Life on Cloud Nine is grand. But, we all know that it is a temporary residence on Paradise Island or Easy Street. Sooner or later, disaster strikes and our path becomes far more arduous.
The list of scenarios that create stress and discord in our lives is a long one. No doubt, you have your own list of discouraging events, mishaps, and failures. I certainly have mine. But, there’s one danger I have found far outweighs others and causes us to defeat ourselves far more than our adverse circumstances: our feelings.
When you get the bad news from the doctor, or the demotion at work, or the rift in a meaningful relationship, it can truly be devastating. The initial shock or trauma can many times lead to a tailspin if we don’t have the tools to deal with the situation in a way that guides us toward healing.
There are things you can do to help avoid becoming defeated even when you feel defeated. Here are four that can truly help you to claim victory in trying times.
Run to Jesus, not away from him.
When we are in pain, Jesus will comfort us and carry us day by day. One of the most difficult mental obstacles we have is the question, “How am I going to get through this?” We look at our situation, and it seems dire – and it FEELS awful. In these times we MUST give it over to the Lord to handle, and not shoulder the load ourselves. We feel so powerless because we ARE powerless! Jesus will fill in the blanks that we want answers to, but in his time, not ours. Lean in and trust the One who holds the whole world – and you personally – in His hands.
Recall past victories.
We love a good pity party. Well, not really. But, we do have an innate ability to really dwell on the negative things, especially when we’re in the thick of a tough situation. “Woe is me” is our state of mind, which makes it really challenging to recall times in our lives when God has come through with something amazing that has blessed us. But, chances are that God has brought you through rough patches before. He’s made ends meet. He’s brought along the right answer, the right person, the timely blessing in your past. He’ll do it again.
Talk about it.
There are simply times in our lives when we want to disappear into a cocoon of our own misery and never face the world again. But isolating ourselves only does more harm. We can convince ourselves of just about anything when our only audience is us! When we’ve gone through a brutally tough experience, this is not healthy. In really treacherous waters, you probably don’t want to commiserate with a good friend or co-worker. Your best bet is to speak with a pastor or professional counselor who will give you encouragement and listen, and will have your very best in mind.
Soothe your wounds with God’s Word.
You’ll never know how comforting Scripture can be until you see it through the lens of pain and heartache. David’s Psalms come to life, as do the Apostle Paul’s encouraging letters to the men and women who shaped the early Church throughout the New Testament. If you are not sure what to read or where to start, look for a daily devotional that combines Scripture with a short commentary each day. You and I both need to be reminded daily that God loves us, hears us, and knows best. When we read it enough, and spend enough time with Him, we begin to trust Him more with every part of our lives – especially in handling the tough stuff!