On the very first day of the year, I made a declaration:
I will not be overcome any circumstance, no matter how much it just plain sucks
I was speaking of my seizures, and I made a promise to myself and to you that I would not be the victim of my condition any longer. Even if nothing changed in the details of my life, I refused to let my illness define me.
I also invited you to join me in a year of overcoming.
As we near the end of the year, it seems a good time for some reflection. It time for some tough questions, both for me and for you:
How often did we allow circumstances beyond our control to rule our reactions, which we do control? Did we allow hope to give way to despair regularly in our daily living? Did anyone else notice that we were trying to overcome?
It was a year of mixed success for me. I definitely had some growth. Just the other day, I had a friend of mine tell me that I inspire him every time he sees me, because he knows I am in the midst of a battle each day. And I never give up.
Most days I can see in myself a resilience, a defiant refusal to succumb to the darkness that awaits on the fringes of my consciousness. I know what yielding to the darkness brings in my life – depression, anxiety, anger, and fearful concerned whispers from my family.
Unfortunately, I know this from recent history. I have not always had the strength to stand against the raging insecurity that my seizures bring. Some days, I lose. I miss trains and feel sorry for myself. I make baffling mistakes at work and fall into the heaviness of doubt.
My anger has exploded on more than one occasion. In one instance, it changed our family dynamics forever. Though I know many factors were in play, I also understand that my anger predicated the pain, confusion and misery that every member of my family is enduring.
So overcoming has been challenging, to say the least. But now, I know why:Maintaining a stance of overcoming each day is exhausting. It requires a staunch almost militaristic approach to life.
And I don’t have to stamina for it, so some days I fail. Just from exhaustion. Plus, life is not meant to be a battle. We ought not approach every day with a “gotta win” attitude. We learn to ask the wrong questions of our moments.
Instead, I am learning to focus on blooming where I am planted. On thriving in every moment of the day. This is my theme for 2014:
I will be sharing thoughts on what it means to THRIVE throughout the year. I also invite you to share this journey with me. I would love to host your thoughts on thriving anytime between now and this time next year.What imagery comes to your mind with the word thrive?
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Oh yes, Chris, this echoes in my own heart:”Maintaining a stance of overcoming each day is exhausting”. Amen. I couldn’t agree more! Thriving sounds a wonderful goal to aim at. I’d like to join you in that and, maybe, write for you too ~ should health, energy and inspiration allow.
This has been a week of failing the battle for me as I’ve overstretched myself in every area and feel so depleted. And I need to refocus on the fact that Christ has already secured the victory for us; a victory we are meant to rest in. Yes, I choose to thrive. Will you be my buddy on the journey? Together we are stronger, OK? 🙂
Let’s join arms and walk together toward thriving. I hope others will join us on this journey in the coming days, months, and years. I don’t quite know yet what this means — to thrive — but I hope we will figure it out together.
Totally agree Chris – we can’t be on full alert all the time, it’s totally draining. All we can do is do our best, aspire to something better. And instead of being overwhelmed by trying not to be overwhelmed, it’s better to be fully present in the moment, and be the best we can be in that moment. Great post Chris – I’m with you. My one word for next year – courage.
troy mc laughlin
Thanks Chris. I’m inspired by your words. But much more because of the way you live this thing out we call life. Thanks for sharing friend. Thriving is a good word. To 2014 and to Chris Morris thriving! #dudewriters4ever
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman
Thank you, Chris! My word for the year is intentional, but I’m realizing that the result that I want with my focus is actually very similar to what you want with yours. I look forward to following your journey!
I am excited to see what God births in your through courage in 2014!
I felt like I had to be on alert all the time, because it seemed like the only other option was to not care. Now i am seeing I cannot live like this for the rest of my life. Since I am coming to grips with seizures as a part of my everyday now, I need to find a better long-term solution. I am hoping the thrive concept will be it, or will at least lead me closer to a solution.
Wish I could put to words how much of an encouragement you are to me. Thanks for always reading, always commenting, always lifting me up. You are a good Dude.
I’m glad we found each other on the TribeWriter group. You know, it’s funny how God guides people into similar seasons, isn’t it? Cannot wait to see what happens in the next 12 months for you!
Those questions are tough, but good ones to ponder and answer. My year has been up and down, too. It often felt more like I was surviving during the rough moments.
Love how you said, “Instead, I am learning to focus on blooming where I am planted. On thriving in every moment of the day.” This is what I want to learn as well. And I try to look for the pockets of joy scattered through my days. To me, that is a part of thriving — seeing the blessings and good gifts God offers.
Stephanie Pitcher Fishman
I agree! It really is. I think that there has been a lot of God’s direction in my getting to TribeWriters. I’m really excited to see what the year is like for everyone. Keep posting on your journey. I can’t wait to read more!
It is definitely a heavy learning curve for me. I love the idea of pockets of job — what a great visual Laura!
I look forward to seeing where this leads, Chris. Initially the word Thrive makes me think of my own journey this past year. I went through TribeWriters last year, started a blog, and have found a semblance of focus. By focusing on my areas of strength, and learning to work around my weaknesses, well, it is there that I find myself thriving. I like this concept. I shall be pondering it for awhile…
That’s pretty awesome!
Thanks, Chris! Pockets of joy have carried me through some hard seasons. 🙂 I pray it gets easier for you to see these little moments in your days.
Most days I stumble into them. For me, naming something brings more power. Now that I know to call them pockets of joy, I will be that much more intentional about looking for and finding them
I like that word for 2014! a couple of years ago my word was Choices…and I feel like that needs to be my word forever! everything for me comes down to choices…choosing the right things to eat, choosing to nurture relationships, choosing to rely on God, choosing to fight through the fog of depression and not be buried by it…and on and on and on…and if at the end of the day I can count more good choice days than bad, then I think I win!
April, that seems to fit you so well. You strike me as the person who chooses to see the best in circumstances.
Thrive is Alive x 1000.
I don’t think I have ever thrived in my life. I would like to join you in the quest to thrive next year.
I LOVE that definition. I am going to quote you later, unless you tell me it’s a bad idea now 🙂
I am thrilled to have you along Kathleen. For the record, I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, but I am certain this is a God-directed thing.
Oh, I think the greatest obstacle we need to overcome in our walk with Jesus, is our striving to overcome, that I-will-overcome-anything-even-if-it-kills-me attitude. We overcome only as much as we are able to permanently hand over to God. My illness keeps me housebound and often bed bound and like you know, we need grace galore to just let go of our dreams and desires we had for our lives.
There is certainly an attitude of independence, a John Wayne-esque stance toward life that we can easily pick up if we aren’t careful. But at the same time, I don’t believe our illnesses mean we are not free to dream. Actually, this is a big part of what I cover in my book “you ARE enough: Myths About Chronic Illness” which I am releasing on March 7.