Loving Life In The Rut

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This year has been good, but–and this is a big BUT–it’s also been incredibly difficult and unbelievably challenging. For much of this fall season, we’ve felt like we’re stuck in a rut.

Setbacks, financial struggles, and disappointment. These and more describe what the past few months have been like. In the turmoil, though, we’ve been reminded of something lately–the rut, as tough as it is at times, is life. And life is good. And we’re trying to love it.

The past few months have felt like one never-ending ride aboard the struggle bus. It’s been a slow grind, working towards this and that, but feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet.

There’s been a little disappointment. Doors that were opened were closed, and dreams that seemed so close didn’t pan out. You’ve been there, right?

This isn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) when the season has been difficult. Rejection stings no matter how you slice it. Albeit, the sting is good, for it reminds you that your heart was in it, but the sting hurts nonetheless.

And failure, even though it’s an inevitable part of life, still weighs heavily upon you. Life in the rut is not easy. And I’ve been frustrated by it lately.

But I started to do a little reading. I created some space. I reflected. I looked back at words I’d written before and I realized that I needed to follow my own advice. I needed to embrace the rut.

Because this season, even though it’s not what I imagined and is stressful, is life. And life is a gift. I don’t want to miss it or regret letting a moment pass me by. So, we’re trying to love the rut.

We’re letting creativity into the equation to dream up new ways of doing things. We’re exploring new outings and adventures that fit with our current season. And we’re searching for joy.

Yet again, I’m learning that practicing gratitude is the first part of letting joy fill and drive you.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in my head and lose sight of all that is going well. I focus on the negative so easily, losing sight of what is good and beautiful and positive.

The truth is, the rut is a learning experience. I can bemoan the situation and become immobilized in bitterness. Or I can love it.

Perhaps you’re in a similar spot in life. Maybe you’re facing disappointment or the things you hoped for didn’t work out. Perhaps you’ve had a few setbacks and you can relate to the feeling of “wandering in the valley.” But valleys are there to remind us that mountains are there too.

Sometimes we have to journey through the valley to find the mountain again.

Sometimes we have to wander through the wilderness to find the Promised Land.

And the rut is part of the journey.

Maybe it’s even an important part of the journey when it’s all said and done. Because when we have a little frustration, it makes the story better.

My Uncle Martin said to me one time that if you never have any setbacks, you forget what you’re working towards. I like that. Setbacks provide clarity. They remind us who we are and what we’re doing.

These are the questions we’ve been mulling over, figuring out who we are and what we’re doing here. One step at a time, we are marching through the rut, living fully in it, and excited to see what’s on the other side.

I know that “this too shall pass” because ruts don’t last forever. Just like the night eventually breaks into the dawn, challenging seasons turn the corner too.

I had a good reminder of this from Netflix the other day. Recently Marissa and I finished the new season of Gilmore Girls–A Year in the Life.

Maybe we both got a little emotional during the four mini movies.

Maybe we both felt a little connection with Rory and Lorelai, and the reality that sometimes life is a little frustrating and messy.

And maybe, we also resonated with the painful lesson that life can go from being put together to falling apart oh so quickly. Seriously. Just ask Rory. (And are we now part of the “30-Something” gang?!)

Life is made up of seasons, and like the seasons, it changes in time.

I’m remembering that. I’m also remembering that hope is a powerful force in our lives and world. It’s something worth holding out for, believing in its potency and power to change a story.

So, my friends, this is the where we’re at. This is life.

We’re busy dreaming, thinking, wishing, hoping, fighting, planning, and loving life, even if it’s in the rut.

I hope you are too, no matter season you find yourself in.

Embrace where you are.

Squeeze all the life you can out of it.

Hold onto perspective.

Love life in the rut.

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