If you’ve ever experienced pain that cut so deeply and despair that lingered so persistently that you didn’t know if you could get past it, perhaps you know what “The Last Straw” feels like. There are situations in your life that you can’t seem to shop away, sleep away, sex away, work away, drink away or even, dare I say, pray away. These tough circumstances and the feelings that accompany them are often avoided by us at all cost. We run from the feeling and sometimes the problem itself. But running and avoidance can only sustain us for so long. At some point, we must look within ourselves and decide if we are going to run away from the problem or run to it, so we can eventually move through it to the other side.
I have experienced stressors in my life that I was running from, and I had to decide to draw the line and say, “This is the last straw. Instead of running from this, there’s only one way to overcome it, and that is to move through it.” This has sometimes looked like setting a boundary, having a hard conversation, saying no to overcommitting in my schedule, or even choosing to silence my own inner critic. But moving through hard things also required me to turn down the “noise” in my life. At times I have felt that if I could fill my life with enough friends, schedule commitments, and to-do lists, I could avoid the silence and what I may hear in the absence of noise.
Finally I found the courage to stop running. In fact, instead of running from the silence, I embraced it, and in it I found myself. And I found God.
In the silence, I found comfort. I found truth.
I let myself deal, so I could heal, experiencing tough emotions that were longing to come to the surface so they could be released.
In the silence, God reminded me that what looks like an ending is really a new beginning and that His plans and thoughts are higher than my own for my life. In the silence, I learned to trust that the very God of the Universe had the highest good in mind for me through every circumstance in my life. In the silence, I found my own inner peace and strength. The peace and strength I tried to manufacture in friendships and goals and accomplishing? It was there within me all along.
So the next time I feel like I’ve reached the last straw, instead of running away, I’m leaning in. I’m becoming curious about what I need to know, what I need to learn, and where I need to grow.
The last straw doesn’t mean it’s here to break us—we can learn to bend and not break. We can become more resilient, more compassionate, more patient. Just when we think we’ve reached our last ounce of strength, God is there on the other side, waiting to extend His strength for our weakness.
Michigan born, Texan at heart, global citizen, Bella J. Rockman enjoys delving into the deep waters of conversations that invite authenticity, healing, and connection. Lover of yoga, nature, libraries, and studying abroad, she embraces each day and new person she meets with wonderment and curiosity. Her passion for facilitating conversations that help humanity heal is expanded through her work as a journalist, media correspondent, neurophychotherapist (LPC), and public policy advocate. While out in nature, she often remembers lessons learned growing up from her Nigerian-Native-Irish American grandmother who would tell her, “Put your feet in the earth’s soil; feel God’s creation. Look to the plants to nourish and find healing for yourself through God’s creation. Quiet your anxious heart, listen to the sound of the wind—hear God’s creation. You are one with Creation; you are one with GOD.”