From Darkness to Light
Finding Our Way through Challenges, by Dr. Brad Schwall
Crises bring darkness - the inability to see hope - difficulty seeing where to go and what to do. When faced with a crisis that seems to have no end, it's difficult to think. It's difficult to have hope. Not being able to understand what is happening and where to go is the result of a loss of balance and can also often be influenced by the physical components of mental illness - impaired executive functioning, a lack of energy, and a clouded mind preventing the ability to see past present circumstances.
Finding relief, recovering, and experiencing renewal is a long, complex journey with many twists, setbacks, and turns on the way. Some principles can serve as light on your way through confusing and challenging times.
- Accept weakness - We all struggle. Struggles push us to realize we can't survive or thrive by our own power.
- Do the next thing - When faced with many decisions to make, many directions we could go, do one thing. Do the next thing. We only have today on which we can focus. Problems take time. Our minds will clear. We will eventually see.
- Talk to others - Not sharing with others fuels shame - embarrassment that we are struggling. Sharing with others helps us be real, genuine and leads to understanding that others struggle too.
- Lean on your faith - It's often in times of the greatest struggle that we discover our greatest resource - our faith.
- Seek help - Mental health has a physical component and psychology and therapy offer knowledge of depression, anxiety, addictions, and mental illness that can inform us and provide us with tools we can use in finding our way.
- Take time to heal - Every time you cry, let yourself. Every time you ask "why," be patient. Reality, truth, and hope are gradually revealed.
- Grow - As you move from darkness to light, from losing your way to finding your way, continue to grow, learn, and gain awareness. Be grateful for what you're learning, remember the lessons, and seek deeper meaning and heightened understanding of yourself, your relationships, and your faith.
From the dark pits with no apparent way out, we eventually find a way. We might stumble along the way, but remembering God's provision in the past, seeking God's presence in the moment, and having hope for the future can lead to new ways of relating and living.
"When I thought, 'My foot is slipping,'
your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul."