Tag Archive | sadness

This Too Shall Pass

girl_on_stairs

I’ve been struggling a bit over the last couple of weeks. For the most part, I’ve kept this completely to myself. I tend to share the good things going on in my life and hide the not so good things. Last week when it was my turn to post on Being Rebekah, I just posted a simple prayer because I wasn’t ready to let the blogging community know about my struggle. Indeed, I’m still not ready.

But as things have a way of doing; my struggle has come to the light. I whispered a text to a friend to let her in. God Himself whispered a word of knowledge to several others. I’ve alluded to these struggles before on such posts as: Confident in His Love, Disquieted, and When Sadness Creeps in.

The amazing thing is that since things have come out into the open, God has rallied a wonderful support team around me. They have offered godly counsel, a shoulder to cry on, prayer and have even fasted for me. I am truly blessed. And yet, I’m still struggling. I feel incredibly guilty about that.

They give me good advice: you need to worship through it, you need to praise through it, you need to choose God, you must choose to hold on Him, don’t try to overcome by your own strength; you need to rely on Jesus etc. etc. It’s all wonderful advice, it truly is. But what I hear is: You’re screwing it up, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong. The problem is not with the advice, the problem is with me.

They are all working so hard to support me with love, prayers, and fasting that I feel pressured to report that things are magically all better. I feel if I admit that I’m still struggling that I’m letting them down. I’m failing despite everyone’s best efforts. I owe them better and I owe God better.

I don’t know what the solution is. I’m not writing with my grand spiritual revelation on how I got beyond my struggle with the help of the Lord. I have no idea how to get beyond it and this blog post is simply my attempt at not sugar coating it the way that I’m tempted to do. Here’s what I do know: through Jesus, this too shall pass.

In His Love,

Rebekah L

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When Sadness Creeps In

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

Often times as Christians we feel pressured to always exhibit a happy demeanor. A sad Christian is a failing Christian. Or so we’re led to believe. As Christians we celebrate verses of Scripture that tell us to rejoice in Him. We know that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).  We know that the “joy of the Lord” is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and that a “merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). But what happens when that merry heart is not so easy to find? What do we do as Christians when sadness creeps in?

Before I became a Christian I struggled with depression. There were periods in my life where I found it challenging to get out of bed in the morning or to make it through a daily routine. I was put on and taken off of several different anti-depressants over the years. I was plagued by suicidal thoughts. I self-injured on a number of occasions. I tried to self-medicate with substances. Meeting Christ changed all of that for me. When I met Him, I learned what it was to have joy unspeakable!  I was set free from debilitating depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and consuming thoughts of suicide. Praise the Lord!!

But sometimes, I still fall into sadness. It’s nothing like the debilitating depression I had before knowing Him, but I have a tendency not to share this with people because I feel guilty about it. I feel since the Lord has freed me from so much I don’t have a right to feel sad. Ever. I feel selfish when feelings of sadness come on.  Sometimes I let the enemy condemn me for the feelings I have. Or I beat myself up using Scriptures that admonish me to be content with what I have or by reminding myself of people who have many more trials than I do. The trouble is that because I have such negative feelings about sadness, I have a tendency to not deal with them. I try to sweep them under the rug and forget about them.  The problem is that in not dealing with these feelings they actually gain greater control. The best way to move beyond sadness is to acknowledge it and then give it to God.

I’ve come to realize that sadness is a part of life. It’s natural to feel sad when we lose a loved one, go through a break-up, see someone hurting, or watch a dear friend move away. The Lord Himself knew what it was like to experience sadness. He wept in front of Lazarus’ tomb.  In the book of Isaiah, the Bible describes the coming Lord as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). The Lord knows what it is to be sad.

David knew what it was to be sad too. He said, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress. My eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief” (Psalm 31:9-10). In another place in the Bible, David is recorded as saying, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? (Psalm 42:5). There are many recorded examples of sadness in the Bible. Jeremiah was referred to as the “weeping profit”. Nehemiah was so sad that the king himself asked him what was wrong. Job knew grief, as did Solomon. Isaiah was so depressed he prayed to die!

If you are reading this and your countenance is down, know that you are not alone! You are in good company. You don’t have to pretend to be happy if you aren’t. It doesn’t make you less of a Christian, it simply makes you human. I have found that although I still fall into sadness at times that it doesn’t have to last long if I am consistent about handing it over to God.

You don’t have to feel anxious or ashamed of your emotions, but you do need to deal with them.  If sadness has crept in on you the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge it. Then you need to search your heart to see if there is any chance the sadness is connected to sin present in your life. If it is, repent and ask God to help keep you from falling into that sin in the future. Once we take care of sin, there are a couple of very helpful things we can do to move beyond sadness.  Below are a few of the things I have found helpful in my own walk with God.

In the natural:

  • Exercise – I have found nothing better than exercise for chasing away the blues.
  • Healthy Eating – Eating clean, healthy food the way God intended it.
  • Sleep – Adequate sleep is invaluable to our emotional well-being.

In the spiritual:

  • Thanksgiving – Having a heart of gratitude will do wonders for moving beyond sadness. When we focus on all the things we have to be thankful for, we don’t have time to focus on the things that bring us down!
  • Giving – Giving of our time and resources to those less fortunate than ourselves takes the focus off of our circumstances and on to others.
  • Worship – Again, this gets the focus off of us, and on to Him! He is our everything. He deserves our worship in the good times and in the sad times. The more we worship Him, the more He envelops us in His presence. It’s really hard to stay sad when you are in the presence of Almighty God!

If you’ve tried all that and it seems that none of it is working, don’t despair.  Keep giving it to God (1 Peter 5:7) and keep worshiping Him. Allow Him to work in you and through you. Remind yourself that even the mighty men of God in the Bible experienced sadness, loneliness, and depression. Never give up on God; He will never give up on you. 

In His Love,

-Rebekah L.

All About the Love

“Christianity is the cancer of humankind.”

These jarring words came at me from a friend. He’s a friend who has been let down by life; he has a terminal illness (duchenne muscular dystrophy) and has been hospital-bound for 22 years and surrounded by ‘support’ who really just play emotional head games with him and beat him down as much as possible; he has no real immediate family and little support from his extended family (though they live close by)….and all he knows of God and Christianity seems to be every negative fact about Catholicism, any news stories of the Westboro Baptist church (you know who I’m talking about – that church that crashes the funerals of fallen soldiers and has a website called godhatesfags.com), and a healthy dose of polygamy thrown in. Given that, I can’t exactly blame the guy for not having a very positive view of Christians.

I could make the argument, I suppose, that the whole reason he and I are friends is because I am a Christian.  I volunteered with a muscular dystrophy charity and meant a woman whose son had passed away a few months earlier. In reaching out to her, I realized she in turn was reaching out to anyone and everyone who had this disease and made it to adulthood – a milestone her own son had never reached. She was on the phone with this particular man and handed the phone to me – we lived relatively close to each other. I talked to him for about 2 minutes, and the next day did the obligatory Facebook friending. Seeing his profile on facebook, I realized it was his birthday and nobody had visited, celebrated, or (worst of all, in my opinion) brought cake. This is a cardinal sin in my book. Ignore a person all you want; do not deprive them of their birthday cake (I have excellent birthday priorities).

So, I made a cake. I got together a birthday dinner, and without ever having met this gentleman in person, went to visit him in the hospital where he lived, and threw him a party. I proceeded to visit him every week after that, and learned his medical care and emergency procedures so that he could leave the hospital with me and we could go to a Red Sox. It was the first time he’d been out with a friend in 20 years. He enjoyed himself during those visits, so much so that he started referring to me as his best friend. His friend. Suddenly, he’s forgotten all of that and decided that I’m cancerous.

Am I offended? No. Honestly. I am sad though. I mean, it takes a lot of pain and anger to negate birthday cake. Especially chocolate cake!!! Pain, anger, hate, sadness, and more….I wouldn’t wish that mindset on anybody. So, rather than defend my pride to you (which I’m not supposed to have anyway), let’s back up a bit. Why did I do all that for him? Not because I’m nice or special (if you’ve been reading this blog at all you know I am not that nice at all), but because Jesus wanted to bless this man. Jesus knew he needed a friend. I didn’t think of it like that exactly – my walk with God was a little bit different back then – but even so, I still believed that it is my calling to love people unconditionally, and to give to them and bless them as much as I can. I didn’t use that time or those visits as a stepping stone to proclaim the name of Jesus. Maybe I should have. It didn’t occur to me, honestly. Like I said, my walk was different then.

Still, today I am sure there is a testimony in there somewhere. I did good things for this person, and there is no good in me apart from Jesus Christ. When you tap into it, your ‘good’ can be extraordinary.

However, those aren’t the words that my friend needs to hear right now. He hears all these stories about God’s word twisted into something ugly, and then his Christian friends argue that that’s a false portrayal and Jesus isn’t really like that – that’s great (and true) but it still doesn’t say who Jesus IS. And how can you tell someone who has been so defeated by life that there is a love out there of that magnitude, and that it’s focused on him? To him, hearing that sounds like a crock.

My heart breaks for him and his hatred of God and his emotional pain. I pray for him regularly. I wish I could help him tap into God’s love, even to get just a glimpse of that peace. Then I realize: I can. I can’t exactly tell him  “Jesus is great, give Him a chance and pray to Him sometime”. Actually, I’ve tried that, and I’ve had friends try it too; all it does is shove more religion down his throat that he doesn’t want, and then he shuts down and says he doesn’t want to waste his time. Clearly, his heart is not going to be won by reason or logic or argument, or any words at all.

Yes, we are supposed to boldly proclaim Jesus to the world. It’s one of our callings as Christians. But a bold proclamation doesn’t always mean a verbal one. After all, how do you describe light to the darkness? It’s a totally foreign concept – like explaining colors to a person who is blind. Reason, logic, these are things formed around what he knows, and what he knows is spiritual darkness. But what I can do is love him. I can be God’s vessel. God is love, and forgiveness, and peace – unconditional, unending amounts of them. Not because a person deserves them, but because he exists. He was made by God, so he has an inherent value. It is that simple.

I will continue to pray for him and that God would open his heart – maybe someday the time and place will come for actual conversations. In the meantime, ‘bold’ to me will mean being with him, a source of love and peace and positivity in the face of all the anger and pain he has….’bold’ means listening to the suicidal lyrics of his heavy death metal music that he listens to during every waking hour, and daring to negate them by telling him that his life is worth something. ‘Bold’ can be as simple as love in the face of hate, peace in the face of chaos. I don’t have to preach; nor do I have to hide the fact that I’m keeping him in prayer or that all the good in me is really Jesus Christ. I don’t have to hide or push at all. I simply have to love. God is quite capable of the rest.

I ask you that this week, before you start your day, say a prayer that God’s love and peace will prevail today. That it would flow through you and touch anybody who’s in need of it on a deeper level. Maybe you can even make this a habit. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about any similar stories you have, or even just what God is doing in your life. So write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!!

~Rebekah A