Hard times are a given. We all go through them. The key is HOW you get through them.
I am literally JUST coming out of the hardest 2 years of my life. And I did NOT handle these hardships well at all.
My breaking point happened In August when my boyfriend, whom I had planned on marrying and starting a family with, and I broke up. We broke up and I literally fell into a deep pit of depression. I had never been depressed before and I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks, I barely ate, I cried every day and would lay there feeling hopeless and helpless, wondering what was so wrong with me, feeling rejected, overwhelmed by sadness, and literally feeling as though my heart had shattered into a billion pieces and wondering how in the world even God could put all those piees back together.
The last weekend in September I went for a mini road trip with my dad to a conference in Montana. My dad and I have never been really close but that weekend God began the healing process in my heart of this devastating break-up and used this time with my dad to help me re-focus on life. At the conference Greg Boyd said something that forever changed my heart.
“God revealed His true self and His character through the cross.”
After 2 years of dragging my feet through the motions of Christianity, making seriously bad choices, having a really big pity party, being negative about everything and completely losing my joy God snapped my head back into reality with that one phrase.
Since that weekend, I feel like a new person and the Holy Spirit is teaching me so much about Gods character (1 Corinthians 2) and downloading so much in me that I want to share what the Holy Spirit is teaching me, in hopes that it will encourage and motivate someone else.
So, the question is: How do we get through dry, hard, crappy seasons of life?
Well, for one don’t think youre gonna have it together every second. I have days when I struggle and days where I’m strong. I have days when I cry (ask Brittany) and days where its easy for me to praise. It’s ok to have days where you totally melt down-JUST DON’T STAY THERE.
1. Trust God
Biggest cliche ever but the most true one ever. Trusting God requires us to release control of our lives and our situations. Trusting God requires us to rely COMPLETELY on God and TRUST that He is in control.
Trusting God require action on my part! A complete release of control, fear and doubt and exchanging it for faith, hope and the love of God.
Its so hard to trust God in these times of hardship. We think that God “just doesn’t understand” or “God doesn’t care” or “God this is Your fault”.
Every single thing that God does is motivated by love. He never ever EVER does anything or allows anything in our lives that is not motivated by love.
Trusting God requires us to say, “Jesus, I dont see, feel or hear You right now. I have no clue what You’re up to, but thats ok. I trust You and know that YOU are in control and are going to work everything out for my good.
Psalm 33:4a “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love HIm.”
I have found, personally, since releasing my control and my fear (yeah, i have days where I still struggle with it) that God has proven Himself as TRUSTWORTHY over and over again. I am seeing firsthand how God works even the hardest of situations out for our good, we need to simply TRUST Him.
Trusting God is one of the hardest things sometimes. It’s hard to have blind faith and ultimate hope and reliance on a Being you cannot see or touch.
God is teaching me that trust means surrendering my need to control, laying all fear at his feet and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my every step through the lenses of knowing that Everything God does/allows is always motivated by pure, jealous, intense love for me.
It’s not out job to understand but to have faith, trust and just believe God and His promises.
2. We change our Mindset
Negativity will only make things worse, and honestly half the time were really just having a pity party. We post all our woes and struggles online, we sit alone and look sad hoping someone will notice and “minister” to us, we talk about our issues with whoever will listen and we whine about everything. See, you’re not really liking that person I just described are you? Yeah, I didn’t like myself that much when I was doing that either.
Having a attitude of Positivity changes things. Having a joyful heart changes things. My friend Amanda recently said, “Being joyful doesn’t neccesarily mean being happy”. That’s so true. When we are walking through dark seasons of life its hard to smile, be happy or laugh. But the JOY of The Lord is our STRENGTH. We learn to be joyful in and through God and are strengthened.
James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
Being positive instead of negative. Instead of focusing on every negative thing learn to see the positives. There are ALWAYS things to be positive about, sometimes we just have to look harder to see them.
Instead of whining and saying “Why Me” (which is exactly what the enemy wants you to be saying) kick the enemy in the face and start praising God! It’s hard to praise and be joyful in these hard times but its one of the greatest things you will do. PRAISE!
Praise Him as much as you can! David and Job were bosses at praising through hardship. During the month of September all I could muster was, ‘Jesus, I believe You are good even though I don’t feel Your goodness.” Give God the praise you have…a simple, “Jesus, I love You” is praise. It doesn’t have to be some drawn out worship song, just a simple “I love you” will do.
3. Be REAL with God
Be real with Jesus, He knows your heart anyways so you may as well vocalize those deep feelings to Him. I would lay in bed crying everyday and whisper, “Jesus, please just help me.” That was it. I had nothing else. I didn’t have some beautiful prayer to pray or amazing song of worship to sing. All I had was a broken heart to offer and 5 simple words.
God loves when we are real with Him. I honestly think He would rather us rant and rave and freak out with Him than go through the Christian motions for the world to see but inside be a raging, angry child. I spent many days crying out, and being so real with God. He cares. God cares about what we are going through. He cares about our situations. He doesn’t pick and choose and just help us and listen to us when theirs “big things” going on. He loves when we choose to call on Him even in the small things.
God wants us to be REAL with Him. He knows our hearts, He understands our pain.
4. Don’t Walk Alone
Sometimes when we are going through hard times we want to shy away from our family and friends and settle into depression and wallow in our self pity. Its easy to do, I did it numerous times this last year and a half.
Ask for help. A sheep that is wandering by itself is more vulnerable for attack than a sheep who is in the fold surrounded by the other sheep. If you’re out wandering alone you are a much easier target for the enemy to speak lies, manipulate you and mess with you. Stay close to the fold (other Christians). Allow people to come alongside you to support you and walk with you.
Be careful who you let speak into your life. Choose trustworthy people of character and wisdom and maturity. People who can and will speak Gods truth to you in every situation- Don’t invite the whole world into your situation. My friend Brittany has been this person for me. She lets me cry and be sad but then she sets the hammer down and speaks Gods truth to me and I love she hurts with me yet helps me get strengthened with the Word.
I have had a few very close people (Brittany, Amanda, Barb and Tanya) who have really helped me walk through this last 2 months of life. I am seeing the importance of a support system and not walking alone through these hard times. When I was walking alone I was constantly having my thoughts attacked with lies and my heart was becoming hardened to people. But GOD, has since changed my heart and helped me to see the importance of being part of HIS flock and being surrounded by like minded people.
5. Make Choices
Every day I have to choose to either be a “victim” of a “VICTOR”…to whine and complain or be grateful for all the amazing things in my life…to blame God or THANK God for walking with me through this hard time and NEVER abandoning me…to be negative or choosing to be POSITIVE, to be depressed or to find JOY in the heartache.
We have to make a choice! I am making a habit to every day wake up and say, “I choose to say YES to You today Jesus.” (Thanks to Lysa TerKeurst). I dont always feel like it but I have been choosing to say YES to God every day. Some days I struggle to say it and other days are easy!
Tonight at work I was conversing with God in my head and I was telling God, “I want a man who will pray with me. A man who will choose every day to love me, regardless of my flaws.” All of a sudden The Lord sparked in me and I heard myself say out loud, “God, Romance me. ” I was thankful the girl I was working with was in the back and no one was around…that could’ve been awkward! But, tonight I chose to focus on a romance with the Lover of my Soul. I am choosing to let God fulfill my hearts desire to feel love and to be romanced. It was the first time I have ever said that to God, ever.
Make choices…Make choices that will honor God and draw your heart CLOSER to God everyday. Don’t let the enemy tell you how much you suck, or that you’re a screw up, or that your situation is hopeless. Shut his lying mouth by speaking Gods truth. I’ve been having to do that a lot lately. When the enemy tries to lie to me I have been speaking (out loud) what God says about me.
You ARE strong enough. Trust God, let Him in. Trust that “Gods got this”.
God NEVER does anything or allows us to go through anything that He cannot work out for our Good! 2 months ago I felt hopeless but NOW I see how God has begun a new work in me that surpasses anything I ever thought imaginable. God took a year and a half worth of hardship and has turned it around and I am seeing it in a new light and Im seeing in a way I probably wouldnt have been able to see Him if not for these hard things.
Gods Kindness has never been so evident in my life before. He is just so GOOD to me, so PATIENT with me through my countless shenanigans. He is so KIND. I cant get over it!
Trust Him. Hes got it. Whatever you are dealing with, trust Him. Every single thing He does is motivated by His love for us.
Here are some resources that have been insanely helpful for me:
1. God Could’ve Left Job Alone (Bob Sorge)-it will take 5 minutes of your life but I am telling you, it will change your persepctive. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9FZ5uM_YfB4
2. “I can Feel You” by Jenn johnson- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=77cwl530Ngg
Sorry this is so long but I felt so led by the Holy Spirit to share with someone what He has been sharing with me. I hope it encourages someone. ❤