Patience in the Pit #1

Patience is not my forte by a long shot.

When my son Tucker was around two years old, he would ask for apple juice all the time, which is not surprising for a little guy his age. The funny part about the way he asked was that he’d repeat himself over and over, literally ten times in a row. He would even keep asking while I was pouring the juice for him! It would go something like this, “Mom, mom, mom, can I have juice? Mom, mom, juice. Can I have juice? Mom, mom can I have apple juice? Mom, mom, mom, juice.” This happened several times a day and reminds me of myself! I have about the same amount of patience as Tucker did, except I’m not two. I promise I’m working on it, but I’m not close to being where I need to be.

I can be impatient in a lot of areas, especially when I’m facing difficulty. I often refer to difficult times and situations as ‘the pits’. Today I want to open up about being ‘patient in the pits’. What are the pits? The pits is the feeling you have when you can’t get yourself out of a bad situation, or feel trapped and alone. There are hundreds of ways we fall into feeling like we are in the pits. It could be depression, P.M.S., relationship issues or even cancer. When you are in the pits, it’s as if you suffer there alone because you can’t get yourself out. I hate the pits!

I don’t always share Bible verses with you, but today I’m going to because this particular verse really helps me and I hope it helps you too.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV  

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock  and gave me a firm place to stand.”

These verses tell me that I can wait patiently for the Lord, knowing He will hear my cry. The hardest part for me is the patience.  Why should I have to be patient when I’m facing a hard time? The thing is – I have a choice to make. I can be patient, knowing God will come through for me, or I can be miserable and mad because I haven’t seen Him do it yet. Being patient in the middle of a storm is hard!

Getting pulled out of the pits looks different for every person. I think it’s important to remember that the primary way God sends help our way is through people. Have you ever been in the pit of depression and had a friend just listen and support you? I believe this is one way God pulls us out of the pits, He uses people to do it. When you feel like you are drowning, sometimes all it takes is an encouraging word or a hug from a friend to help you feel like you aren’t stuck in your pit. Other times, it’s a more significant like an answer to prayer or drastic change in your situation that makes you feel like you have come out of it. For me personally, God uses people, family, and friends, to reach down and help me out of the pits. He leads and guides them to reach out and help me.

Having the patience to wait on God’s answer is no joke! But, if we can learn to trust Him in that place, we can have peace until we experience the moment we’re out of the pits and are on solid ground!

Check out my video –  Patience in the Pit #1. Next time I’ll talk about learning how to trust God while you are in the pits and how He will pull you out and get you on solid ground!

Sunday Burquest

Dealing with Disappointment Part #2

In my last blog post, Dealing with Disappointment Part #1, I talked about a major disappointment I’ve been dealing with over the past few months. As difficult as it is to share, I hope being vulnerable with my situation helps you realize you aren’t alone with your feelings of disappointment. I know for me, just knowing I’m not alone, makes a world of difference.  By definition, disappointment is the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the non fulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. Looking at WHY we feel disappointed may give us an idea on HOW to move past it.

This is me getting voted out of Survivor – talk about disappointed!

Four Reasons We Face Disappointment

#1 FAILURE. I am disappointed when I fail, I’m sure you are too. Most of us are our own worst critics and failure often causes an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. The truth is, failure is a part of life and it gives us the opportunity to grow. Winston Churchill said, ” Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

  • In order to move past the disappointment of failure, choose to focus on what you learned from the situation and have the courage to move on.

#2 PERFECTION. Expecting perfection is dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, we put undue pressure on yourselves to meet unrealistic expectations. Second, it puts pressure on our relationships for the same reason.  When things don’t fit the picture of perfection that we’ve created in our minds, we are disappointed.

  • The best way to avoid feeling disappointed with expectations of perfection is to realize perfections doesn’t exist! There is beauty in our mistakes, our blunders and our un-made beds.  Shifting our focus to what we’re doing right, will keep disappointment from creeping into our hearts.

#3 RELATIONSHIPS. I have felt disappointed in past relationships because I was expecting them to fulfill me. No person can truly fill your inner-most needs for happiness, peace or confidence. People are not equipped to provide what only God can give.  We also are disappointed when family or friends let us down, whether it be a betrayal, lack of interest or a mistake. Expecting another person to be perfect, to never let us down or never hurt us, sets us up for disappointment. People aren’t’ perfect and that includes ourselves.

  • Learn to depend on God to fulfill you. When you depend on Him, instead of being disappointed in what your relationships can not provide, you can be satisfied with what He has and will continue to give you on the inside. When you have confidence, peace and happiness from the Lord, the mistakes others make in your relationships do not need to leave you in the dumps.

#4 UNANSWERED PRAYER. Perhaps the most dangerous form of disappointment is when we feel disappointed with God – GASP, I said it! Having these feelings can make us feel guilty, but they are totally normal. I believe that we have to realize the problem isn’t that God isn’t answering our prayers, it’s that in our limited knowledge, we often don’t SEE how He is working on our behalf. There have been times I  haven’t understood what is happening in my life, but I do know that God is good -even when i don’t get it.

  • The best way to avoid feeling disappointed with God, is to trust Him. When you learn to trust him as the good God He is, you can turn that disappointment into patience, knowing He will work all things out for your good. (RMS 8:28)

Next time you face disappointment, allow yourself time to deal with your feelings – it’s perfectly normal!  Being able to identify why you feel disappointed will help you deal with the root of the issue and will allow you to move to better place that makes you… Survivor Strong.

Check out my newest videos:

Leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve had to deal with disappointment – its so powerful to see we are not alone!

Sunday Burquest

Dealing with Disappointment Part #1

I write this knowing that in April 2016,  I was on an island in Fiji. Sometimes I can hardly believe I actually did it. Receiving a phone call telling me I was going to participate in Survivor season 33 was probably the best phone call I’d ever received. I was on my way to a Minnesota Wild hockey game with my sister, brother and sister in law when I noticed I’d missed a call. After listening to the voicemail, I could barely hit the buttons on the phone, I was shaking with excitement. Hanging up from getting the good news, I screamed because I didn’t know what else to do – my poor siblings!

This was it,  the call I’d been hoping and praying for. I was getting the chance to follow my dream of being on the reality television show, Survivor. I wanted to pinch myself 1,000 times. It was hard to sleep, think, or plan. I was going to be on the show we’d watched as a family for almost 17 years! Survivor season 33 would air that fall and I was going to be on my TV screen!

Being on the Island and playing the ‘Survivor game’ was the fun part, but I was completely unprepared for the ‘watching myself on TV’ part. We planned a large premier party for the first episode with almost 300 people in attendance, even though there was a massive storm. Friends and family supported me weekly at viewing parties and through social media. Watching the episodes surrounded by my community, friends and family was exciting, until the storyline progressed. It was episode #2 when I realized things were not airing the way I had hoped. My first indication was the fact that not one of the conversations revolving around my breast cancer made the air, even though we won an immunity challenge on the anniversary date of my diagnosis! A ‘secret scene’ was released online the next day, which was great, however, I honestly expected to see a confessional or at least a snippet of the conversation with my tribemates on the air during the episode.

As the season progressed, there was less and less of me in the episodes. At the viewing parties I laughed it off,  smiled and acted as though it was all fine, but it wasn’t fine I wasn’t fine! I was confused, but most of all I was disappointed.To be honest, dealing with these negative feelings is what prompted me to write this post (be watching for a video and second blog post), realizing so many of us face this feeling on a regular basis. I was disappointed in the tv edits, but more importantly, I was disappointed in myself. Leaving the island after playing the game, I was on a high, thrilled with my time on Survivor.  Although I didn’t win, I was extremely proud of myself and how I’d played the game. Unfortunately, the memories I left Fiji with did not get aired on tv. I want to be extremely clear, this post is not about tv editing or production. The editors are talented professionals who are telling a story and they’re good at it. This post is about ME and MY feelings of crushing disappointment.  My thoughts were so consumed with how little I was in the episodes, I hardly noticed the parts where I was in them. All I could think about was the disappointment of feeling like my dreams were being crushed in every episode. The feeling of disappointment was overwhelming. Disappointment can take many forms, you can be disappointed in yourself, in others, or in situations; either way, it’s not a fun feeling. Because I was blinded by the disappointment, it stole the fun out of watching my experience play out on TV.  The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how much or how little I was in the episodes, I allowed this feeling to control my thoughts and emotions. This robbed me of the excitement and love for watching the show that I’d had each season for the past 17 years!

Check out my video Part #1 of Dealing with the “D’ Word –

 

All of us have experienced overwhelming disappointment in different ways and on more than one occasion. Here’s the thing, we are all going to have to deal with disappointment at some point in our lives. The question is, what do we do about it? We can allow it to consume our thoughts, control our actions and dictate our outlook on life or, we can grow as a result of it and learn what to do with the feelings when we have them. The question isn’t if we will be disappointed, it’s when will we be disappointed and how will we deal with it? My goal is to be Survivor Strong in every area of my life and dealing with major disappointment is no different. How do we deal with disappointment? In my next post, we are going to look at some of the reasons we get disappointed and how to move past it.

Leave me a comment below I’d love to hear your stories, are you facing a major disappointment? How are you dealing with it? I believe the more we open up, the more we are able to encourage each other!

 

 

Sunday Burquest

Survivor Strong Part #2

Welcome back! Follow the link If you missed Survivor Strong Part #1 and would like to catch up on The Plunge and The Pull before moving on to this week’s post about The Power.

The plunge is the moment you experience your setback, the situation that yanks your control away from you. I also wrote about ‘the pull’ representing the fight to gain your control back by pulling the rope back to your side. The last step represents the regaining of control, I call it ‘the power’. The power is where you win the tug of war by choosing to control your setback rather than it controlling you.

One of the biggest lessons I learned going through breast cancer and other major setbacks in my life, was finding something positive even in the middle of the most difficult circumstances.Looking back, I could tell you almost as many positive things that came from my bout with cancer as the negatives I dealt with. Honestly, it wasn’t easy to see them at first, but once I decided to look for them I was amazed at the blessings I saw.

The other aspect of my experience I did not anticipate was how much I would learn from going through the process. I definitely learned I was much stronger than I imagined. Often times, It isn’t until we experience difficulty that we discover what we’re made of. I also learned that my community, family, and friends are beyond gracious and willing to do just about anything to help. Lastly, I discovered there are ways to use my setback to help somebody else. This is where I saw my power really come to life.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer was awful. It was confusing, painful, emotionally dark and a very long process. It took me over 2 years before I decided I wanted to stand up and do something about it. However, I learned through the process what it felt like to be a person with cancer. I learned what it felt like to have my world turned completely upside down and lose control of my life. Often times it takes a major setback to teach us to look for and find the positive in each situation. Now that I’m almost at my 5 year anniversary of diagnosis, I have a way to use that negative for positive. I have the opportunity to talk to other women going through breast cancer, I can inspire a variety of groups with this very message you’ve read today. I’m using my breast cancer story to help the next woman who is diagnosed and also to encourage basically anyone facing a setback. My prayer for you is that no matter the stage of your tug of war, you would be encouraged and inspired to never give up. One of my favorite personal quotes from Survivor is this: “I may have lost the battle, but I will not lose the war”. You may have lost round #1 or even #2 in your tug of war, but if you don’t give up, you will eventually win and your setbacks will find themselves face first in the mud. Fighting your own tug of war will happen in 3 basic stages:

  1. The plunge – the moment you experience your setback and are left feeling powerless.
  2. The pull – that time period where you are fighting to regain control and get back up on your feet after you’ve experienced the setback.
  3. The power – the opportunity to take back your power and choose to control your setback by using it to inspire someone else.

When you are able to walk through these steps, after facing a setback, you’ll realize you’re much stronger than you’d imagined and you will move past the negative situation knowing you are…Survivor Strong.

 

If you would like to make sure you never miss a blog post or upcoming event, please fill out the email subscription that popped up when you visited my site today – you will receive a free resource called 6 Steps to Becoming Survivor Strong.

Sunday Burquest

Survivor Strong Part #1

Hi, I’m Sunday Burquest and thank you so much for reading my blog!  Some of you may know me from the CBS TV Show Survivor: Millennials vs Gen-X, but my survivor story began long before being on the TV show. In my blog posts I’ll be sharing my experiences including those of survival and hopefully, sharing my experiences with you will help you in your journey as well. If you’d like to stay connected to my story, simply fill out the email subscription when prompted.  What will you be receiving each month? To the point (a.k.a. short) emails with a quick encouragement, a blog post, special announcements and details on where I’ll be speaking. I’d love to stay connected to you, so I hope you’ll consider signing up to receive it! 

Have you ever attend a summer camp as a kid? If so, did you play tug of war? I grew up going to camp with my friends and we looked forward to the annual tug of war. This didn’t change when I became a youth pastor and helped direct camps. Every summer, one of the highlights of the week was the annual tug of war. Students anxiously awaited their team assignments, hoping to be on a team with the biggest guys at camp.  If you’ve ever played, you know tug of war isn’t pretty,  it’s actually quite brutal. Getting hurt was a huge possibility, but the students didn’t care, they were more concerned about being on a losing team and receiving a free mud bath.

The Plunge 

Like this classic camp game, life can also be brutal. This part of my story starts with what I call – The Plunge.  My tug of war started on April 11, 2012, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I plunged into the mud as the cancer pulled the rope completely to its side, ripping the control right out of my hands – I felt powerless. 

The Pull

I stayed in what I considered ‘the pit’ for over two years, emotionally dealing with the cancer. I struggled with anxiety, depression and an overall lack of desire to participate in life.  The day eventually came when I made the decision that I no longer wanted to be on the losing end of my war and started to pull back the control I’d lost. The pull was my fight, my will, it was me re-engaging in the tug of war – it was an announcement to the world, I’m not giving up! I was going to pull my control back and start living again.

It wasn’t easy! There were many days I was totally fine with not moving forward, making zero attempt to get my life back.  But something drove me to want control back.  That “something” was the Lord. He was leading and directing me, nudging and whispering to me, “You can do this.  You can be strong. You can be Survivor Strong.”

I want you to know, there was nothing special about me that gave me the will to fight, it was simply my faith that gave me the strength to fight.  I want you to picture your own tug of war. What is on the other end of your rope? What was your ‘plunge’? What is your ‘pull’?  You already posses the strength necessary to get your control back and feel ‘The Power’.

Come back April 16th for Part #2 of Survivor Strong as we talk about ‘The Power’.  

Lastly, please check out my latest YouTube Video, Tug of War Part #1  and  subscribe while you are there!

 

 

 

 

Sunday Burquest

Que Sera Sera

During my first official Survivor confessional, I was asked what I think of Millennials — and I’m still somewhat amazed at the words that came out of my mouth:

“I don’t feel like most young people are quite as driven. I feel they are a little more ‘que sera sera’, if it takes me 7 years to finish school who cares? My parents are paying for it!”

I honestly don’t even remember saying this, but it’s on TV so clearly I did. And my thought immediately after hearing it was, every millennial I know is going to hate me — and as a young adults pastor, I know a lot of them!

What I found fascinating after this aired was that none of the millennials I know, including 2 of my own kids, had ever heard the term, que sera, sera. I’ve had to explain on numerous occasions what it means; “whatever will be, will be”. But there’s been so much confusion around the phrase I used, a well-known Survivor comment board had an entire post dedicated to the fact that NO ONE knew what I was talking about!

This expression is just a more relaxed way to view life that has its benefits and drawbacks. For the millennial it means they aren’t stressed about tomorrow, which is great for their physical and mental health. On the other hand, this attitude could result in a lack of planning for the future.

To be fair, I realize my statements were a total stereotype, and for that I apologize to the millennials in my life. However, I do think it’s important to remember this was an answer to a question specifically looking for a stereotypical response. Most of the Gen-X’ers on my team had similar thoughts regarding our younger counterparts. Likewise, the millennials had just as many stereotypical thoughts about the old folks; they think we’re set in our ways, and not open to new ideas.

Whatever age group you fall into, I think it would be so beneficial if we viewed the other in a way that doesn’t focus on our negative attributes, but looks for the positive. I actually tend to spend more time with millennials, and find their out-of-the-box, hold-nothing-back approach to life so refreshing — even if they are still living with me at age 22.

And who really cares who paid for your college, or if you’re old and you like routine in life? Who cares if you switch jobs, or if you visit North Dakota like Taylor Stocker? Really, none of us should care; we all have a lot to learn from each other, and in the end we could probably all agree that life itself is que sera, sera.

admin

A Gold Moment

The 2016 summer Olympics just wrapped up in Rio, and 2 weeks of non-stop coverage along with it. If you’d told me 10 years ago I’d be watching hours upon hours of the competition I’d have laughed, but since my husband and boys are huge sports freaks, I’ve learned to enjoy watching sports, too.  Okay, I won’t say enjoy, but over the years I’ve learned to tolerate and occasionally even like watching the games!

The part I love, and I mean love about watching sports is seeing all types of athletes dreams’ come true — especially when it comes to a gold medal, the Super Bowl or the World Series. There’s something about seeing the joy and at times even tears when hard work pays off and big dreams are realized. Honestly, I usually cry too, which my boys think is totally weird.

For the Olympics this year, Coke coined a new hashtag: #goldmoment. I love it, and I’ll explain why;

Thinking about the words gold moment, I thought about the wins in my own life. On the surface it’s easy to be dismissive and think I don’t have any gold moments. However, I think the definition of a gold moment is more important than the event itself. For example, if you ask me, I’d say simply being invited to compete in the Olympics is a gold moment, or a win; on the other hand, to some athletes the only real win would be coming home with gold. I often times downplay the winning moments in my life, and spend more time focusing on my losses. I’m trying to step back and look at my life from a more positive and grateful perspective. Viewing my life from this viewpoint helps me see all the gold moments and things I should be grateful for.

One of my gold moments came after a yearlong battle with breast cancer. I was diagnosed in April of 2012 and had 6 surgeries, plus chemotherapy and radiation. During this time of fighting off the disease I didn’t feel like a winner in the least, and definitely didn’t feel like the gold medalist of breast cancer. Throughout the process there were many tears, sleepless nights, pain from surgeries, nausea from chemo and emotions that were literally all over the map. One of my goals during this battle was to shield my 4 kids from the effects it was having on me. Obviously they knew it was a difficult process, but I didn’t want them to see ‘breast cancer’ every time they came home from school, I just wanted to be their mom. Keeping up the appearance that I was coping was my gold moment at the time.

Now that I’m 4 years past the diagnosis, I can reflect on my battle and see the wins I hadn’t recognized earlier. I’ll start by pointing out the most significant and obvious win – I’m still here! Along the way there were other gold moments, not so obvious. The amazing thing about personal a gold moment is that they are just that, personal and up for individual interpretation. A gold moment came when I attended my son Carter’s first football game of his senior year; it was right after I finished my 8th and final round of chemotherapy. I didn’t feel great, but wouldn’t miss him on the starting lineup for the world. As the crowd cheered and the teams ran out onto the field, I spotted his number and, like any mom, only focused on him. After the coin toss, the defensive line moved into position, I’m watching him line up and notice something different. Carter had surprised me by sporting new pink cleats and gloves in my honor. Hang on while I wipe away my tears for a moment. Can you say gold moment?

I’m sure if you stop and think about it, you’ll remember the wins or the #goldmoments in your own life. I’ve learned that when I’m in a dark place or overwhelmed with life, if I just take a few moments to reflect on the good things God has already done in my life, it really helps me get my eyes off my current situation. Honestly, every gold moment I’ve ever had, all of them have come straight from above — and I’m so thankful.

If you’re having a bad day, I want to encourage you to think about all the wins you’ve experienced in your life, no matter how small, and make a decision to be grateful for them. 

I’d love to hear about your gold moment — send me a tweet @sundaysurvivor and use the hashtag #goldmoment!

admin

Dream Bubbles

Have you ever noticed that kids have no problem dreaming big? When mine were little they truly believed the sky was the limit, and if you asked each of our three boys what they wanted to be when they grew up, their answers demonstrated this fact.  But can you imagine having an NFL, NBA and MLB player all in one family? If the boys’ dreams came true I think we’d be more famous than the Manning family!  At first my daughter’s response to the same question sounded a bit more realistic; she said she wanted to be a teacher when she grows up. Just as I was thinking about how proud I was of her realistic career choice, she added, “and then I’m going to be cat”!

breast_cancer_survivor_sunday_burquestI tend to be a visual person, and I see pictures in my head as I’m thinking about any given subject. When it comes to dreams, I imagine a big bubble floating over my head. As fear and doubt start to enter my thoughts, there’s a giant pin ready to pop my big dream. Over the years all kinds of things caused leaks in my dream bubble – disappointments in life, failures, and insecurity – and before I knew it, it looked like an old deflated balloon.

At some point we need to make the decision to blow the dream bubble back up for ourselves. The older we get and the more challenges we face, the harder it is to re-inflate our dreams. Facing a life-altering breast cancer diagnosis was just the motivation I needed in my life to blow back up my dream bubble; after having multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation I felt like the worst of my life had to be behind me!

It’s an odd concept to think something so terrible can be the impetus for something great.  On the other side of cancer, I was left feeling like I couldn’t allow any more time to pass before going for my dreams.

If you’ve ever experienced a dark time in your life, you know it can be difficult to see light at the end of the situation. But through God I found peace in the middle of my fight with cancer; He’s the one who gave me the light to see my dreams again! It would be easy to take the credit for this change of state from deflated to inflated, but the truth is it was God who gave me the ability to believe in my dreams again, and He re-inflated my dream bubble.

This change is what gave me the courage to follow one of my biggest dreams ever, to be on SURVIVOR and you’ll see me in the upcoming Season #33 Millennials VS Gen-X

Following your dreams can be downright scary, but the idea of going another 10 or even 5 years without following them is truly terrifying.  I’m going to allow myself to dream again, to let my dream bubble reside over my head and in my thoughts. I hope I can encourage you to do the same!

This is my prayer for you:  that if your dream bubble has been deflated by life, you’d allow Jesus to help you blow it back up and follow your dreams.

What does your dream bubble look like? I’d love to hear about it.  If you’d like to share send me a tweet at @sundaysurvivor and use the hashtag #dreambubble!

admin

A Big Dream

When I was little I had big dreams.  To be totally honest I can’t remember what they were, I just know I had them.  But once I crossed the 16 year-old mark my teenage brain took over, and I started to let those dreams slip into the abyss. I graduated from high school and then Bible College and never really gave my dreams a second thought.

Almost 25 years ago I married my best friend Jeff, and over the next 10 years I had babies — 4 to be exact. If you’re a mom you’ll understand when I say I did loads of laundry, wiped up juice box spills and changed dirty diapers for what felt like an eternity. When you’re a wife, a mom and a pastor these things become your focus, and like most women I put my dreams on the shelf.

For a while I thought I was following my dreams by living my life for my family, and even the ministry. It took a couple of major life shakeups for me to realize I still had dreams to fulfill; in 2011 my husband nearly died and endured emergency open heart surgery, and the following year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thinking about those couple of years, they still seem foggy, like I can’t actually remember how we made it through. These events followed up by my 45th birthday woke me up and reminded me – I still have dreams.

One of those dreams was to compete in the reality television series, SURVIVOR. As a longtime fan of the show from the very first season, I’ve dreamt of being on an island playing this game.  Going through the tough situations I faced the past couple of years gave me the courage to actually pursue this dream!

Like most things we want in life, there’s a period of trial and error before we see the results; getting on the show was no different. After several applications, I was invited to participate in the casting process, and in March of 2016 I heard the news I had dreamed about, “We’d like you to participate in the upcoming season of Survivor”. Music to my little ears! Words cannot explain the excitement that followed that phone call, as the realization sunk in that my dream was about to come true.

I’m happy to share that you will see me on your TV screens this fall when Survivor 33- Millennials VS Gen-X premiers on Sept 21, 2016. You can follow along on Wednesday evenings at 7pm (CST) and watch the adventure! Check out the ‘Meet the Castaways of Survivor: Millennials VS Gen-X’ promo from CBS below:

I’d love to hear about your big dreams! If you want to share, send me at tweet @sundaysurvivor and use the hashtag #bigdreams
SURVIVOR PHOTO –

admin