I’m going to guess that life has felt like A LOT for you lately. It has probably felt heavy, overwhelming, and at times you may not even be sure if you are coming or going.
What I want to suggest to you today is that prolonged stress will turn your cracks into canyons.
What is a crack? A crack is a stress point in your life that you can usually find a way to workaround. You know it's there, but it doesn’t impact day-to-day operations. It exists in your life but doesn’t really change your life.
A crack might be the communication issue in your marriage. A crack might be the discontentment in your work. A crack might be the identity issue your children are dealing with, or really any part of parenting.
Despite what Instagram posts would have us believe, EVERYONE has cracks.
Prolonged stress will always exploit our cracks, and very often turn them into canyons. Examples of prolonged stress can be; military deployments, hard seasons at work, COVID, or basically most of 2020.
So, now that our cracks have turned into canyons what do we do?
The best thing that canyons give us is that they can’t be avoided, but they can be explored.
With canyons, we have the opportunity to dive deep within ourselves and connect with things that we wouldn’t normally be able to see by ourselves.
Here are five thoughts on navigating canyons in your life:
1. Admit that this is a canyon. The only way to be destroyed by the metaphorical canyon is to not recognize you are on the ledge. Sometimes avoidance can be a good coping mechanism, but when it comes to something like this – if you don’t look down, you will definitely fall. Recognize the stress point, spend some time identifying the edges, get comfortable with the fact you have a canyon in your life.
2. Climb down slowly. This is not the time to just jump in without testing the depth. Who knows how deep this canyon runs, spend intentional time climbing down the walls of this canyon and recognize that this thing probably has layers. The communication issues (or any issue) in your life didn’t happen overnight, and you aren’t going to solve them overnight either. GO SLOWLY, this isn’t a race.
3. Beware of rushing water. Sometimes, when we climb into the issues of life they can feel overwhelming. Like a rushing river overwhelming. When you start to have these emotions you don’t have to stay in the canyon, you can climb out. Nothing has to be solved in a day – if it feels like too much – get out.
4. Take a guide with you. Don’t try to navigate these things on your own. Have someone who is anchored outside of your canyon, and you can do the same for them. These things can feel like a lot, don’t go in alone.
5. Your canyon may feel scary, but God is not scared. One of the truths about emotion is that we oftentimes want to assign them to people, or to God. Rest in the truth about God, and one of those truths is that God is not scared of the cracks or the canyons in your life. It doesn’t change who God is, nor will it change how God works. He has been here since the beginning and will be here at the end. God has this, rest in Him.
This year has changed us and will continue to challenge us. Everyone. Our kids have canyons, our friends have canyons, and our partners have canyons.
The beautiful part about this is that once our cracks turn into canyons we really have the opportunity to do something about it.
We are seeing this with the crack in America around racial injustice. We are seeing this with young people and their identities. We are seeing this with marriages.
Once the crack turns into a canyon we finally have enough room to dive in and do something about them.
I want to challenge you today: Identify your cracks, and explore your canyons.
Tony Miltenberger is the Lead Pastor of Restoration Church Centerville, Ohio, and hosts the Reclamation Podcast which focuses on reclaiming good practices for faith and life. Learn more about the podcast and Pastor Tony at reclamationpodcast.com.