Living with Open Arms

In times of uncertainty, don’t shut down, reach out to others.

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Posted in , Jul 28, 2015

living with open arms invites people in who can help and support you in times of need

Military families can suffer from something I call bunker living. Especially during extremely stressful times like deployment, instead of being open, we tend to pull in, cover up and shut down. It’s a way to self-protect, to feel strong and brave like the soldiers we love and to gain even a small sense of control in situations which we can’t possibly have control. Maybe we also fear people outside of the military community won’t understand what we’re going through or will say the wrong thing.

As a result of these anxieties, we can push away the people we need for support. You may also struggle with this and not even be aware of the affect it’s having on you and your family. Instead of gaining control or feeling brave, isolation can just make you and your family feel even more alone and hopeless.

These thoughts signal that you might be suffering from bunker living:

  •  “I can handle this.”
  • “I don’t need help.”
  • “I know what’s best.”

On the surface, self-sufficiency is an admirable trait. But there are times when we all need someone to come along side and help carry the burdens of life. Wisdom comes in recognizing those times.

Open-window living, on the other hand, is marked by an attitude of acceptance. Once we accept that none of us is an island, we can recognize all of the people around who want to help us. It’s important, for our well-being that we ask for and accept help during difficult times. When we own up to our limitations, we aren’t admitting weakness, but signaling our strength.

These thoughts signal an open heart:

  • “I need help to do this better.”
  • “I can’t handle this alone.”
  • “I need someone else’s perspective.”

Thriving during difficult times is so often dependent on attitude. When we come out of the bunker and throw open the windows and our arms to embrace the community God has sent to us, we’ll find many who are just waiting for the opportunity to help. 

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