Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Will Not Be Broken - 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis

Bad things DO happen to good people. And to bad people. And to everyone.

That is the premise of a book I was asked to review - Jerry White's I Will Not Be Broken - 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. There are plenty of books out there that talk about why bad things happen. This one doesn't. It takes it as a given that everyone experiences a crisis in their own life or in the life of a loved one at some point, whether it is a horrific accident like the land mine that took Jerry's leg, or the loss of a loved one, or a serious illness, or the loss of a job, or the breakup of a marriage, or any one of a thousand other tragedies and crises that turn our lives into chaos in a single moment. Instead of dwelling on the why, Jerry provides a blueprint for the how - how to survive your moment and come out of it even stronger.

This survivor's blueprint has grown out of common experiences Jerry has seen over and over again in his work with survivors around the world through Survivor Corps, an organization that helps victims of war and terror to take their lives back. It is based on five simple and concrete steps for a person to follow to find their way from victimhood to survival, and then move past mere survival to a vibrant and thriving life. I'll let Jerry explain them in his own words:
1. FACE FACTS. One must first accept the harsh reality about suffering and loss, however brutal. "This terrible thing has happened. It can't be changed. I can't rewind the clock. My family still needs me. So now what?"
2. CHOOSE LIFE. That is, "I want to say yes to the future. I want my life to go on in a positive way." Seizing life, not surrendering to death or stagnation, requires letting go of resentments and looking forward, not back. It can be a daily decision.
3. REACH OUT. One must find peers, friends, and family to break the isolation and loneliness that come in the aftermath of crisis. Seek empathy, not pity, from people who have been through something similar. Let the people in your life into your life. "It's up to me to reach for someone's hand."
4. GET MOVING. Sitting back gets you nowhere. One must get out of bed and out of the house to generate momentum. We have to take responsibility for our actions. "How do I want to live the rest of my life? What steps can I take today?"
5. GIVE BACK. Thriving, not just surviving, requires the capacity to give again, through service and acts of kindness. "How can I be an asset to those around me, and not a drain? Will I ever feel grateful again?" Yes, and by sharing your experiences and talents, you will inspire others to do the same.

The book is full of survivors' stories. The effect of these shared stories is twofold - they show the remarkable strength and resilience of the human spirit, and at the same time they make your own crisis seem more manageable ("if they can overcome such incredible obstactles, than surely I can overcome this"). There is even a chapter which talks about how to support someone else in their struggle, how to build them up and encourage them to thrive, and equally importantly what not to do.

Here, come see for yourself. You can download several chapters of I Will Not Be Broken (for free) here. Their easy to read style, clear plan of action, and inspiring stories will definitely touch your heart and leave you wanting to learn more.

The steps laid out in I Will Not Be Broken worked for Jerry and thousands of others. They can work for you too.


SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed this book very much. I especially appreciated White's "get up and move on" attitude. It's refreshing and encouraging. I like the way he employs the testimony of folks who have been through some pretty tough stuff but never suggests some problems are bigger than others. There's no guilt here. Just good, practical insight and advice.

God bless.

Robin said...

Yes, I completely agre. I really appreciated it's lack of preachiness or indulgence. Just a very down to earth let's get to it attitude.

sunnymum said...

Sounds like a solid resource. Thank you!

Tami@ourhouse said...

Robin- your post subject really caught my eye (who hasn't experienced deep suffering at some time or another?), and when I got here, your beautiful kitchen drew me in. Wow- I love it! And then the boob button caught my eye as well! :)

Thanks for the info about this book. I have a book about suffering that I love, it's called The Hidden Smile of God by John Piper. It deeply affected me when I was going through a difficult time.

Unknown said...

I'll have to look into this. I love that it moves past the "Why did this happen?" phase and unfolds a plan of action. I know that in a crisis it's so easy to "Why me?" myself to the point where I'm frozen by it.

kay said...

Robin--I have not read this book, but Rabbi Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good people has helped shape my theology. I remember a friend telling me that working through a bad time was the hardest work she ever did.

Becky said...

It's funny how God lines things up sometimes. I had just written an entry today on my blog about my experience after having a hard day today and then here I find your WFMW post at Rocks in My Dryer. I agree whole heartedly with Jerry's steps. Step 2 was very important to me and my husband, move on and live again. Don't let this kill your entire future. I will definitely pass the information along! Thanks for the great info!

Trish said...

Wow, this sounds like a great one. I know in the autism organization I am in where we mostly deal with parents who have just received a diagnosis of autism for their child, we often tell them we know how they feel and it's okay to feel that way, but that they need to start doing something to help their child and not just get stuck in the initial feeling of being overwhelmed.

Genny said...

This sounds good!