Are you hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass, the waters to stop raging, and life to return to normal? Are you waiting for life to get better before you live it to the full? In the midst of the struggle of a cancer diagnosis, Niki Hardy stopped and asked two questions. She shares how God answered and what she discovered about living life to the full despite our suffering.
On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I had the opportunity to chat with fellow cancer warrior, Niki Hardy, about how to thrive and not just survive when life falls apart. If you missed that episode, I know it’s one you’re going to want to go back and listen to Thriving Not Just Surviving When Life Falls Apart – Episode 132. I had the absolute blessing of being a speaker for both of Niki’s Trusting God Through Cancer Summits. You won’t want to miss what Niki shares about living life to the full despite our suffering.
Read to the end for a book giveaway!
Living Life to the Full Despite our Suffering
By Niki Hardy
Suffering of any kind stinks! It just does.
I remember where I was when I got the call to tell me my mum had been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer, then again six years later when my sister, Jo, got the same news. Six short weeks later it was my turn. Mine wasn’t lung cancer, mine was rectal cancer.
And I know I’m not alone. Whatever hard things you’re walking through right now stink too.
Cancer and any type of pain, suffering, heartache or hardship stinks. It just does.
Suffering stinks physically and emotionally but we often forget how much it stinks spiritually as well because pain of any kind affects our relationship with God.
Suffering isn’t just painful, it feels personal.
When we see others suffer; shootings, disease, hunger, trafficking, addiction – suffering that’s out there – we ask Why does God allow suffering?
But when it’s us suffering, when we’re the one who’s been betrayed or received a devastating diagnosis, our question becomes, What kind of God are you that you’re letting me suffer so much?
Our personal suffering is exactly that, personal, so it impacts our personal relationship with our relational God.
I remember pulling over and taking the call where I was told my tumor was cancer.
I screamed, What the heck, God? I thought you were good? What’s happening? After all I’ve done for you?
It felt so personal. I felt let down, unseen, unloved, forgotten, and left behind. Like my faith wasn’t strong enough to ward this off.
Questions to ask when struggling
Eventually I found myself asking the two questions we all end up asking when we’re struggling:
1. God, what do you have to say to ME in MY pain?
2. What am I meant to DO?
For all of us the answer to these 2 questions is simply, STOP WAITING.
In our pain God lovingly tells us to STOP WAITING!!
It might be a tough thing to hear when we’re running on fumes, just trying to get by, and we may not even realize we are waiting, but the chances are, we are.
Because here’s the problem, as soon as life gets hard, we tend to hide away, dig in for the long haul, deny it’s as tough as it is, soldier on and put life on hold.
We brush it off, wax our stiff upper lip, and try our darnedest to keep calm and carry on.
We hunker down and WAIT, sure we’ll find life again sometime in the future.
We wait for the storm to pass, the waters to stop raging, and life to return to normal, determined to survive and make it through.
It’s the same no matter what we’re battling.
Have you ever found yourself saying..
If I can just … when … as soon as … (find the right guy, deal with my stroppy teenager, get enough money, get pregnant, get through this grief)
But that’s not the gospel message!! THAT’S NOT THE GOOD NEWS!
Living life to the full
Jesus didn’t say, I have come that you might have life and life in all its fullness, buuuutttt… you’re going to have to ride out this storm and simply survive and get through until life gets easier. Then you’ll find it.
The truth is, when we stop waiting, we discover life doesn’t have to be pain free to be full.
Let me ask you, have you been waiting for life to get better before you live it to the full?
Is life on hold until that “thing” gets sorted out/fixed/less painful?
If you’re waiting, digging in and hunkering down I get it, but I want to invite you to stop waiting and start grabbing hold of all God has for you right where you are.
It might not look like the glossy, happy, skippy, healthy, wealthy, life we assume other people are living, but it’s good, really good. Even in the midst of our hardest moment’s God’s full, abundant life is there for a us in all its tenderness, comfort, peace, strength, intimacy and yes, even laughter.
Remember, life doesn’t have to be pain free to be full, so let’s go live it.
What have you done to not just survive but thrive during the difficult times in life? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Niki Hardy’s all about helping you discover life doesn’t have to be pain free to be full. Grab the first couple of chapters of her book Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart along with Break Out of Survival Mode: 3 things you can do right now to regain your peace and thrive, no matter what or download her free audio, How to Handle Anything Life Throws at You.
About Niki Hardy
Niki Hardy is an author, speaker, podcast host, and lover of hot buttered toast. As the author of Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart and host of the podcast Chemo Chair Prayers, her goal is to help you discover life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full, then go live it.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Thriving Not Just Surviving When Life Falls Apart – Episode 132, Niki Hardy is giving away a free copy of her book, Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you’ve learned about how to live life to the full in the midst of suffering and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, November 1, 2021. Continental United States only.