Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Am Stronger Than I Thought

I honestly think that this past month has been the hardest of my life. I have been busier than ever before. I moved out of my parents' house into what ended up being a bad situation that I couldn't stay in, then moved back in during the first week of school while getting used to being at a new school, getting to know my students, learning new routines, and getting my feet off the ground. There were deadlines that I was struggling to meet, and circumstances outside of my control were preventing me from doing that. A few relationships in my life felt like they were crumbling, and I didn't know how to save them. I was stressed not only with work, but with my calling, and honestly, just life in general. I felt like everything was falling apart. Nothing seemed to be going right, and just when I thought the trial that I was enduring was the last one that I could possibly handle, another one would come along, and I would be that much more overwhelmed. Trial after trial stacked up and I shouldered them all, feeling like any moment I should just topple over and admit defeat.

Hardly anyone, regardless of how close they are to me, will ever see me cry. I do not like feeling like I am not in complete control of myself and my emotions, so I tend to stifle them. However, when life throws as many curveballs at you as it did me these last few weeks, it is just not possible to pretend that you're not hurting. Those close friends of mine that normally lean on me got to be on the receiving end of phone calls where they picked up, and I was immediately a blubbering mess. It was alarming for me to be this emotional. I went through a week where I had an emotional meltdown accompanied by hysterical sobbing every single day. On one such day, I called my friend and I told her that I have never been the "crying friend." I didn't know how to ask for comfort instead of give it, and it had been causing me tons of stress and anguish.

My typical role in life is the steady friend. I have always been the one that doesn't get emotional; that person that is known for always being chipper and smiling, and able to brighten someone else's day. I have always loved that I could be that support for people, but I have not felt like that person this last little while. In fact, it was exhausting to try to be her. As a result, I have recently learned that when people ask how you are doing it is ok to admit that you are struggling. It is ok to unload, and to ask for advice, and even (heaven forbid!) to cry sometimes. Those are not things that I have been willing to do before, but I learned.

Another friend was asking me a week or so ago why life can be so hard when you are trying so hard yourself. He was frustrated because he felt like he was doing everything right, and everything was still falling apart around him. He felt anxiety over his calling, over his family, over his job, and also over other relationships in his life. I knew exactly what he was going through. It seemed to parallel my own life perfectly. I told him that I think that life is the hardest when you are the toughest. God knows what you can handle, and He would never overload you. Then I realized how wise I sounded, and that up until then I probably wouldn't have believed those words from someone else. I needed to apply my counsel in my own life. Then, I realized that it was all going to be ok. I could get through this.
This has been the lock screen on my phone for a month or so now.
You are strong enough!
I think that Heavenly Father waits to give you the hardest trials until you are doing what you are supposed to and giving extra time to the Church. That way you will have the spiritual strength to handle what is being thrown at you, because if you weren't so strong in the Church at that moment then how on Earth would you handle it all?

Now, I'm not telling you all this so that you can feel bad for me. I don't want pity. I pretty much just want to vent, and then share what I've learned while going through it all. So here goes: I have learned that it is just as important to support others as it is to ask for others' help. You need to let others in. Share not only happy moments with them, but difficult ones as well. Don't be afraid to give others that chance to be the strong one, and to help you out when you are hurting. I've realized that our challenges can be as much for those around us as they are for us sometimes. I have also learned that God is there. I knew this before, but it was reaffirmed to me so many times throughout these trials. He loves us immensely - more than we will ever understand. He knows exactly what we are going through, because he suffered for our pains and anguish already, through the atonement. His suffering wasn't just for our sins. It was to cover all the pain we would experience in this life, including emotional pains. He knows perfectly what we are going through, because he has experienced it and He is there to help us get through it. He just wants us to remember to ask Him for help. I have learned that sometimes I have to admit that even I can't do everything by myself, as much as I want to be able to.

After all these lessons, the biggest take-away that I found in all of this is that, as I mentioned above, God only gives us what He knows we can handle. So while I may feel broken, I'm not. I'm really just stronger than I thought I was.

Happy Sunday. :)
♥, Meagan