#Askingforafriend: Finding meaning in 2020's struggles

By Lauren Dixon
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

We’ve made it to the end of this calendar year where most of us are feeling a bit more rugged and depleted than we felt 365 days ago.

Over this past year, we have been facing chronic loss, uncertainty, anger and contention. We have been grieving the loss of routine, connection, resources and options when it comes to finding ways to celebrate, mourn, pursue our goals or experience novelty.

We have been grasping for some sense of control or confidence the best we know how, often through judging, criticizing or avoiding the actions we believe ourselves or others ought to be taking to adapt or respond to the chaos around us.

The stress that these persisting challenges have put on our nervous systems is undeniable (also unavoidable) and has inevitably led to varying degrees of decreased energy and motivation, increased anxiety and/or irritability, and feelings of defensiveness, hostility and/or helplessness.

All of these feelings and corresponding attempts to cope with them are completely normal given the reality of our circumstances right now. And as much as many of us feel “over it," because we only have a certain threshold/capacity for being able to cope with stress, the stressors are simply not over.

The clock striking midnight tomorrow night is not going to have a magical effect of transforming everything “back to normal” on the first day of 2021, but we can allow this marked transition from one year to the next to invite us to pause, reflect and regroup as we continue coping to the best of our abilities.

Without having to meet the burden of having fully processed or adapted to traumas that are still actively happening, we can turn toward our need for making meaning out of our experiences as they unfold. As we remind ourselves that God is present and sovereign amid struggle and strife, we can reflect on ways we are being stretched and refined through this hard season.

We may be learning to extend increased grace to ourselves and others as we’re faced with realities of our own capacities that may have previously been easier to disregard.

We may be learning to enter into and navigate through uncomfortable conversations and conflicts as we seek to maintain connection and compassion even when our perspectives and responses to stress differ.

Here are some questions you might use to facilitate reflection on the meaning 2020 has held for you:

  • What have you observed about your own reactions to stress, risk and uncertainty?
  • What have you observed about how others in your life react differently to stress, risk and uncertainty?
  • What has it been like for you to need grace, compassion or support throughout the hardships of this year?
  • From where have you received grace, compassion or support throughout the hardships of this year?
  • What has been the hardest grief for you this year?
  • For what have you been most grateful this year?

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

4 events,

3 events,

2 events,

3 events,

1 event,

3 events,

6 events,

Integrity Week

Integrity Week

4 events,

3 events,

7 events,

6 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

5 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

2 events,

4 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

5 events,

7 events,

3 events,

8 events,

5 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

9 events,

3 events,

Chapel

Chapel

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. (Jeremiah 2:28)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/