Last week I talked about a spirit of heaviness and sadness that I was experiencing after my daughter’s diagnosis. It was a burden that just sat on me after contemplating our road ahead and was weighing me down. I shared how I was able to overcome those initial feelings (click here for story).
This isn’t the first time that has happened – if I recall some of the toughest times in my life, they’ve almost always been accompanied by that same awful feeling.
For me, it starts off as a terrible feeling in my stomach. You know the feeling when you’ve gotten really bad news and everything inside of you just drops. And if you could, you would just ball yourself up in a corner, under a desk or table, and just lay there.
And every morning when the alarm goes off, you’d just wish you didn’t have to face the day. Instead, you want to just turn over, burrow yourself deeper in the covers, and just sleep until that feeling goes away.
But for most of us, we just don’t have that option. We have to fight against those feelings and get up to take care of our family, manage our household, go to work, go to school, or whatever it is we have to do to keep moving in life. Even if every move seems to be a slow dragging of our feet just to get to the next step.
Many people struggling with those feelings are facing some type of loss – possibly in the form of a death, divorce, bankruptcy, homelessness, while others may be experiencing a loss that may not be as perceptible – including the loss of a dream, the loss of their hope, or the loss of their joy. And any kind of loss can bring a feeling of trauma and distress.
Which can trigger that feeling.
Do we even have a name for it? In the movie The Neverending Story, I liken it to The Nothing. The Nothing was this dark and evil presence that consumed and destroyed everything in its path. It couldn’t be described, quantified, or contained.
Yep, that sounds about right. If that feeling is not addressed and contained, it can ultimately lead to destruction.
There are varying levels of that feeling, which can be brought on by any number of negative situations and experiences. Our feelings and perception can’t always discern the full reality of a situation, and our brain can’t always decipher if the conclusion we believe is real or skewed, temporary or permanent, or the true degree of severity.
And this is not an issue just affecting adults. More and more we hear about teens and children – some as young as 9 – contemplating suicide or actually taking their own lives in response to the trauma and pain they are experiencing.
Sometimes I hear their stories and think, “If only they knew this wasn’t the end of the world, that help was available – and if they just lived longer, things would have gotten better.”
I truly believe God thinks the same thing about us when He sees us struggling so much with the pain we are feeling. As we allow ourselves to be consumed by negative thoughts, He just wants us to come to Him, surrender to Him, give it all to Him, and then trust Him.
While we struggle with trying to survive through this pain on our own, or by utilizing worldly solutions to bring us temporary relief, He’s waiting for us to just hand over our broken hearts to Him so He can heal us.
Today’s Play Prediction is a promise that we should continuously remind ourselves of when we are struggling with our pain – that He is RIGHT HERE with us and wants to rescue us from our anguish.
But how can He do that?
As we discussed last week, by worshipping Him, we invite His presence into our situation. Just how turning on a light switch in a pitch-black room makes the darkness scatter, God’s presence makes the despair we feel scatter. Sometimes it’s permanent, and sometimes it’s temporary. If we continue to feel it coming back, then we need to keep on worshipping!
He is also with us through the people He has put in our lives. Whether family or friends – a strong support system is needed during difficult times like these. Support by someone aware of, but not necessarily personally affected by the situation, is critical.
Their assistance, prayers, and empathy can provide windows of relief and encouragement, alleviating the pressure we are feeling. Ask Him to reveal those people to you, and then be sure to reach out to them and share what you are going through.
And if you are that special person in someone else’s life, be sure to check up on them regularly. Every time they cross your mind, there is a reason! Call or send a text.
Another way God is near is through the help of professional mental health providers. We don’t think twice about seeking medical assistance for an injury or illness to our bodies, why should it be any different if our minds are unwell or we’ve experienced a traumatic mental or emotional injury?
God created health providers to care for our bodies AND our minds, and we should be utilizing both when treatment is needed, as they each can contribute to us living healthy and long lives.
I’m telling you what I wish someone would have told the 14-year-old that recently took her own life at a nearby school – just keep on living. Trouble won’t last always – this too will pass.
If you have been struggling with a heavy weight or burden, feelings of hopelessness, depression, or thoughts of suicide – please don’t struggle through this alone. God is close by, ready to rescue you. It may be through your worship, through the assistance of others, through mental health treatment, or a combination of all of these. Get the help and support you need – My prayer is that everyone reading this will be well!
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
Follow Destined 4 the Dub for the Inspiration you need each week as you journey through the highs and lows of life!