This is not an easy blog to write because this is something I often struggle with myself. As an adult life can just take a toll on you, sometimes there’s not some deep issue to work out, sometimes the trouble is just life in general.
We live in a broken world with so many broken people. Feelings get hurt, people get hurt and circumstances often don’t live up to our expectations.
How do we cope?
You have often heard me speak of the importance of support groups, community and family to help you along your walk. But what happens when those resources aren’t there? Maybe you’re in a brand new city and you only know one person, including yourself or your family is part of the problem or somehow in this particular situation people just don’t get you.
Where do you turn?
Christian culture says the Bible. Give all your problems to God, let him carry your burdens, pour out your heart in prayer and leave it at the altar.
I don’t disagree with that. Lord knows I’ve done it many times, along with other things when my emotions get me down. But I think the answer, while it includes all of those things, also has another facet. There have been times when I was feeling down, I would read the bible, pray and leave that process feeling renewed, restored and ready to tackle the challenge ahead. Then there have been other times, especially over the last few years where I’ll read my bible and nothing speaks to me, I’m not inspired, encouraged or moved. I still feel just as bad as before I read it.
And I honestly think a lot of people feel like that and that’s OK. There’s no shame in honesty! We need more of it!
So all this got me to thinking that emotions are fickle and can often be like a roller coaster. We go up and we go down. Vacation comes we’re on cloud nine and having the time of our lives, we get into a fight with a loved one and we’re ready to call the whole thing quits and give up on life. Which one are we?
This also got me to thinking that we are often in need of encouragement, sometimes daily, but we’re not always able to get it from others. Maybe the people you live with are part of the problem or you live alone. I think people who live alone need to get a black belt in encouraging themselves because there is no one around to break the cycle of worry or depression for them.
So how do you become successful at encouraging yourself? Without having to wait for someone else to do it?
I suppose there are different ways, like I always say, you will have to find the method that works best for you. But I don’t think it includes binge eating, racking up a lot of shopping debt or sexing it away. Those things offer temporary solutions and even greater potential problems.
For me I have discovered that listening to Christian teaching on a particular topic I’m struggling with has helped as well as reciting positive affirmations early before I start my day. I don’t think we give positive affirmations enough credit. I used to think it sounded like some New-Age mumbo-jumbo but really it can be quite affirming. I mean we are always looking for someone else to speak life into us and validate us to a certain extent. You have a mouth and it has power, I’m sure you’ve seen the effects of that before so use it to speak life into yourself. Write it down or whatever but get it in your heart.
Overtime I think you will discover your “art” of encouraging yourself is uniquely your own. And you will see improvement in your life. David encouraged himself on more than one occasion.
Ultimately in life you will need to understand the nature of emotions and learn how to manage them. I’m still learning and blogging helps me a lot. A lot of things I didn’t even know I believed (lies and truth) until I started writing them down. Whatever path you choose it will be a daily walk, just like everything else in life. But be encouraged! You can do it!