Situational strength – short spurts

By Dave Henning / June 5, 2023

“In temporary, short spurts, situational strength is extremely helpful, necessary, and even protective.  And when the crisis has passed — and our body registers that it is over — we are designed to integrate the memory into the bigger story of our experiences and sense of self.  We are then able to learn from, reflect on, or even build on what we’ve lived through.”- Aundi Kolber

As Aundi Kolber moves on in Chapter 1 of Strong Like Water, she discusses the first strength in her fluid flow of strength concept.

1.  Situational strength.  When we operate from situational strength, our bodies move into a stress and/or trauma response that enables us to navigate or neutralize the difficulty.  Certainly, Aundi observes, at times we face a real danger.  But we also lean into parts of this strength in our everyday life.  Like dealing with a sticky workplace issue.

However, sometimes a danger that’s still present or a deep trauma keeps us living out of this strength too long.  Consequently, our experiences remain fragmented in our bodies and psyche.  Thus, we see everything and interact with the world through the lens of survival mode.  Furthermore, in survival mode, we you live with a constant state of fear and feel chronically unsafe.  As a result, that urgency causes you to (a) bypass or (b) consciously ignore good things (past and present) that happen in your life.

Therefore, Aundi exhorts:

“Each small step of healing matters. . . .  But without addressing the trauma, interwoven with [your] strength . . . the parts of [yourself] that showed tremendous fortitude and allowed [you] to survive hardship remain unavailable. . . .

Our strong-like-water works is to learn how to validate the reality that situational strength has its place but also allow ourselves to move toward something more expansive: a truer version of what God intended for us.”

In conclusion, Aundi underscores, it matters that we have the safety, support, or resources to experience needed completeness.  It matters to God, to us, and to how we show up in the world.

Today’s question: When do you rely on this strength in your life for short spurts?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Resilience is in the repair”

About the author

Dave Henning

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