What if the uncertainties of life lost their power to shock or traumatize us?
According to best-selling Author, International Speaker and Co-founder of the anti- human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign, Christine Caine — anticipating the unexpected and using the opportunity to experience more of God’s goodness is possible. Here from Unexpected (her latest read), she shares key strategies for moving from anxiety and discouragement to complete trust and freedom in God.
Link2Us: An unexpected occurrence by its very nature has the ability to completely blindside us. How then do we return to some resemblance of normality when life has thrown us a real curb ball?
Christine Caine: In those seasons, it’s important to remember that what was normal before an unexpected tragedy, won’t be normal after that tragedy. We have to give ourselves grace and time to adjust to a new normal. And we can’t be afraid to seek help in the process when we need it! Sometimes that’s friends, sometimes it’s pastoral care and support, sometimes it may be counseling. Whatever it is, do the work necessary to keep your heart healthy as you recover from unexpected circumstances, because the heart is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).
L2U: How do you know when the unexpected is simply not God inspired? What posture should you take?
CC: I think that ultimately, no matter where the unexpected comes from, God is working through it. Our posture toward anything unexpected will impact our destiny. Because the victory has already been won for us in Jesus, we always have a choice of whether to fight from that victory or whether to believe the enemy’s lie that we need to fight for victory.
L2U: Is there any particular unexpected experience that has helped to shape who you are today?
CC: The one I write about at the beginning of the book is certainly a big one. I share about when I stepped off of a boat where I was celebrating my 50th birthday with 150 of my closest friends to discover several missed phone calls and texts from my brother telling me my mother had passed away. That experience of feeling whiplashed by pain in a moment of such joy shifted something in me on a profound level. The result is what I would say is the most personal book I’ve written. God took me through my own wilderness season in writing the book. And because of that, I think the stories are more than just stories, they’re testimonies of His steady faithfulness even in the most unexpected of circumstances.
L2U: In retrospect, what would you tell your younger self about some of the unexpected situations you have encountered on the journey to becoming the woman you are today?
CC: I would remind myself to become a prisoner of hope and embrace the unexpected as a place where we develop the emotional and spiritual muscles needed to overcome fear with faith. Most importantly, I’d remind myself that I am not defined by the reality of my painful circumstances, I am defined as a child of God who is bigger than any pain I encounter.
Could you share with us 5 “musts do’s” for embracing and thriving despite the unexpected?
1. Make God’s promises bigger than your disappointment and heartache. If you give up on His promises, you will give into disillusionment, cynicism, and bitterness, and you will lose heart.
2. Remember that disappointment and pain are a place to pass through, not a place to stay and set up camp.
3. Put your trust in God’s plan into practice by embracing the place you are in today with passion and faithfulness. Focus more on becoming the person God designed you to be than on doing the things God designed you to do. He cares most about our hearts and souls, we should too.
4. The unexpected often takes us the “long way around.” Remember that the long way around is where we build the muscles – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually – that are required for the next step in our journey.
5. Fill your heart and mind with Scripture. One of my favorite Scriptures of all is Ephesians 3:20 which says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Those words give me so much hope in the unexpected times because it reminds me that following God’s plan instead of my own is a grand adventure that will far exceed my dreams, in the end, no matter how rough and painful it may get in the middle.