I used to think the advice “keep your chin up” was a bad idea. You’ll fall down because you can’t see where you’re going! Or you get punched in the chin, or worse. Your neck is exposed when your chin is up. That’s a very vulnerable part of your body.
Then I heard from a She Blossoms reader who told me one of my favorite stories of all time (which I share in When You Are Rejected – Blossom Tip 43). I told her to “keep her chin up, because that forces you to look at God.” Where that came from I don’t know, but I love it! Must’ve been the Holy Spirit. He’s the origin of the best thoughts.
I don’t know where the phrase “keep your chin up” comes from, I bet it’s a cool story. The dictionary definition is to “remain cheerful in difficult circumstances.” That is a tall order, isn’t it? Especially if you’re coping with a terrible disease, death, divorce, or depression.
You can’t just force yourself to remain cheerful in all circumstances. Not unless you’re superhuman, or inauthentic, or unable to face the truth. Life gets really hard and sad sometimes.
Life gets really good sometimes, too. More often than it gets bad! The bad times just seem worse and longer – and the deceiver likes to keep reminding us of the pain and problems. Jerk.
How I keep my chin up
Today I got two messages about foster care: one on Facebook and one via email. I was a foster kid growing up, and it was hard. All three of my foster homes were really good but no matter how sick or abusive your mom is, you just want to go home. Kids want to be with their parents, because there really is no place like home. Even when home is bad.
I kept my chin up by retreating into books. I remember learning how to read, and I spent my recesses and lunch hours in my kindergarten classroom’s jungle gym. I huddled in the corner and read everything I could haul up to that play place.
Back then I didn’t know that keeping my chin up meant doing things that helped me take care of myself. I wasn’t exactly cheerful, but I found ways to give myself what I needed. This got me through the worst of my childhood, which is all I needed to do at that time.
Today, self-care isn’t just a healthy way to keep my chin up, it’s how I stay joyful! This means sleeping the night through instead of worrying, getting heart-pumping exercise and even sweating every day, eating foods that fill me with energy and life.
Keeping my chin up also means looking at God all the time, even when I’m driving. When I feel scared, sad, and anxious I take a deep breath and ask focus my thoughts on Jesus. I check in with my heart, and I invite Ruach in (Ruach is a Hebrew word for wind or spirit, I call the Holy Spirit Ruach because it gives us a more personal relationship).
How do you keep your chin up?
If you’ve never experienced anything tough, then you don’t know how to keep your chin up. I suspect, however, that you have experienced a difficult time. You might even be going through the worst time in your life right now.
I won’t tell you how to keep your chin up, because I don’t know what works for you. But I will encourage you to look at Jesus. That’s all. Take a deep breath, open your heart, and let God in. He won’t punch you in the chin…and if you trip and fall, He’ll pick you up.
How are you keeping your chin up? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips.
By the way, I drew Blossy in all her purple splendor on Lesson 23 in a book by Regina Brett called God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours. Love that book! And not just because Blossy’s now alive in it.
Laurie & Blossy
P.S. My first book, Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back, is available for preorder, can you believe it? I can’t. It won’t be in bookstores until December – and in fact I’m proofing the final copy today – but it’s already on Amazon. Who woulda thunk?
On She Blossoms This Week
Making a Career Change at 40? 10 Things You Need to Know – These cautions and tips for changing your job when you’re over forty will help you decide what step to take first. Making a career-changing decision at 40 is easier with these practical, inspirational Blossom Tips.
How to Stop Attracting Emotionally Unavailable Men – You want to be in a good relationship with the right man, yet you keep attracting men who aren’t available. Maybe you even feel like you’re dating the same man over and over! Different name, same problems. Perhaps he’s emotionally unavailable, financially bankrupt, or even married to another woman.
“Why do I keep attracting men who aren’t available?” asked Regina Brett in God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours. “The universe answered, ‘Because you are afraid of men who are available.’”
How Eve Grieved the Loss of Her Two Sons – After leaving the Garden of Eden, Eve lost her boys, Cain and Abel. Since she was the first woman God created, she had no sisters, aunts, friends or even a mother to help her through the grieving process. Eve had Adam, but she didn’t have a woman to lean on after her sons died.