I have had lots of life’s challenges and annoyances these past two weeks that have caused me to be discouraged and overwhelmed. From bulldozers clearing the lot next door to my home and disconnecting my internet several times (I work from home on the internet) to finding out we have to replace our air conditioning unit. I have been unable to keep the windows open for very long due to the annoying noise of the plows and bulldozers.
Then, earlier in the week, my right hip hurt so bad that I could hardly walk and get up and down from a seated position. Due to the outrageous health insurance deductible we have, I have been reluctant to schedule a medical appointment – need to get through the cost of replacing our A/C first!
And other annoyances and burdens – family things, midlife challenges, job situations, worry, fear of the future and being overburdened by bills, personal things that would probably be inappropriate to disclose here. But you know the drill, I suspect many of you – or most of you – have these challenges or similar ones. This is all part of life whether we like it or not.
When we have lots and lots of things go wrong, or difficult challenges all at once, it seems sometimes that life gets the best of us. We want to quit; we want to give up. Lately, I have been tempted to pull the covers up over my head, stay in my bed and just sleep for three days straight. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that’s not true life.
We all have those moments, days, and weeks where we just don’t think we can do another thing, let alone go on with our lives. We just want to give up, and we think that life is just too hard. The discouragement and fear of the future and other overwhelming thoughts can often overcome us; and cause us to not think clearly.
But there is something to be said for “the best way to start moving forward is to start moving.” I want to encourage you (and me) to stay strong and press on …even when we don’t feel like it.
A couple of Bible verses that have helped me during these discouraging hours:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) NIV
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) NIV
Believe me, I call to mind the above scriptures because I need this encouragement and help from the Lord, maybe even more than you do, or at least as much as you do! When I see these scriptures, and many similar ones, I am reminded how good God is to each of us!
Some tidbits that have helped me during life’s dark and cloudy days:
- Write up a list of 10 things you are thankful for this week and recite that list every morning. Count your blessings! Even if it is hard, there is always, always something to be thankful for. (Sometimes I have to start by reminding myself it could always be much worse.)
- Meet a close friend for lunch, engage in an outing, or call a friend that can make you laugh and refuse to hang up until she tells you a funny story!
- Say “NO” to negativity! Stay away from the “negative Nellies” and “Debbie downers”. We need to surround ourselves with upbeat encouraging people. (And my apologies to the “Debbies” out there – I guess it could have been “sarcastic Sallies”, “snappy Susies” or “pouty Patties”…)
- Do something nice for someone else. It helps us to focus on someone else instead of get stuck in our own little pity party. This is also one of those BOGOS… you know – buy one – get one free type of deals. You give someone else a lift and you also give yourself a boost!
- Give your brain some air. Get some fresh air or go out somewhere – even if it’s just sitting outside for a bit. Many times, fresh air equals a fresh perspective!
- Don’t look at the whole mountain of challenges all at once. It’s often just too overwhelming. Break down the challenges and work on one small piece of the challenge at a time. And of course – pray over the situation.
Some days, it seems as if life wants to swallow us whole. But we have a Rock we can stand on. Realize that God is with us, and tomorrow is a new day. There is something pretty amazing that each time the sun rises in the morning to greet us, we have another chance to change our perspective and accept a fresh start.