You Are NOT Canceled – 7 Tips to Reclaim Your Bright Future
My grandfather lived to 102, through some of America’s most difficult times and some of our greatest moments. He wasn’t raised in affluence but in a rural community on a family farm.
The year he was born, 1908, saw the debut of Henry Ford’s Model T while his twenties were spent in struggle during the Great Depression. Then in his thirties, World War II was raging. He lived to see his children marry and played with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Blessed, indeed.
Life can be filled with hardship and healing – laughter and heartbreaking loss – but we were created with the potential to come back from the most devastating circumstances.
Unfortunately, our culture seems to be trending differently.
Can we still persevere the way our forefathers did?
Lately, we hear that work’s too stressful, so some young employees have begun “quiet quitting.”1 Pronoun politics have found some (figuratively) collapsing in a heap – struck down by offenses like being called “her” when the person prefers “him.” Remember the 2016 election? Trump won, and universities coddled students who claimed to be too emotionally distraught to attend class.2 Give us a break!
As moms, we have the opportunity – the calling, really – to change this unappealing trend. Raising kids who can bounce back from disappointment is crucial. We can’t teach what we don’t embrace, so modeling this resilience is vital.
This is not to belittle life’s many real struggles, cases of abuse, and devastating hardships many of us have experienced. These are real, and we would never suggest that you deny these often life-altering seasons, but we do want you to know that no matter what you’ve done – or what’s been done to you – you are not canceled. Consider these seven tips to reclaim your bright future.
1. Replace Regret with Gratitude
Regardless of what you’ve been through – it does not define who you are. God does that,3 and your past does not have to determine your future. Though you should acknowledge what happened to you or what you’ve done, clearing the air honestly – like our grandparents, we must learn resilience. We must forgive others and ourselves. We must begin to identify the ever-present blessings in our lives, giving them center stage.
With time and intentional action, today’s raw pain will usually lessen in severity. You can push this process forward by centering on gratitude. When your mind starts swirling, list ten things you are currently thankful for. It shines a light on the often-missed blessings around you, even amid dark days. Thankfulness can create a slight shift in the atmosphere, significantly impacting your outlook.
Most of us would admit to a skeleton or two in the closet. A relational mishap or a career mistake may cost you dearly. Your family may have gone bankrupt or needed help from the local food pantry. You may still struggle with painful memories of child sexual abuse or date rape from decades ago. You’ve tried to forget, but it still plays in your mind.
We can’t forget them, but we can and should deal with them to move forward in some way- at some point. When you replace regret with gratitude, you’ve found a key to get the ball rolling toward healing.
Sincere gratitude is a formidable weapon against shame, pain, and anger over past mistakes and offenses.
2. Change Your Words
We’re not suggesting you deny the truth – but words naturally affect our outlook, beliefs, and healing.
There’s a marked difference between these two statements:
“I was fired, so that’s why my career has tanked. It’s over for me.”
“Although I did lose my job last year, it prompted me to look at the possibilities for a new start.”
Both contain truth – but one points to a hopeful path forward.
You may think that’s an oversimplification; however, resilient people maintain a positive outlook. They do this by thinking of a brighter future instead of the shadows of the past. You can too. Listen to yourself and then change your words. Remember, God used the power of His words to create our world, and the Bible reminds us that “the tongue has the power of life and death…”4
3. Get Help
There are times when gratitude and changing your language just aren’t enough.
Accept the idea of speaking with a Christian counselor5 to work through the complex feelings that keep you from living well. Other sources you could tap into include your local church. Closer to home, your husband or a family member could be a source of life-giving encouragement. Get help from a friend with the spiritual maturity and commitment to walk alongside you as you process. Whatever you decide, make sure you don’t go it alone.6
We recently interviewed a genuinely exceptional guest on our podcast, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, the CEO of The Foundation United. She educates on the 150-billion-dollar sex trafficking industry while helping its victims deal with its aftermath. Author of the bestseller, Groomed: Overcoming the Messages That Shaped Our Past and Limit Our Future7, Elizabeth has dedicated herself to leading women into recovery. Many of those her organization serves were trafficked for up to seven years.
At first glance, it may seem that this unspeakable abuse leaves an individual damaged, hurt, and traumatized beyond repair. But Elizabeth begs to differ – and so do the thousands she and her organization have worked with. In 1-3 years, most women can regain their self-worth, dare to dream again, and are given tools to renew their lives. If you haven’t caught our conversation with her yet- don’t miss it. CLICK HERE
Your pain may or may not rise to the level of those helped by Elizabeth’s Foundation United, but that doesn’t mean it’s not serious.
Your life and your situation matter. Muster the courage needed to reach out for help to break free of painful cycles that have held you back.
4. Dream Again
A young man grew up in a money-strapped family in Marceline, Missouri, raised by an allegedly abusive father. Despite his unfortunate circumstances from boyhood, he had dreams of someday. He started a business with his brother, which ended in utter defeat – bankrupt. Dreams crushed by failure. Setting off with $40 in hand for California, he tried acting, but this also proved futile. He talked his brother into joining him in another venture, a small startup producing cartoons with some success. But that high point was short-lived. The company’s only money-making asset, a character that had brought them their first taste of success, was taken from them in an underhanded move by their producer. Defeated, on a long train ride home, the young man began to draw a mouse.
You probably guessed by now – this is a little of the early life of Walt Disney.8
(Side note: the current state of his mega-kingdom would likely have given that young idealist pause, to say the least! We can easily speculate that were Walt still with us, the 2023 Disney corporation would benefit greatly from his family-friendly original vision)
The point is this. Don’t allow failure, injury, or setbacks to stop you from dreaming. If you haven’t revisited the ideas and passions that once burned inside you – it’s time to prayerfully reconsider them. Dream again.
Take time with a friend or your husband for a no-holds-barred dream session. Start with – what would you choose to do if money, time, and your current situation were no object? Remember, it’s meant to be a free-form discussion to shake loose your cobwebs. You never know- you may discover a new dream – or that an earlier ambition still has merit.
Is God calling you to something?
5. Learn From It
Don’t be afraid to dig into the lessons you’ve learned from disappointments or hardships.
If your financial world collapsed under debt – consider looking to some experts in the field like Ramsey Solutions9 or Crown Financial Ministries10. Those two organizations exist to help those who have money struggles. It’s not too late – you can get on track.
Suppose you made mistakes in relationships or were victimized as a child. In that case, counseling can help you regain what was lost in many ways. Don’t give up on finding the right fit with a therapist, and then allow the pain of your past to help you be a better mom, spouse, and friend in the future.
Remember the biblical story of Joseph? That young man had everything against him. Sold into slavery by his brothers, he was later unjustly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. After more than a decade of pain and struggle in his undeserved bondage, he was suddenly raised to power in Egypt after interpreting the Pharoah’s dream. Joseph’s strategy for that nation became salvation for the land during a devastating seven-year famine. Finally, he could say to his cowering brothers who feared his retribution: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”11
Examine what happened to you or because of you – and what you can do differently in your future. Suffering is real, but if you learn from it, you’ve turned a stumbling block into a stepstone.
6. Discover God’s Best for You
If pain, difficulties, and daily busyness have created distance between you and the Lord, you’re missing out. But the great news is – you don’t have to.
God stands ready to hear your prayer. He loves you, and when you believe and receive the promises of Jesus through free salvation – you are forgiven. No ifs, ands, or buts – it’s done – you are clean.
Put FOMO away for good by digging back into the Bible, praying (a lot), and getting involved with like-minded believers in a local church.
You can also dive into fellowship with some of the best by getting involved in one of our Cottage Meetings. There you’ll find mamas like you ready to navigate this chaotic culture together with the grace of God and the power of the patriotic spirit.
You’ve got this. You can discover God’s best for you and reignite your life.
7. Don’t Give Up
No “quiet quitting” for you. Look to the future with anticipation, planning and dreaming.
Never stop giving thanks, and never stop moving forward. You are an overcomer with every potential before you.
Walt Disney, our overcoming American visionary, said, “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.”12
Mama, we will never stop believing in you. Great things are ahead in your life.
Moms like you are among the most formidable forces in the world. You make Moms for America what it is – and we couldn’t do what we do without you. Together we can and will overcome, celebrate the beauty and truth of America’s heritage, and enjoy a bright future.