I know we’ve all been there at one time or another. And the last thing I want right now is for this to be another cliche’ piece on just stepping back and taking a breath. Or remembering “God’s got this”.
I know this. You know this. So what is there beyond that? Does ignoring the overwhelm make it go away? What is there when life moves at the speed of light and there is no slowing down? What if things are painful inside your family life because there are hurting, broken people involved? People who have carried brokenness with them their entire lives because they didn’t know what to do with it other than stuff it? And then your dog dies.
This is my reality right now. Maybe you've been there?
How do you cope when it feels like everything is caving in on you? Here are some things I learned over the last few months.
Here are 3 things you should do:
Talk to a Trusted Friend
I can’t stress enough just how helpful and necessary this is. We were made for community. God created us for fellowship and to carry one another's burdens and sometimes that can be as simple as talking those burdens through with a friend. Maybe they can't solve your problems for you, but they can listen and point you in the right direction. They can offer you encouragement and hope for your situation.
I'll be the first to admit, I struggled talking to people about my problems. I didn't want to be a burden on people with my own burdens. But you know what I found? Those closest to me were happy to listen and eager to help. There was not even a hint that I was a burden--but I had to step out and take that risk before I would know.
Talk to God
Don't underestimate the power of spilling your heart to God. It's in these moments when He offers us peace and clarity when all we feel is muddled and lost. I've found the best way for me to get my thoughts out is to journal. There is no right or wrong way to journal. You just need to be able to release to God whatever it is that is weighing you down. If you're not great with physically writing, open up a document on your computer and type it up.
Write down everything you're feeling with no reservations. No one will see this except you and God (and if you want to delete it or shred it when you're done, that's fine, too!)
Speak Truth Into Your Situation
Sometimes our circumstances can really feel bleak and leave us deflated. Sometimes we hate ourselves for getting into the mess in the first place or believe that everything that lead us to where we are is completely our fault. Chances are that's not entirely true.
While we certainly are responsible for our own actions, there are some situations that can just knock us down and it takes us a while to get back on our feet. That doesn't make us failures or losers or less than.
God is not punishing you. God is not angry with you. God does not have it out for you.
When we find ourselves at the bottom, we can choose to sit there and pout or we can allow God, our trusted friends, and the Truth God speaks to us to help pull us out. We never have to walk these valleys alone. Stay in the Word and learn what He says and believe that over what you tell yourself.
Here are 3 things you shouldn't do:
Wallow in Self-Pity
It's not hard to feel sorry for ourselves or our situations...especially when we have a hard time rising above them. Seems any time we make any headway, something else knocks us to the ground. It can get discouraging after a while! It can seem like we are just not meant to get up so we can catch up, let alone get ahead.
It's so important we distinguish between what the world says about us (based on success, reputation, appearance, etc) and what God says about us. We tend to lean more toward who the world says we are rather than our very Creator. God values us above the world. Who He says we are is all that matters!
Wallowing in self-pity will only add further destruction to your situation. It will only cause you to sink lower and lower into your self and all you think you've failed to accomplish or protect yourself from. There is a danger here of seeing yourself as a victim of your own circumstances...and while that may be true, it's not a place you want to linger for long.
Solutions cannot be found in this place.
Sometimes it's difficult to take responsibility for our own lives, especially when we've been wronged, hurt, or were dealt "a bad hand" in life. Some circumstances really are out of our control. But we can control how we move forward from there (or whether we do). We cannot blame others for not rising above our circumstances because we all have the opportunity to be more than we are.
Stay Where You Are
We are more than our circumstances but if we refuse to budge because we continue to drown in our own self-pity, we have no one to blame but ourselves. If you want to change your circumstances, you absolutely cannot stay where you are. If what you are doing isn't working, it's time to change things up and try something new. But whatever you do, don't stay where you are. Don't remain in a "victim state". Don't complain and not act. Take responsibility for your life and fight for it.
I know life can knock us down at times. The issues can be sudden and temporary or longstanding and constant. Don't let life control you... take control of your life when circumstances knock you down! Rise above it and come out stronger because of it!
For His Glory,