Recently, I received a call from a dear friend that said, “Staci, my precious, darling, seemingly perfect daughter (17 months old) has become a whiny, strong-willed, child that throws temper tantrums in the grocery store! I’ve told her ‘no’ and used every “Super Nanny” trick in the book, but it hasn’t helped. I feel like I am about to snap under the pressure.”
Have you ever faced adversity that sends you spiraling and wondering if you can ever bounce back? Have you ever faced a season of life that challenges your patience and ability to “keep your cool”?
When I listened to this desperate mommy, part of me wanted to chuckle, remembering those wearing and challenging days when my kids, too, were developing their will and testing their personal boundaries. Life seemed unpredictable and offered so many curve balls when I least expected it.
I specifically remember being at the grocery store when my precious son decided to throw his first tantrum. I told him he could not have the candy he felt he so desperately needed, and he threw his body down as if he had been hit by a torpedo and proceeded to pound the floor — wailing incessantly.
I’ll be honest…..there was a part of me that just wanted to walk away and act as if he belonged to the lady behind me. Another part wanted to look at him and say, “Who are you and what have you done with my precious little boy?” I was embarrassed, upset, and ready to call the 1-800-moms help line!
It was around that time that I became extremely interested in the study of neuroscience – the study of how God created our brains, how they develop, and how we have been given the power to change our actions and reactions at any course in life, no matter how long we have been conditioned.
Instead of getting stressed by the storms of life, whether they be a crying child or a ranting boss, BEND AND DON’T BREAK. I know that in the middle of a “grocery story” crisis or during “on the job” stress, it can be pretty difficult to be flexible, but, trust me….even those times of pressure serve a bigger purpose for your development…and theirs..
As I listened to this first time mommy in distress telling me about her daughter, I realized it was time for her to learn to the art of “bending” in the midst of adversity. Doing so would be a vital key to turning stress into an opportunity for sweet growth.
Here are three little tips you can use today to turn your stress around. (Note: Did you know that stressed spelled backwards is DESSERTS? Hmmmm.)
1. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE - Begin to seek the blessing in the midst of the drama.
When I was a child, I was a very vocal SCREAMER! My mother tried everything to get me to use my “inside voice” to no avail. Then one day, she decided to seize the day and teach me to use that screaming voice to hit high pitches. Little did she know that a few years later I would be singing on stage before millions with a 5 1/2 octave voice. Sometimes the very things we try to escape are not fighting against our destiny, but fighting for it!
2. BELIEVE THE BEST – Choose to believe the BEST in others even when their worst is displayed. Speak words of hope, affirmation, encouragement, love, support, and kindness. Instead of getting bitter, get better! Don’t let the emotions of the moment cause you to demean others by speaking words of anger, negativity, or defeat. Those things you say today will be apparent in attitudes you see in them tomorrow! Sow words of affirmation and love!
3. BEND AND DON’T BREAK! Recently I heard Pastor Danny Chambers, Oasis Church, Nashville, TN speak about the importance of being flexible in adversity. He explained how the palm tree is known as one of the most resilient trees in the world because of its ability to bend in the midst of great adversity, and yet, not break. Faced by hurricane force winds, a palm tree can take an onslaught of opposition, and yet, bend with the wind and bounce back even stronger.
When faced with incredible opposition, whether it is emotional stress, physical pain, relational challenges, or even a child expressing his will,BEND AND DON’T BREAK! Your ability to ride out this season will determine the results you see in the aftermath of the storm.
Take it from a mom and leader who has faced her own seasons of great adversity. This, too, will pass and if you don’t let it break you down, it will build you UP!
After all, this is just a season that will soon pass, and like me, you’ll look back on these times and be thankful for your ability to cope, bend, and be a strong and loving leader and mentor to those who you love the most.
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