We've heard it before, "No one gets to skip the tough stuff in life," or, "Everybody's got something."
We get it. But when that someone is you, and that something keeps you up at night or sets you off crying in the checkout line, the quips and easy off the tongue lines don't sit so well.
It hurts. It's worrying.
We want to stop the world and get off but it doesn't, and even if it did, we can't. So what's a girl to do? How are we meant to handle it?
When I was diagnosed with rectal cancer (yup, you read that right, I had a tumor up my you know what) hot on the heels of first my mum then my sister dying of lung cancer, the bottom fell out of my world.
Then the world fell out of my bottom but we won't go into that!
How are we meant to handle stuff like this?
What are we meant to do when life's not fair and we find ourselves living a life we never signed up for? Whether that's a boss who's a pain in the backside or a diagnosis that has the doctors calling for more tests, there must be a way to handle the stuff life throws at us.
Here's what I learned from my years on the frontline of cancer and from talking to and pastoring oodles of people in these situations.
1. Deal with the myth of a perfect life
I looked around and saw two groups of people; those that had it all together and then me, along with a few friends who'd let me into the reality of their story. I assumed the first group had a glossy life because it sure looked glossy. But you know what, it's all smoke and mirrors.
There's no such thing as a perfect life and over time I came to realize life doesn't have to be pain-free to be full.
2. Embrace the truth about YOU
As soon as our world falls apart so does any sense of self-worth. I assumed I must be to blame for my cancer or be a terrible parent when my kids snuck out. We ask what we've done to deserve this? Does God love us let alone see us and want to help?
Just because life sucks it doesn't mean you do. I had cancer but I wasn't cancerous.
As Brene Brown says so eloquently: you are worthy of love and belonging. And if you don't want to take her word for it, God says He knitted you together in your mother's womb and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13,14) and his masterpiece (Eph 2:10).
3. Lean on God - He won't let you down
It's tempting to turn our backs on God when life's as much fun as a root canal and, if we're honest, we can do a lot without Him. We have willpower, money, discipline, and yes, even forgiveness and love. But with Him, there is so much more to be found.
God didn't just send Jesus to save us from something but to save us for something. This life that He gave his life for, so that we can live it abundantly, in all its fullness.
What if we did these three things when life slaps us around the face? How would it change your rocky marriage, your next doctor's appointment, or argument with your tween? How would it help us navigate our aging parents and being fired from our job?
If we refuse to believe we've been dealt the short straw, leaned into the truth that we are loved and enough, grasped the truth that life doesn't have to be pain free to be full, and leaned on God to find it, wouldn't we handle it so much better?
I have no doubt.
Niki Hardy is a pastor's wife, cancer 'thriver' and teller of really bad jokes. She writes and speaks about grabbing hold of the full life God has for us, no matter what. Download her FREE AUDIO: How to Handle Anything Life Throws at You