Have you known days in life when you felt like you just wanted to run away? It's been a veritable string of Monday's with too much month at the end to the money and out of eagerness to win approval every request made of you (whether good or bad) you've met with "sure, I can help with that". Maybe you've been staying up too late or skipping responsibilities because you're a grown up and you can make your own choices... You may be saying in your head "mind your own beeswax". Regardless, there will be those days when you've had ENOUGH.
Truly I could not say any of this if I hadn't already been in the same shoes. My choices were less than exemplary and i did whatever made me feel better for the moment many times. So, my goal is not to condemn but to share some hope that there is a better way. For me the struggle begins when there has been precious little time spent in prayer and even less in writing God's ever-valuable Word on my heart. Thereby allowing the world to dictate who i am instead of focusing on the plan God has for my life and being accountable to fellow believers. If Jesus is not part of your life, emotionally, the heart will reach empty and become a life in tossed about in a storm that's headed for wipe out.
Let's be honest, there are some current trend "go-to" methods for handling the circumstances we are in; that seem favorable in the moment of high stress. After all, what is a Generation X, Y or Z human to do? For starters you could keep running up debt on your trusty credit card with more new summer outfits, some modish Vans, and that long overdue hair appointment you deserve. How about gorging on take out and ice cream because you don't feel like cooking (again). Why not hit the casino because your fortune cookie said you're going to have a streak of good luck and we all know fortune cookies don't lie (ha). Another common option is a pity-party-posting of the latest undeserved struggle on Facebook for the world to cry along with us. Certainly there is also the ever popular "blast in a glass" method that will leave you with a splitting headache and possibly unsure about whom you were with or what you did last night. Are you catching the common theme in these means of dealing with difficulty. What do you do when you have a bad day? All of these modern day coping tools sadly, leave your life, your wallet, and your heart emptier than ever.
A quick fix is never the answer for the long term changes that will produce positive results and grant the peace that will remind you of how temporary storms in life are. People, there is a better way, a healthier way, and a non self-deprecating way to face the storms in your life. Here are some practical tips to smooth out your day and get your focus back where is belongs.
*Take a few moments. Start your day with silence and prayer. Get by yourself, close the door, bow your head and ask God to give you strength and courage to let go of what is dragging you down and regain a calm focus on what you CAN do today. One day at a time is more than enough for any of us to tackle.
*Read it/write it. Get your Bible out and read chapter from one of the Gospels (John is my personal fav) and then a Psalm or two. Reading a few short verses will help remind you to keep your focus on God. Example: " I have told you these things, so that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!" John 16:33
*Be financially responsible. if credit cards are an issue, get yourself a budget that will keep your bills paid and start paying down any debt you owe. Stop buying things you cannot afford. You will be surprised how quickly you can pay off debt when you stop spending on things you did not budget for. (We started doing Dave Ramsey- not saying you have too, many years ago and we have NOT regretted telling our income what to do! It is truly freeing to live on a budget!) Try eating meals at home or brown bag it until you get your finances under control and can allocate funds to do things that should be considered a luxury. (if you get the chance to visit a third world country you will understand this Big Time). And yep I'm going to say it- the first thing you need to do with income is tithe (10% at least) to God, because it's His anyway. If it isn't to a local church there are many organizations that work to be the "hands and feet "of Jesus to communities that welcome cash donations. God will bless you in ways you can't even imagine. Try it and you will see!!
*Eat Healthier. (Believe me, I struggle with this the most and have to remind myself to stop simply being lazy and do the work that will help me feel better physically) it may not always be the easier thing to do. It takes a lot of effort to think about meal planning, making grocery lists, shopping, preparing and cooking. You reap great benefits from doing it though! You will find you spend less money eating out and junk food, which your wallet and your body will appreciate you for. It also forces us to spend less time zoning out on social media and wishing your life was like the pictures you see on Pinterest and Facebook. Your life is what you make it not what other people strategically photograph and showcase for the world's approval. Really... isn't the main purpose of instagram; to gain approval?? Last of all if you eat better, all your clothes will fit better and that will put a smile on your face!
*Do whatever comes next. Not one of us will get a perpetual free ride in life. No one will get out of a rut or overcome a struggle without putting in effort, so DO SOMETHING. Get yourself moving. Make a plan. Clean a closet. Do your homework. Go for a walk. Visit your Grandpa. Write a letter to someone to encourage them (snail mail is AmaZing). Read your Bible every day. Pay your bills on time. Finish a project. Hug your loved ones. Do laundry. Serve in your community. Be kind. Pray (ALOT). Never take for granted the time you have and use it to bless other people and glorify God. I didn't expect what came next for us. Cancer. But all of these things I have mentioned are my reminders every day to keep fighting the good fight and running the race to finish strong - all by the grace and mercy of God.
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You" Isaiah 26:3