Some days are just hard! We face mountains that seem to grow and pastures that although appear green, seem to last forever and are not filled with the essentials we need. It is hard to push through in such circumstances and to do so while remaining grounded. If you are in such a season, here are some things to consider as you develop a foundation to help you push through!
“Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it!” Psalm 34:14 AMPC
During dark days it is hard to find peace. It is seldom that it comes to us, or can even make it through all of the thoughts that are going through our minds. As a result, we have to Go After It! It may mean taking a walk alone, or putting on a favorite worship song. It may mean sitting alone in a quiet place to pray. It may mean finding a nearby yoga class so that someone is there to drive you to a place of reflection and to help you find ways to release the tension from your body (and even the muscles you did not know you had). But, you have to seek it and find ways to get it in place!
When there is no peace, we are at risk for faulty judgement and rash decisions that could have negative long-term results. Sometimes these consequences are financial, but other times result in the loss of significant relationships. But, with peace we are able to rationally think through and seek understanding, even when in the dark places.
“The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).” [James 1:5]
Unfortunately, even if you do not evidence clinical levels of anxiety when you are under stress, studies show that it negatively affects our ability to effectively work through problems and cope with our overall emotional state (e.g., Math Anxiety: The Poor Problem Solving Factor in School Mathematics)
This is where scriptures like the one we find in James 1:5 come in. Not only does it say that we should seek wisdom, but that we should seek to get an understanding and interpretation of that information. This may vary depending on the complexity of the situation you are facing, but it could vary between sitting down to develop a plan, seeking counsel from a trusted friend, or even seeking professional counsel from a professional. Only you know what the complexity may require, but trust the Holy Spirit’s urging to seek it, if it is there!
This is also a good time to put structure into place when solving problems. There are tons of approaches to structured problem solving, but in all cases, they involve a period of data gathering, analysis, review of this information, implementation, and another review to determine if the plan that was put into place is working effectively. In this case, additional emphasis should be placed on data gathering, as the entire process rests on this area. If what you have gathered is incorrect, or skewed due to high emotions, the plan in place will also be faulty. When the other areas are used, they provide a system of reflection that forces you to evaluate long-term decisions throughout the process. Here is an article to help you think about this process: Systematic versus Intuitive Problem Solving on the Shop Floor: Does it Matter?
Seek to Decrease Turmoil & After Shock
One of the dangers of facing hard days is that it puts in situations where we are not able to push through at the level of functioning that is there typically. As a result, we are more likely to project anger and frustration on others, be more easily irritated and annoyed and to misinterpret the messages we receive from others. During those times it is all the more important to find ways to center and evaluate. As a basic strategy, it might be necessary to:
1) Find ways to top and reflect before making decisions.
2) Take time to think through and pray about long-term consequences (good and bad), as we are likely to have more difficulty with considering the long-term in these emotional states.
3) Make sure to attend to our physical man, the body, to ensure that we have what we need to face the day: good sleep, healthy meals, exercise.
4) If at all possible, make use of the support networks around you. If people step in to provide help and support, allow them to do so. This reduces the list in front of you, while also providing outlets for support and love.
Keep Pushing Through
Although bad days come, please keep in mind that you are not alone. There are numerous instances throughout the Bible of individuals who faced hard decisions:
- Abraham was tested in regards to whether he would sacrifice the son God has given him.
- Lot had to leave all that he knew as a city was destroyed by fire and ultimately lost his wife.
- Job lost everything he had and even had to push many of his friends away to find peace and wisdom to move forward.
- Rahab, who despite her past decided to protect individuals who she barely knew based on the hope that she could in turn protect her family.
- Paul, when confronted with the truth of the gospel left his position and instead turned to bring people to Christ.
- Or the many prophets who were stoned to death as a result of their faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Their stories show us that although the road may be hard, we can use the resources around us to remain resilient! I hope you take such a path. Be encouraged!