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By z4029250730, Apr 6 2017 08:15PM

Why do we need to endure? Why do we need to carry on through all the tests and troubles and trials that life throws at us? Why not just give up, walk away, ‘throw the towel in’ so to speak - and just plain QUIT? Wouldn’t that be a lot easier and simpler than just pushing on through the daily grind of life with all it’s challenges? For goodness sake, life is tough and we can’t just keep going ALL the time can we??

Many of you out there reading this now have often thought about quitting. In its worst case scenario that would be to consider taking your own life – to commit suicide. Or another (lesser) form of self-harming. Many more people than we realise have had thoughts like this – including some of our family and friends. Maybe ourselves. And sometimes people don’t always share until it’s too late. Again - in it’s worst case scenario - that could be a suicide note left behind.

And even when things aren’t that bad, they can still be pretty bad. Kids too much of a handful and you feel you are losing control as a parent. Job going terribly and you are desperate to quit but need the money to pay the bills (that’s even assuming you are fortunate to have a job - many don’t). Struggling in a primary relationship – again! Health issues. Mental and emotional issues. Spiritual issues. Life is tough and comes at us in a never-ending stream. Relentlessly sometimes.

A famous existentialist once said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” A sombering thought – but true for many. So why do we carry on?

Well, part of the answer is that there is nowhere else to go. We can’t just wave a magic wand and see everything change. If only. As my sister says, “It is as it is.” We have to face the reality of our daily life. Winston Churchill once famously said, “If you feel like you are in Hell, keep going.” He also once stood up and said - even more famously - when he was giving an after-dinner speech, “Never, ever, ever give up.” That was the speech . Five words. And then he sat down again. Some food for thought. Bearing in mind he struggled with manic depression (the “black dog” he called it) and yet led the British Empire to overcome incredible evil and ordeal in the Second World War against the Nazis and Japanese.

And as we look at other tests and trials we have undergone in the course of our lives we can see that we do come through them – although they can be extraordinarily challenging and even seem impossible to deal with at the time. Bereavements, tragedies, relationship breakdowns, redundancies, health traumas and accidents, emotional traumas and meltdowns, etc. We have got through them. Even as you sit and read this, you can acknowledge that yes indeed, you have come through some tragic, very difficult times but - more importantly - you survived them. The fact that you can read this, shows that you have made it this far.

Persevering with endurance can also be a trait in terms of character building - although I don’t say this glibly. As we push on through something in our lives, our character is being transformed and redefined. We are growing, maturing, getting stronger, pushing through, overcoming, etc. For our own good. And for the good of those around us. It can help when we see persistance and perseverance as a joy and delight - rather than as a discipline or daily drudgery.

And sometimes we have to push on through things for the sake of others – specifically our children if we have them when they are young, impressionable and need good role-models. Not that we have to be superhuman. Indeed we can be honest with them and tell them we are struggling. But we can still try and overcome in our strength - and with God’s strength if we have a faith in Him.

So don’t quit if you can keep going. But also remember that no man or woman is ever a failure. We can fail – many times – but that does not make us a failure. And a crucial, crucial word is HOPE. Even when we have little faith that we can get through something, we can still have HOPE – “a confident expectation of something good.” That things will come good sometime and we WILL get through.

A great book to read is “The Power of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale. This book can really engender hope that we can get through. Over 15 million copies of this book have been sold over the years and it is a potentially life-changing read. Buy a second-hand copy on Amazon and see what he suggests. Some truly helpful ideas that have proved themselves successful time and time again for countless numbers of people. I’m reading it and have been really encouraged.

Take care, don’t give up and remember that others have come through many other similar tests and trials that you may be experiencing at this time in your life right now. We CAN overcome. And if you can’t do it in your own strength, then maybe think about asking God for some of His.

And if you would like some help with counselling in Kettering - relationship, couple, marriage, individual or otherwise, then please let me know.

By z4029250730, Oct 24 2016 04:48PM

Forgiveness is the sort of thing that we all know (in our heads) sounds a nice, kind, good thing to do but that many of us in fact can struggle with. I mean, who wants to forgive the idiot who almost ran you off the road, the burglar who ransacked your home or the bully that is making your child’s life a misery. Far better to hate them, pound them, judge and despise them. Of course it is. Or is it? Is that really going to help you? Or your kids who you’re (hopefully) trying to role-model life to?

In my role as a private practice counsellor in Kettering, a G.P.’s counsellor in Corby and a prison counsellor at Wellingborough and Littlehey, I have counselled around 1200 people over the last few years. Only one person has ever come to me out of all those people and said, “David, I have a problem with unforgiveness,” and recognised it as such. Only one. And yet I have encountered it, challenged and discussed it dozens - if not hundreds - of times. When you start taking the ‘jam-jar’ lid off people’s lives behind closed doors in a counselling session, then you would be amazed at what can come up. And it can be very deep. Bitterness, anger, rage and judgements, resentments, unforgiveness and hate.

I specialise in couple and marriage counselling in my Kettering counselling practice and I sometimes encounter couples where grievances are held, remembered and even nurtured and then wheeled out when the next shouting match starts. But as someone famous said (I think it was St. Augustine), “Forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” Very astute and absolutely true, because sometimes the person who has wronged us isn’t even remorseful - and in some instances would even do it again if given the chance! So we cannot afford for our forgiveness to rely on other people. It has to rely on OUR choices and responses. As difficult as that is. Otherwise unforgiveness can play havoc on our emotions.

Sometimes forgiveness is a CHOICE. And it certainly isn’t an emotion – as who FEELS like forgiving. It has to be a mental assent – followed by a personal choice of the will. Difficult I know but always worthwhile. Someone else said that in life it is not what happens to us but how we respond that is the most important thing. We can get bitter or better.

In my experience, people can’t always forgive until they have had a chance to ‘work through’ the anger. Otherwise it can be like trying to apply an ‘elastoplast’ of forgiveness to a gaping wound of rage and anger and hate. Forgiveness is like a balm to the wound but the infection needs addressing also. That needs to be looked at and dealt with too. But it is so worthwhile. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said back in South African apartheid days, “Forgiveness is not just a good thing to do. It is is the best form of self-interest.” That makes sense. It certainly does. Forgiving helps our emotional life develop and can take some of the painful sting out of life’s events and traumas.

If you feel you are having a problem forgiving somone and feel that some counselling could help – either face-to-face or via Skype – then please feel free to contact me. I offer a 30 minute free initial consultation at my Kettering counselling room and then you can decide if counselling re. a forgiveness issue is the way forward for you..