Write out exactly what's bugging you as thoroughly as possible. And then bring it all to Him – all the ugly, displeasing thoughts, all the doubts and fears, the brokenness and weakness and failures. Cry out to Him. Tell Him that you need help, that you can’t do it anymore. Be honest with Him about everything inside of you. He knows it all already.
Do not just worry about things; pray about them. Do not just think about things; pray about them. Do not just wish and hope for things; pray about them. Do not feel like you have to do it all yourself or like it's all up to you; pray and ask God for His help.
Grab a notebook and a cup of coffee, find a quiet place to sit by yourself (or a friend to talk with), and start writing out all the things that are on your heart and mind, all the fears and doubts and anxieties that are weighing you down. And then spend time in prayer, confessing each one to God and asking Him to heal you and help you see things the way He does.
And then as you face each new day, write out your prayers and requests in this notebook. Keep a list of the things you have prayed over to God. And keep track of any answers to prayers, any guidance He gives you, anything you’ve learned on the journey, anything good that came out of “unanswered prayers.” And include past answers to prayer, the ones that have meant the most to you and strengthened your faith.
[Additionally, if you want, make a prayer closet, a war room. For a simple plan, click here. Make this a time to meditate on verses and on God's character, to praise Him for everything you can praise Him for, to intercede for others, to lay your requests before Him, and to spend time in quiet listening to Him. And write it all out in a notebook or on a master list. Be deliberate about this prayer time. It is so true that we are in a spiritual war. But how little we realize it or live like it.]
Lord, You say that we can present to You all of our concerns and needs. You say that You will never let us fall, that You will sustain us, and that we will be filled with Your peace, if we are praying with thanksgiving. Well, I am pouring out my fears and doubts and concerns right now to You. I am acknowledging how weak I am and that I need You. I am casting my cares on You because they are too heavy for me. They are too much for me to handle and I need Your help. I need to put them in Your hands and let go of them because the weight is crushing me.
Lord, I feel completely hard pressed, crushed, persecuted and struck down. Life is bearing down on me and it’s too much for me to handle alone. I need You. Every moment. I need You to keep me from going under all the way. I feel so broken, and I can’t fix it on my own. Please, help me.
Lord, I am crying out to You right now. I am brokenhearted and I need You. You promise to save those who are crushed in spirit. You promise to lighten my burden and to help my soul find rest. I need that right now. Please, help me find rest for my soul.
Lord, You know how easily I give in to worry, to the concerns of life, the fear of the unknown, the fear that I will make too many mistakes and mess everything up and be too weak to handle everything. You know that I can make myself crazy with fear. But it’s hurting me. It’s exhausting me. It’s crushing me. And I can’t do it anymore. And I know that You never wanted me to live that kind of fearful life anyway. I have been choosing it because I have let myself believe that it all rests on me, that I am alone in this and that I have to be big enough and strong enough and wise enough.
Lord, you know how anxious I am, how much I feel like I am failing at everything, like everything is falling down around me and I can’t keep it together. I need You now, Lord. I need to know that I am doing okay. (And if I not, then I need to know what needs to change.)
Please, Lord, speak words of comfort to my anxious, despairing heart. To the part of me that feels like I’m going to let You and everyone else down, no matter what I do or how hard I try. To the part of me that just never feels “good enough.”
Lord, You promise to work everything for good. Please take my feeble efforts and use them for Your glory. Make something beautiful out of my messes and my shortcomings. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I am capable of – messes and shortcomings. But I know You can turn them into something good, because Your Word says so. I might not be able to do much, but please take the little I do and work it for Your glory. (And reveal to me if there is something that I claim to do for Your glory and purposes but that I am actually doing for my own glory and purposes.)
Lord, You know my heart and my motives. You know that I want to please You, that I am trying my best to do my best at the jobs You have given me. Please, be glorified in that, and help me know that I am doing okay in Your eyes, for I feel like I am failing in the eyes of so many others, including my own.
You say that if we trust You and lean on You then You will make our paths straight. Please, Lord, I am leaning on You now. I don’t always know the right step to take, so I need You to straighten the path as I walk. And when I don’t have the strength to keep walking, I need You to carry me. And when I don’t even have the strength to stand, please, Lord, just hold me for awhile and let me know that it’s going to be okay.
Help me remember that it’s not my job to always know which way to go in life or to be “strong enough,” but that my job is simply to let You lead, to lean on You when I am weak, to follow You in daily obedience, to work at whatever I do with all my heart for Your glory, and to let You work it all out for good and for Your purposes.
The Bible says that if I commit my plans to You, Lord, they will succeed. Well, I am committing my plans to You – the work I do everyday. I want to do it for Your glory, Your purposes, and Your kingdom. Help me remember to do my best simply because it matters to You, because You see what I do and why I am doing it. And what I do matters to You, even if no one else sees it. Guide me along as I go, as I do the jobs You give me each day. Lead me in the direction You want me to go. Use my efforts as You want to, whether they appear successful to the world or not.
I know that I might not see the rewards of my work, my efforts, here on earth or on this side of eternity, but may I be successful, Lord, in Your eyes, in the heavenly realms. Help me remember to always work for eternity, not for the things I can see. Help me build up treasures in heaven as I wait to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Write out the negative things you tell yourself and then write out the things you need to be telling yourself instead, the truth from the Bible or just the truth in general or the positive side of the situation. And read these every day if you need to. Our words have a lot of power, especially over our minds and outlook. And it takes time and effort to break the cycle of negative, self-fulfilling thoughts. Who do you want to be? How do you want to live? What truths do you want to live by? Write it all out. And start living it.]
Am I blaming God for others people's mistakes or the ways they let me down? (Remember that God has given us all the right to choose to do right or wrong. If other people choose to do wrong, it's not His fault. And it's not that He doesn't care. It's just that He allowed them to choose how they wanted to act. And they - we all - will be held accountable to Him for our choices.)
It's okay to be less than a "super human," to be less than a "super Christian." It's okay to be you. To be real. To be broken. Our "less-than-ness" gives God room to move and work and be strong. Our humanness gives Him room to be God. Our brokenness gives Him room to put the pieces back together the way He wants them to be.
Life is about learning and growing and trying and making mistakes on the way and maturing on the journey. Embrace grace! Go easy on yourself for being human. And remember that none of us really knows what we are doing in life anyway. (Although some won’t admit it.) We are all just trying to make it through as best we can. So you are in good company – in the company of many other hurting, broken, clueless, weak, needy people. The very people that God holds closest.
And remember that it takes time. Don't think there's something wrong with you if you can't "get it together" as quickly as other people think you should. Give yourself time to grieve, to heal, to grow, to wallow at the feet of God if that's what you need to do. He's got you, and He won't let you go, no matter how long the process takes.
And another thing: Suicide is not an option! Drill this truth into your head. Repeat it out loud. "Suicide is not an option." Find reasons for why it's not an option, why you need to live. Don't daydream about ways to "end the pain." Suicide is not an option! (If you find yourself flirting with the idea of suicide, tell someone you love or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.)
Do what you need to do to care for yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Eat right, get enough sleep, stop smoking, stop drinking, take walks, spend some time in quiet and in nature, visit with beloved people, turn off the tech gadgets and get away from the TV and internet and phone, adopt other healthy habits, etc. Do the things that make you feel refreshed, more whole, more healthy and healed. Say “yes” to things you’ve been aching to say yes to and say “no” to things you shouldn’t be taking on right now.
Here’s another one: Don’t take yourself and life soooo seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and at the unpredictability of life, the wacky things that happen, the silly things you say and do, the ironic-ness of life, the “Murphey’s law” kind of things, etc. Ignore the small stuff, the little annoyances. Life is too difficult to let every little thing bother you.
And if you need to try counseling or medication or taking a vacation or spending time alone or cutting off contact with people that make things worse, then do it. And don’t feel that you have to please anyone else or to explain/justify yourself to the nay-sayers and doubters and “holier-than-thou-ers.” Ask God in prayer what you need to do and not do right now. And then follow through with it.
And if you're really feeling brave ... dance too. Dance around your kitchen or living room, all by yourself.
(And can I recommend one more “list” idea: Don’t write a list of things you want to accomplish. Write a list of things you already have accomplished - the life things, the daily things, the trials you’ve overcome, the characteristics you like in yourself, the values you are proud of, the things you have made, the legacies you are passing onto your kids, the ways you've helped others, etc. If all we look at are the things we haven’t accomplish but want to, we might get discouraged and overwhelmed. Instead, start a list of what you’ve already done and see how far you’ve come in life.)
Maybe set a goal for yourself, such as writing down 10 blessings a day. And bring some paper and a pen with you wherever you go so you can write things down when they are fresh in your mind. The harder discouragement strikes and the more trials there are, the more deliberate we have to be about looking for the good.
25. Learn to praise Him in the pain and to trust that He walks through it with you and will bring some good out of it.
Praising Him is not an act of our feelings. It’s an act of the will. We can praise Him – give Him honor and glory – even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we are hurting. We praise Him by thanking Him for His gifts. We praise Him by including Him in our concerns, by running to Him, by calling Him “Father” even when life isn't what we want it to be, by trusting that He is listening and that He cares and that He will answer our prayers (in His time and in His way). We praise Him by being obedient, even when we don’t want to be. We praise Him by saying, "I trust You, regardless of my circumstances."
Do you have any tips for dealing with depression or anxiety? Things that have helped or didn't help? What advice or encouragement can you share?
This post is linked up with Holley Gerth