When everything in life seems to be going wrong.
When as soon as you finish one trial, another one starts.
When even good things in your life fill you with fear because of past events.
How do you proceed?
It’s okay to be real.
In this world of picture perfect Instagram accounts.
Or those over sharers who make you feel as if you should have nothing to complain about.
There is a real you. You don’t have to share it with everyone. You don’t have to shout your troubles from a rooftop. You do need to share with someone.
“I was terrified that if I let my struggles and true emotions show, God would be disappointed in me. Fear held me back and held up the corners of my smile, like strings on a puppet.” – Holley Gerth via You’re Loved No Matter What
Something’s got to give.
For most of my life, I put on the external facade. I was like a puppet on a string. I was strong and didn’t show my emotions because I thought I shouldn’t. I was a junior in college and under a ton of pressure with my upcoming marriage and finals, my step-father Bud warned, “Something has to give. It might be you.”
I didn’t fully understand it at the time. And years later when my doctor told me that stress was a factor in worsening physical symptoms, it was another warning. When we internalize all of our worries, our thoughts, our fears (and those of others if we have a burden bearing personality) without any release, it will come one way or another.
For some of us, our stresses come out in anger. Others it’s tears. Some bury themselves in work so they don’t have to be alone with their thoughts. Many turn to entertainment, Some of us have physical symptoms – migraines, joint pain, digestive problems or fill in the blank. Others turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. One way or another, something’s got to give. Don’t let it be you.
What’s the solution?
When my kids were little, I helped them all memorize Psalm 100. It is such a beautiful word picture.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 100
You may be wondering why I am bringing up thanksgiving and praise when we were talking about disappointments, fears, trials, burden bearing, and stresses.
If you want to enter into God’s presence, complaining and negative words won’t do.
You can’t be grateful and negative at the same time.
Thanksgiving is the key to entering God’s yard.
Praise opens the inner courts into God’s presence.
Search for Truth.
Find scriptures that apply to what you are going through. Write them down. Study them.
Journal your thoughts and prayers so you can move from emotional to logical thinking.
God does not waste pain or suffering.
This is both my favorite point and least favorite. Is that possible? When the cup of suffering comes my way, I’d like to say “pass.” But, that’s not realistic. We all have pain and suffering. Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune to suffering. It’s what we do with our suffering that should be different.
Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
God comforts us so we in turn comfort others. We are like a toddler who rocks a baby doll because she was rocked when she got a boo-boo.
When trials come our way, we are told to rejoice (James 1). We may not be able to rejoice and be grateful for the distress, pain, or suffering. We can rejoice in the midst of the suffering. We can enter the gates of God’s house with thanksgiving. We can enter His inner courts with praise. Praise His attributes. He never changes. While everything in our lives constantly changes, He is constant.