when the shell grows so thick

In the face of difficulty, esp. one that lasts a while, we create a shell around us. As much as vulnerability is wonderful, control, for many of us, reigns.

Today I will speak to those of us who lean towards overcontrol to make it through. I remember when I had my twins, it was survival mode. I had to forget my emotions and needs. Life needed me to be tough and patient.

Over time, though, our shelled souls become trapped. And holding back becomes natural and automatic. So much so that we no longer recognize ourselves. We no longer find joy in the little things. We no longer know what we want. We no longer know about spirituality and depth in worship. And worst, we can't open up our hearts to Allah.

Living in hardship takes away our essence. Our very own being. And how are we to worship and maintain a connection with Allah when we can't reconnect with ourselves?

There are many ways to find yourself back. One is open, honest conversations with people who know you and are able to listen with understanding.

Another way I know and have used to crack my 'survival mode' shell is through journaling. Writing with no expectation of the outcome. Just getting thoughts out.

Both of these methods work because they make you sit down and dig inside. The very thing you absolutely avoid to survive in the face of hardships. But digging inside is what brings you closer to your true self, to liveliness, and most importantly to Allah.

So if you've been stuck inside your shell after the hardships have past, this is what I recommend: To find your way out, you have to walk in the darkness inside. You need to let go. Let go of the control. Let go of the fear. Let go of feeling pity. Let go of your expectations. And as you are walking in the darkness inside, know Allah is there every step of the way. 

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