Survival mode– we’ve all been there. Something unexpected happens, turning the world as we know it upside down. Almost immediately, the darkness in which we find ourselves begins to consume us. Scarcity becomes our new baseline. Worry, our new normal. We start hoarding the resources we do have. Defining ourselves by whatever it is we feel we lack. Making decisions, born of the misguided fear that tomorrow will be exactly like today.

In other words, we begin building permanent walls around our impermanent struggles, in the hopes these barriers will protect us against tomorrow’s challenges.

The problem?

Our problems are always changing. We can’t contain them. And often, in trying to do so, we end up containing ourselves. Fear holds our faith hostage. Worry saps us of our emotional strength. The intricate mazes we build to protect ourselves also serve to close us off to the very opportunity, grace, love and generosity we seek.

Because the truth is, challenges come not in steady storms, but in waves. They swirl and build and crash in unpredictable rhythm. They suck us in, knock us down and drag us, kicking and thrashing, along the jagged ocean floor. They hold us in their grip just long enough to make us panic and then, they do the unthinkable: They disappear without a trace, releasing us back to the still waters from which we came.

So today, friends, no matter what wave may have us in its grip, let’s resist the urge to close out of fear. Let’s remember that nothing about who we are and certainly nothing that’s happened to us has ever had the power to sustain itself indefinitely. This wave will pass. And once it has finished its work in us, no doubt it will lead us gently back to shore (as every wave before it always has), so that we may look out over the calm water before us and see, for the first time, just how far we’ve come.