to your inbox and along with the little 7 Tools Booklet.
I’ll also be a weekly Facebook Live – Thrive on Thursday at 10am EST over on my FB page, where I’ll be sharing tips and tools for thriving when life stinks so badly you need a vat of Chanel No.5 to mask its pong. Join me live or later and post comments, questions and stuff you’d like to hear about.