Sometimes, you just have those weeks where you don’t even wish you could hit “rewind” and do it over again but instead wish you could “select all” and “delete.”
In the last few weeks, my family has experienced great loss and those closest to me have witnessed firsthand the tragic end of life and gain of heaven. Disheartening news of sickness seems to be lurking all around. Even a glimpse of the latest headlines is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed with a sense of dread. It’s upsetting, depressing, and just plain sad.
Everyone responds differently to these emotions—some run to tragedy and drama, some run from it. Some get sad, some get angry. Some run to food, some run to drugs. Some ignore it completely while others find themselves unable to think of anything else.
Historically, that “pit of your stomach pain” would make me run in the opposite direction, resorting to humor, hoping to avoid it all together. Fortunately, I’ve now realized the benefits of that method are short-term—and it’s my best interest and in the best interest of those around me if I just go ahead and embrace whatever it is I’m dealing with.
Whenever you’re dealing with a terrible week (or day, or year, any amount of time), here are a few things to remind yourself to do:
1. Step Back
Emotions run high when trauma comes, and whether you’re on the top or bottom of the spectrum, trying to do much of anything in that state is pretty pointless.
Unfortunately, I have been the poster child for emotional decision-making, and let me assure you, it’s a bad idea. Sometimes, all we need is to take a break. Maybe it’s taking some time and going on a walk, hitting up the mall or vegging out in front of Netflix for a few hours. While this numbing behavior is not a long-term solution, it can bring you back down to an equilibrium where you can think and act rationally and not get too overwhelmed.
2. Pray. If You Can’t Pray, Worship.
When I’m overwhelmed, I know in theory that I need to spend time with Jesus, but sometimes, the thought is just exhausting. I don’t want to have to cry any more or process anything—I just want to be. Unfortunately, I so often forget that that is exactly how Jesus wants me to come to Him: raw, messy and as un-put-together as I might feel. I don’t have to go through some grooming process in order to meet with Him.
When we go to God, we are to be with Him. That’s it. Prayer is great, reading the Word is great, but it’s Him I am after, and it is His presence that brings me peace in the midst of pain.
Sometimes I just don’t have words to express what my heart is feeling. The only thing I know to do is get in the presence of God and worship. When I know nothing, I know He is worthy of my praise, and sometimes, that’s all I can bring myself to give. And thankfully, that’s often all that is needed to begin to break the chains of whatever it is that is weighing me down. His presence comes and slowly, the lies become whispers and the promises of God begin to radiate in my heart—through no work of my own but through the pure goodness and grace of Jesus.
3. Get to the Root.
I’ve been around a lot of believers who say that when we feel pain or sadness or even fear, we should immediately reject that feeling, acknowledging its lack of power in our lives. While I understand and agree to some degree, I don’t think that method alone assures freedom.
But while the practice of acknowledging ungodly and godly beliefs is a great key for living in freedom, there’s got to be more. If we don’t stop to find the reason for those thoughts, they will simply resurface as something else. Every fear and anxiety and lie from the enemy reveals a deeper heart issue.
When I have moments of fear that I will die young and leave behind my daughter and husband to fend for themselves, it’s way more than just a thought—there’s something in my heart that hasn’t fully acknowledged the ability and desires of the Father to sufficiently care for me. Moments of insecurity and jealousy aren’t just about insecurity and jealousy—they’re about me not understanding that the Father’s love for me is all that matters. And my most regular issue as someone dealing with disease—thinking that maybe, just maybe, I haven’t done enough to earn my healing—is not about healing at all. It’s about Jesus and the revelation that all He was and all He is is completely enough for anything that I have ever faced or will ever face again.
Unfortunately, being a Christian doesn’t make us immune from pain. In fact, knowing Jesus and what He desires for the us in this world only seems to make the dark darker. However, we must rest in the hope of eternal life with Jesus and remain steadfast in the pursuit of who He is. He is always good, always faithful, and always, always, always ready to meet us exactly where we are. And with the week my family has had, that’s the best news I’ve heard all week!