There are just those days in life when we don’t think we will make it through the day. We can’t concentrate, may experience heavy breathing, are anxious, restless, and overcome with fear.
We ask some close friends to pray for us. We pray too, read our Bible and then set out for the day believing that everything will be alright. Yet sitting at our desk, when doing dishes, taking care of the kids, or on our morning commute we begin to think and that usually starts our trouble.
We may think about the fight we had the night before, about the fight that might be waiting for us when we get home, we may wonder if he really meant it when he said he was leaving, or if our grown child will ever call. Our mind becomes busy with thoughts that we can’t control. Somewhere in the middle of it all we wonder if our friends are praying, if God heard our prayer, or what the point of reading the Bible was.
Here are some tips for getting through rough days:
Journal. I carry a small notebook with me everywhere I go. In it I record my ideas, thoughts, and concerns. You could record your fears, concerns, and anxieties. Later you can write down how things went. In time you will see God’s care for you in your life.
Pray Often. Just keep at it. I have a friend at work that brings a journal and devotional with her. She reads and prays on breaks and at lunch. You can pray at your desk, in the bathroom, while driving, or at home when the kids take a nap. Just keep at it. Often one prayer isn’t enough. Praying keeps us connected with God.
Scripture Memory. Memorizing Scripture gives us a powerful tool when we need it. If you aren’t up for memorizing then write the verse on an index card and carry it with you. Say it outloud or to yourself over and over. God promises that His Word is alive and powerful. He won’t let you down.
Listen to music. Music can be a healing balm during rough times. It can calm our restless minds and soothe our aching soul. Today I listened to instrumental music. I just wanted to hear the soothing sound of an orchestra.
The how far can you make it principle? I went through an extremely difficult time once. I would wake up having a panic attack and completely overwhelmed. I would call my sister and she would ask me, “How far can you make it through today before needing to talk to me again?” Can you make it the next hour? Yes. Can you make it until lunch? I think so. Okay. Call me at lunch and then we will go from there. You made it until lunch. Can you make it until dinner? Yes. Okay, then you just have to make it until bedtime. I lived like that for several months. Take life one small step at a time.
Talk to yourself. Fight the feelings of despair and the temptation to throw any hope you have in God out the door by talking to yourself. God is good. Yes I know it doesn’t feel like it. God will strengthen me. Are you breathing? Did you get through the day? Then He has strengthened you. God is truth. It’s a messed up kind of truth–agreed. God loves me. I don’t know how either and no it doesn’t always feel like it, but He does. Say it.
Listen, say these things even if you struggle to believe them. It’s part of the fight of faith. When my anxiety is off the charts all I can utter sometimes is, “I trust you.”
Choose to trust God. This is a choice. Sometimes we have to make this choice while we fight tears, are having a panic attack, or face another depression. Say it. I choose to trust God. God I trust you. God it doesn’t look like you know what you are doing, but I trust you. God I know how you helped Joseph get out of the pit and you will help me. Keep saying this over and over until it becomes a natural response to your trial.
A good counselor/friend. We don’t need friends like Job had during rough times, but we do need wise and truthful friends. Someone who can show us grace, kindness, and is patient. Someone who knows when it is a good time to speak and when it is a good time to be silent. We also need someone who can tell us the truth if we need to hear it.
Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to fight through the day at all. It is easier to succumb to life and just let it do its work. It is easier to forget all these suggestions and choose a million other ways to cope. I get it, but I also get that in my weakness and in my moment of need having faith in God and being strengthened by Him to get through tough times is what it is all about. In the end I would rather suffer a million times with Him than one time without Him. He does make the difference and I hope you will try some of these things to see the amazing work He can do in your life.
No, it won’t make sense and it looks crazy, but He will not disappoint. Trust Him and give Him a chance to show up and show off. He is really good at that.