Thriving – When You Don’t Feel Like Thriving

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As the (self proclaimed) “dare to thrive seeker” I’ve made it my mission to explore and seek out what it means to thrive. I don’t call myself an “expert” because I’m clearly not. Adventurer, pathfinder, seeker – these better describe me on this journey to discover what it means to thrive. “Daring” to thrive even when life makes that really challenging. Many would argue it is simply impossible to really thrive. And maybe to consistently thrive everyday is impossible, but can we all agree we can “thrive” more than just merely survive? What about that more than 50% of the time? Maybe even get to a point where it’s actually the way we live most of the time? 

But y’all, this week? I don’t feel like I’m thriving in any way, shape or form. Which can make (even a self proclaimed) thrive seeker begin to doubt themselves. 

I fully believe that thriving can become our “normal” state of being. And yes I’m saying that during a week when I feel I’m discouragingly far from thriving. 

This week has been a struggle for me for no obvious reason. Maybe it’s covid fatigue as today marks 11 months (almost to the day) of covid. And that is draining on us all. Maybe it’s because I’ve had lots of friends lose loved ones this week. Maybe it is lack of sleep since hubby has been fighting a cold (and keeping me awake). I’ve been off my routines – healthwise, workwise, daily discipline wise. Everything has felt like a struggle.

Yet this week has been a huge lesson in thriving. It has reminded me that to really thrive, we don’t just do that in “good times.” Anyone should be able to do that, right? Even though a lot of times we don’t. Tough times are going to happen throughout life. Even the wealthiest, smartest, most religious, healthiest people on the planet have tough days, weeks, months. Sometimes we’ll have obvious challenges – sickness, loss of loved ones, crushing disappointments, financial “failures.”  Sometimes it’s just “normal” daily challenges like running low on gas, crazy family schedules, annoying drivers on the road. Sometimes it’s stress, anxiety, depression with a miriad of causes.

So if ALL of that is part of life, and if none of us know what life is going to throw at us minute by minute and day by day, how in the world can we hope to thrive? I counter that by asking what hope do we have if we don’t look for ways to learn, and dare to thrive in the tough times and in the good? And two things give me that hope. 

One, is faith; having faith that the challenges and the obstacles are here to teach us something and help us grow. For me that is a faith that God has so much more planned than what we can see and uses each and every circumstance to help us grow in trusting him and loving others. 

Two, I believe thriving is a choice. We choose to learn how to thrive and make the most out of life, or we choose to let life toss us around. Each of us has the opportunity and ability to make that choice no matter what our circumstances. Chew on this circular logic – if thriving shouldn’t depend on circumstances then who gets to thrive shouldn’t depend on circumstances either. 

When we have faith that life is not against us and make the choice to learn from each situation, then we get better and better at thriving each day. When  we can dare to thrive even in the toughest situations, that, I believe, is truly thriving. I’m not there yet, but I have faith and I’m making that choice. 

So even though this week I haven’t worked out, I’m making some poor eating choices, my work schedule is all off and I have projects that are behind, I’ve fought with my husband about some really stupid stuff; even with all of that, I still believe I can learn to thrive. I’m noticing what brings me out of this place more quickly. I’m connecting with people and practices that nurture my soul and bring me joy. And I embrace that this is all part of the lesson in learning and daring to thrive.