A few loved ones of ours are having a tough time right now…whether illness, grief, exhaustion, work, loneliness, stretched too thin, or a hundred other reasons. I can only share with you what has worked for me. Take that back, I could tell you some amazing story of someone pushing through, but if I know where you are, that’s not going to help you right now. When you’re in the pit, it’s kinda tough to connect with some unbelievable story of light. So, instead, I will speak to you from having been in the pit, lying in it, on the floor inches from the fireplace, because I couldn’t find the physical strength to get up.
1. STOP. Stop whatever you’re wrapped-up in right now. Get up from your desk. Park your car somewhere safe. Roll over in the other direction on your bed. Turn your head, find a window. If none of those are options, just CLOSE YOUR EYES. Do whatever you can to remove yourself from the noise, tension and chaos coming at you. Change your perspective.
2. BREATHE. I didn’t say hyperventilate, I said BREATHE. Slow, deep breaths in and out. Don’t do this twice (in a hurry) and say, “Ok Laura, I did it and it didn’t work…I’m skipping this post!” Just focus on breathing for a few minutes. Eyes shut, slow, deep breaths. As a friend of mine likes to remind me, “…the world will keep spinning…” (I wonder if said friend remembers this as well as he encourages me in it?) But again, back to breathing…slow, steady, clean out the yuck breathing…
3. Talk to God. (You knew I’d say it, but just keep reading.) Acknowledge how worn you are, how tired, how beaten you feel. Tell Him how badly you need to know he is RIGHT THERE WITH YOU because I promise – HE IS THERE. He hasn’t left you. You may not be able to feel, hear or see Him right now, but it’s not because He has left you. He hasn’t. And He won’t. Ask Jesus to flood you, to cover you in His strength. If you’re lonely, cry out for Him to hold you. If you’re tired, ask Him to blanket you in His perfect, unexplainable rest. If you’re battling illness, ask Him to help you bear the load. If you’re in financial shackles, ask him to protect you, show you what to do next. If you’re grieving, beg Him to help you. Ask him to help you breathe – because in this moment, you can’t on your own. Cry out for comfort to just be “ok”, for the darkness to pass. For Him to quiet your soul…then sit, wait and breathe.
I know so many people say they “can’t pray”, they’re “not good at praying”, etc. I used to say the same ’til I realized, “Who cares how ‘good’ I am?? Certainly not the One I’m praying to!” Talk to him like He’s your best friend, your parent (the one you’ve always yearned for, no matter how wonderful or miserable your earthly parents were/are), your defender, your ONLY HOPE. If you can allow yourself to go to Him in total surrender and humility (which isn’t so hard when depleted and broken – but you must be willing to drop the defenses for a few moments, He doesn’t need them anyway!), HE WILL SUSTAIN YOU. I am living, breathing, true testimony of this. He is life-breathing and HE is already there. Right there, sitting next to you, wherever you are, waiting for you to let Him in.
(Helpful tip: Just look for peace in THIS moment. Don’t seek complete, immediate resolution of all your worldly struggles and then, be disappointed when you still have them to push through. God will be with you in them, one step, one moment, at a time. Just keep talking to Him. Following Jesus isn’t meant to be some “swallow this pill cure”, protecting us from bad things happening to us in this world. If that’s what you are searching for, you’ve got the wrong idea. My God is better than a “once and done pill”, He is my constant.)
Oh, and if you’re mad at God right now, that’s totally ok too. He already knows you are. So go ahead – yell, scream, cry at Him – you might as well get it out He knows it’s there, friends…all the ugliness, cursing, rage beyond words, disappointment, hurt and betrayal you feel towards Him. HE KNOWS IT’S THERE, SO GET IT OUT. And unlike people in your life, you won’t surprise, shock or disappoint Him so badly that He won’t still love you. (How cool is that?) So go for it, He really can handle you. He’s had plenty of practice. If from no one else, but me.