Coping with hard times
Some seasons of life are more difficult than others.
Hardships and pain abound in waves bigger than we ever thought possible.
When life is particularly hard, where do you turn? Girlfriends? Alcohol? Social Media? Chocolate?
Our methods of coping with the hard things will be as unique and individual as we each are.
I might zone out in front of a movie with a way-too-big-bowl of Sriracha popcorn, or call a girlfriend and go out to dinner or a walk, or have a glass of wine and read a book.
All of these things can distance me from a tough moment and give my emotions time to settle and some time to think.
But what I do next matters.
Keeping our minds focused on our difficulties is tempting. It’s the easy road when you are dealing with them day in and day out.
I’m an analyzer. I wrestle with problems until solutions present themselves. To turn that off is challenging for me.
If I find myself lost in my problems, I’m unable to function rationally and wisely.
To keep my wits about me, I’ve found a few avenues to restore peace to my soul and offer me a different perspective. What we put into our minds matters.
Reading and praying the Psalms and Proverbs
I’m grateful for the brutal honesty of the Psalms:
“I’m exhausted and worn out with my weeping. I endure weary, sleepless nights filled with moaning, soaking my pillow with my tears. My eyes of faith won’t focus anymore, for sorrow fills my heart. There are so many enemies who come against me!” Psalm 6:6-7 TPT
God put so many real, emotional passages in Scripture to encourage us to open our mouths and let all our struggles fall out before Him. He can handle it.
The words written by the Psalmists relay our own vulnerable prayers to the Father. Our design as humans pushes us toward deep & emotional connection with Him.
The wisdom and truth of the Proverbs connect my soul and my mind to the Father.
“because God is your confidence in times of crisis, keeping your heart at rest in every situation.” Proverbs 3:26 TPT
The encouragement and feeling that Father God is right there with me in my trial brings my fearful heart rest. I’m not alone.
I may be nervous, I may have unpleasant people to talk to or situations to deal with, but He’s there. I can rest the whole weight of who I am on that. He’s there.
When I have cried all the tears I can cry, He’s there. He is holding me and will never let me go.
Listening to podcasts
Controlling the atmosphere of our minds is critical as we navigate difficult seasons or traumas. Focusing our mental energy on learning can have a positive impact on our emotions.
Having someone else’s voice enter your troubled head-space can be beneficial. Distracting, even. Whether it’s a sermon or a conversation about something that interests you, doesn’t really matter.
It’s about getting your mind back on track and focused on making a change, rather than wallowing in what is going wrong.
Two of my current faves are Shawn Bolz’s Exploring the Prophetic and Jen Kinney’s Speaking of Racism.
Blasting the tunes
Music is a powerful art. I wrote a post on music changing the atmosphere of our minds here.
From ancient biblical times to our modern world, music has been an integral part of life. It creatively expresses emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
During difficult emotional times, worship music floating through our home brings me comfort or lifts my mood. It reminds me of the Truth and helps me connect with the One who holds me.
I am loved. I am strong. I have a voice. I am held. I am beloved.