Fighting Despair

How do you avoid despair?

 
I believe one of the biggest mistakes we make in treating weariness, depression, anxiety, or despair, is that we treat it as if people are blinded to all the good flooding in around them and only focusing on one little shadow that covers up their life.
 
Now, that does happen. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve done it myself more often than not… when a fear or evil or bitterness in your life slowly grabs a hold of you, strangling out every last bit of light that you can see till there is nothing else in your life that matters save for that one issue you can let go of… that is a true problem… but I’m also not gonna lie…
 

Life stinks….

 
It does… This world is unfair. The cruel and inhumane win. The only way to earn money is to have money. The ones with good looks or charisma get treated well while the others get overlooked. The people placed in charge are usually the last who deserve to be. The first to be yelled at are usually the least to be able to do anything about it. There are lies, corruption, propaganda, false facts everywhere to the point that it’s near impossible to remember what truth even is anymore. There are a whole world of people people don’t even realize exist. We hold ourselves to the standards of fake lives we’re shown because people are too scared to show that they can’t live up to the standards of the fake lives we show. People are living 5 to a house because the products available to us weren’t designed for this economy. People are working 3 jobs only to make half the income needed to live and spend half of that paying off the debts to schooling that was promised to give them a better life.
 
This world is a rotting cesspit of greed, bitterness, lust, and anarchy, like a train that has long since driven off the tracks and people are beating each other hand and foot to climb to the last car so they can survive just a few seconds longer when it finally hits the ground. So I really don’t think that depression, anxiety, and despair always come from obliviousness. In fact, I sometimes feel that it comes from being able to see too much. Being unable to distract yourself like many can. For seeing the world as it is, and how terrifying a place it has become. How meaningless the set path before us looks. For seeing the people who fell off the road and what happened to them. It’s scary… I know.
 
And yet… at least at this point, I don’t feel despair. This year and a half has been ridiculous. My body’s broken permanently at age 27, lost my job, my finances, my future goals, friendships, opportunities, family members, and more…. I feel trapped.. I’ve been beaten and burned several times, and almost every door I’ve tried has been slammed right in my face. Meanwhile people stand on the sidelines chastising my laziness for not making it through the doors they could easily.
 
There have been times during this last year and a half where I have felt despair… I can probably count on one hand though what those times were like. Those nights when you don’t want to wake up because what future is there for you. When you don’t want to fight anymore because you’ve already lost. When you stop eating, the world starts spinning, you’ve broken out into a cold sweat, and your mouth tastes like something died in it… I have experienced despair a few days… and I’ve had numerous bad days, or days when I just don’t want to push forward anymore… but even still, there’s always been a spark that’s kept me going… and having talked to several people these last few weeks who feel like their lives are worthless, that they’ve seen everything there is to see and there’s just no point in going on… I start to realize that in spite of loss, I’ve also gained something not everyone has.
 
Hope….
 

But what is hope. Where does it come from?

 
First off from God.
 
And no. I don’t mean the half baked “Pray every day and be a good person because those are good life practices that will help you mature” type beliefs that many people push these days… I mean the faith that comes from thinking… from realizing the implications of your faith.
 
Don’t half-bake your faith. God either is or He isn’t. He isn’t here when it’s good doctrine and then gone when it comes to your responsibilities. He isn’t a God you should pray to, but then you’re the one in charge of your own fate. Stop being such contradictory flip flops!
 
DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A GOD?
 
Then stop thinking like this world rests on your shoulders alone.
 
DO YOU BELIEVE GOD CREATED THIS WORLD?
 
Then why do you struggle to realize He can help you too?
 
DO YOU BELIEVE HE IS WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS HE IS?
 
Then why tell yourself He hates you or let these things happen to punish or harm you? Do you think you let God down?? You’re human! You were never holding Him up! At your very best you always were a sinful person unable to save yourself but by the grace of God. Don’t think God suddenly got offended and fed up with you because you struggled with a mistake that even tweaks your conscience!
 
If you believe in God, and that He’s real, and all the Bible says He is… then realize the implications of that.
 
1. You AREN’T alone!
You were never asked for results. You were asked to follow. You were never asked to make things happen. You were asked to trust and believe. You plant the crops. You listen for God. That is hard enough. Don’t try to make the skies rain as well. That was never your place to begin with!
 
2. God does ALL things for your good and for His glory.
Things are going poorly? Your world is falling apart? It feels like you’ve been beaten beyond your abilities? Seek God. Ask to see what you need to learn and to grow stronger for it. In order to rebuild something stronger, you must first take it apart. In order to refine something you must first melt away all the junk. What you see as destruction may actually be rebuilding. God has seen a lot of nasty evil people do some pretty horrendous things. Do you honestly think He decided you would be the one so bad that He’d make special exception tormenting your life? No. He has a reason. Even if that reason is just to slap you awake to realize you never could do this in your own strength. Rely on Him!
 
3. HE is in control!
People do as people do. People will offend you. People will destroy the world. People will do crimes, inhumane acts, talk during movies, all sorts of evil evil things! You may feel like God is losing the fight against so many evil things…. you’re looking at the battlefield at too low a point. This isn’t a battle between good and evil. This is God showing how even the scariest things people may try to do for the worst reasons. The harshest pains. The most hopeless situations… God can turn them all around and do greater good than there ever was loss.
 
Now that you start to realize that you aren’t alone, realize you aren’t powerless either.
 

You are still alive! That means there is still hope!

 
Don’t give up on life. You may feel like you understand where you stand better than anyone else in the world…. but realize this is just your first attempt at life, and most of you probably aren’t even halfway through that attempt yet. Don’t act like you know exactly what you can and cannot do. Don’t act like you can tell the ending from the climax. We read stories and wish we had happy endings like that as well… but we so easily forget that those people didn’t know when the ending would come either… there were times when they felt like there was no hope, no point, no reason to move forward… but they endured. And it was because they endured that they lived long enough to see the ending.

 

Find out what you are living for!

 
No I don’t mean something simple like “To get a job and a family.” I mean seriously ask yourself. If you could be remembered for one thing in your life…. if you could make one impact on the world around you. What would it be?? For me, I decided back in high school. I wanted to make the lives of everyone I met at least a little better than before they met me, and to empower people to do things they never thought they could.
 
This goal is important. Why? Because we’ll have many goals in life. I wanted to be a bush pilot. I wanted to run a spreadsheet design company. I wanted to go to Japan and teach English. To fall in love by 18, get engaged by 21, married by 22, and have kids before 25 so that by the time they were teens I’d still be young enough to keep up with them… yet here I am… almost 28, single, under many health issues, and forget kids, I can’t even keep up with people my age anymore….
 
I’ve had many plans and even more failures…and yet, that initial goal hasn’t changed. In fact, in each failure I’ve had, I’ve learned, I’ve gained resources, contacts, and more…. I haven’t failed my goal yet. I’ve just added more tools to my toolbox I’m using to achieve it.
 
As humans we need something to work towards. We weren’t designed to drift through life… to be dragged down paths we haven’t decided, or to have no idea where we were going. In WWII POW camps they proved that was the greatest torture of all… the loss of purpose… and honestly it’s lethal.
 

YOU

 
HAVE
 

PURPOSE!

 
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Know you aren’t alone. Know you aren’t powerless. You are alive! You are unique! You have something that no one else in this world can bring! It’s okay to take the time to mourn, cry, mope, or more. It’s human. But don’t give up! You’ve got this!
Advertisements

How Can a Good God Let Bad Things Happen?

“How can a ‘Good’ God let bad things happen?”
 
How many people have left the faith for this question? How many churches have split over it? How many people wave it proudly as their banner in their self proclaimed crusades against religion.
 
This year especially I’ve seen this question raised a lot. I’ve met people forever cursed to suffer. Children lose their lives after long battles with sickness. Young adults lose their lives, or even their functional futures after momentary freak accidents. I’ve watched parents and children alike mourn. I’ve watched idiots threaten to destroy the world with their posturing. I’ve watched lives get flipped upside-down, and my own has been flipped so many times I forget which way is up.
 
“How can a ‘Good’ God let Bad Things happen??”
 
The first thing you have to ask yourself is, “Are things really just good or bad?” A birthing is a painful event, but it brings forth a brand new life. Exercising hurts like crazy, but it enables you to live longer and better before. Studying is something I bet we could all do without (I am maybe being stared at judgingly by my abandoned textbooks as I write this) but the intellect we gain gives us so many more options.
 
All gains come at a cost…. but all costs come with some gain. The balance may not always be equal, and sometimes you have to search pretty hard to find what you gained or lost, but it will always be there.
 
That’s the way the world works. Why does it work this way? I am not the creator so I cannot say. I will point out that in order to receive love and worship, the being you receive it from must be sentient (or else it is just lip service), in order for something to be sentient, it must have choice, (lest it be forced to live its life constantly questioning its actions but without being able to control them). And a choice is only as valuable as the consequences to it.
 
Is this the right answer? Unfortunately, this is the only reality I have lived in, and my perspective within it is limited at best. However this does make sense, in my opinion and I believe is a good foundation to work off of.
 
Secondly then, if we accept that we are given choice and in order to be given choice we must also be given consequences to our choices, we must also realize that while everything will fall within God’s plan, not everything is necessarily how God wants it.
 
Have you ever worked with an annoying person? I am sure you have… if you haven’t you probably are the annoying person… in fact even if you have you may be an annoying person in your own way as we all tend to prick and bump each other in ways we don’t necessarily like.
 
When placed in charge of a problematic group, you learn that you have to compromise. Yes you know that that guy’s plan is going to fail. You know that he hasn’t told anyone in charge about it yet has told his team to arrive at the location he hasn’t booked to use the materials he won’t order…. You KNOW that this is going to be a failure… but there comes a point when all you can do is damage control.
 
Message the people in charge so that they are aware and prepared. Try and get what you can together so that when things turn south there is a backup plan. At times you feel like that dog in Loony Toons that would get itself nearly killed trying to let the oblivious cat walk safely through the construction site, but you do what you can to make it work!
 
In the same way, God is looking at the world. Not in our limited human perspective and resources, but as an all knowing God who created all things. He knows that we will make bad choices. He knows that innocent people will often get hurt by them as well as ourselves. But He loves us and lets us keep that free will. He knows that there are consequences to our actions and the actions of those around us, but He plans for them, and gives us people to be there for us through it.
 
AND HE DOES SUPPORT US THROUGH IT!
 
Even if it feels insufficient. Even if we can’t see it in the moment. Even if we feel totally abandoned, no matter how dark the tunnel gets, there is always at least a glimmer of hope.
 
Finally we need to realize, we aren’t done yet. We are hurt. We are beaten. We have lost a lot. We feel unmotivated and unwilling to go forward. But we aren’t beaten yet. Even in death we are not beaten. Do you realize how many people that influence our world are dead? We are not beaten, and we have not only lost. As I said at the beginning. For every gain there is a cost, but for every cost there is a gain.
 
Now it is possible to throw these costs aside. It is possible to devote our lives to bitterness and hatred. To tearing down anyone who even reminds us about our pain. To go on a self righteous crusade of vengeance…. It is possible to waste all the gains you have received through your losses, and become someone who does nothing but cause greater pain and losses to those around you… but even in that, you are gaining. You are gaining the experience and insight that should you ever turn around, and realize just what a destructive and terrifying force you have become…. you become someone who is better able to recognize it in yourself and in others, and as such warn them before they walk the same path you did.
 
You are not beaten yet. Your story is not done. You’ve experienced pain but gained compassion. You’ve felt loss but gained perspective. You feel lost, but have gained determination. You are not beaten yet, and God cannot use you.
 
Following God does not promise an EASY road ahead… anyone who’s read the Bible can tell you that fairly easily. But it does promise “A” road ahead.
 
You are not relying on only yourself! It doesn’t matter if you can’t see a path forward, or if everyone around you has abandoned you, even if you have nothing you can do are invest or give… because it was never about what YOU brought, it was about what God could do through you!
 
So am I saying to stop whining? To suck it up and keep moving forward? That anyone who feels down or complains needs to man up and take it on?
 
Pfft! No! Such advice is ludicrousy!
 
LIFE IS HARD! What you are going through is hard too. You need to mourn. You need to cry. You need to let all your pain and frustrations out. Burying them down to let them build up and boil will help no one.
 
BUT YOU ARE NOT BEATEN!
 
You are strong!
You are irreplaceable!
You have a future!
You’ve got this!
 
/endrant

I Blinked…

I was driving along the 400 a few days ago, when all of a sudden a car appeared right in front of me, clearly not aware (or caring) that I existed.
 
Now thankfully, I grew up in the city, and therefore was pretty used to such homicidal driving styles, and as such, was able to slow down, even on icy snow, enough to not get a newly reshaped front bumper… but I had to ask myself, “How did he appear out of nowhere?” and then it dawned on me…
 
I blinked…
 
Now, a normal person would have just left it there, but anyone who knows me should realize, that I am most definitely not normal… so it really got me thinking….
 
I blinked…
 
See, people know about blind spots…. They know we have areas we are naive and unwise in… we invest millions in technology and training to minimize the effects of those blind spots (much like how we install mirrors on the sides of our car and train ourselves to look way back before turning so we can keep an eye on our blindspots) but that doesn’t change the fact that….
 
We blink….
 
This usually doesn’t affect us much. It’s usually something we don’t have to pay much attention to. After all, we usually only blink for a second, and we can usually catch ourselves afterwards pretty quickly… but as any gamer can tell you…. a lot can happen in the fraction of a second…
 
and so we blink….
 
we miss stuff… we get blindsided by things… We make incorrect assumptions due to corrupted observations. It’s not always bias. It’s not always pride. It’s not always incompetence, laziness, stupidity… sometimes…
 
We just blink…
 
I think this is important to realize. ESPECIALLY in today’s modern age. I see so many people running themselves into the ground with anxiety. They have to micromanage every aspect of their children’s lives or their children will rebel! They have to micromanage every part of their finances or they will be blindsided by debt. They have to micromanage every calorie of their health, or else they’ll end up overweight, sick, and dying of cancer…. but here’s the thing…
 
You can learn every technique, manage every detail, download every app, buy every fitbit, protein shake, gross kale combination, and non-everything recipe book you can find… but at the end of the day….
 
You blink….
 
You can manage your health as well as you can, but then one accident will send you down a rabbit hole of slow recoveries and missed medical issues because….
 
you blinked…
 
You can save every penny. Squeeze 50 cents out of every nickel, live as frugally as you can… but then one lost job and bad economy later, you find yourself having anxiety attacks every bill you get, because…
 
You blinked…
 
You can focus on “Fixing every mistake your parents made with you.” Read every pinterest article. Be the most empowering parent you can possibly be giving your children every frivolity and experience you feel you lacked in life, yet still have them rebel against you and say they hate you when they hit teenagehood because while you were focused on what to do you missed that….
 
You blinked…
 
You can do every thing you can imagine. And study further to learn things you couldn’t imagine… but no matter how responsible, strong, or mature you may become…. you will never be able to fix the fact that you are human…
 
You will blink…
 
And that’s why we can’t take the stress and strain of the results of our lives on our own shoulders. We were never designed to be able to handle such a vast and broad thing. Our perspective is tiny and limited. No matter how much experience we gain, we will never be able to grasp every detail we need to to know what the result will be.
 
But that’s okay. Because God knows that we are weak. He made us this way. God never asks us to “Make this happen.” God tells us what He’ll do through us and asks us to trust Him enough to follow Him as He does it…. And it’s hard… and it’s scary…. I write this honestly not knowing if I even have a future worth seeing…. In all honesty, if I was to carry it all on my shoulders there would be no point… I am way too small and far too many of my plans have fallen short by this point… but I’m going to keep following, and I’m going to keep trusting…
 
Even though I can’t say I feel it every day… God is with me… I may not see any freedom… but I would not have lasted this long without Him… It is honestly one of the hardest lessons to learn…. but at the end of the day I give me best… that is all I am ABLE to give… Sure, I’ll look back, and there will be things I SHOULD have done differently. I’ll see things I was dumb on. See things I could have avoided… I already do… but as I’ve kept saying…
 
I blink….
 
So I’m not going to rely on my eyes which blink. I’m not going to rely on my ears that misshear. I’m not going to trust my sense of touch that can go numb…. I’m going to trust God, who says to keep moving forward and trust in Him… because if I do that, the results are His, and it doesn’t matter if…
 
I blink

How Long Is The Storm

As I read the story of the disciples in the storm where they cried to wake Jesus so he could save them… I can’t help but wonder…
 
If their faith hadn’t faltered, would the storm have gotten worse?
 
Would it have continued until they were battered and beaten against the walls of the ship?
 
Would it have continued till the ship was battered apart into pieces?
 
Would it have continued until they had floated to land, cold and scared?
 
If this was the case… wouldn’t God still have protected them? But the path would have been quite a trial…
 
CS Lewis once wrote “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” and I find I can relate to that a lot… especially these days…
 
As my funds whither away to nothing… as my attempts to move forward get beaten back one after another… as my paths forward get increasingly less and less as my health checkups reveal problem after problem… As my daily prayers go by and still my circumstances don’t change…. I think it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed….
 
I am not strong… I simply have forgotten how to give up at this point… there are days I feel like a mutilated corpse, dragging itself forward by muscle memory alone… but even still… even should this whole life prove for not… God is still in control….
 
I see His hand in the little things in life. I see His comfort come when I ask for it. Though the giants still stand before me, and their execution axe are nearly at my neck…. though I feel chained to the ground by past stupidities and circumstances, and in spite of my cries God will neither loosen the chains nor defeat my attackers… it is impossible to say His hand is not present… it is impossible to say He is not in control. It is impossible to say He has abandoned me or Cannot save me… God is God. God is good. God is always here…
 
But it is also impossible to say I am not scared… I know God will look out for me. I know God will always be there… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t paths I’m scared to go down…. that doesn’t mean there aren’t paths I’m not scared to trust God even if He decides to take me down them. It doesn’t mean there aren’t paths I pray day after day and night after night that God will pull away from me lest I be forced to face them..
 
This is probably a lack of faith… This may be even why He does not bring them away until He proves that He is still God when brought through my fears… but that is where I am currently at in my state of human weakness.
 
But God is still God… God is still good. For all who go through life problems. For all who suffer and strain. For all who fear in spite of weakness…. I don’t know if I can say you’re right or wrong… but I can say you’re not alone…. I can also say that while Jesus did scold the disciples for their lack of faith, He also did dispel the storm in the end… Though I write this from the center of the storm. Though I write this at the peak of exhaustion… All I can say is pray. Give your best and trust in God. At the end of the day it was never your shoulders this was all resting on anyways. God is in control. Let Him be.
 
Amen

Lessons From Weakness:

It’s been over 5.5 months since I injured both my legs, and I still have over a month to go before my appointment which will take me (potentially only one step) closer towards finding out if I’ve really had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or not (which the more I research it, the more I’m surprised of, if nothing else, how many people have lived through surprisingly similar stuff as me) and there has honestly been a lot that I’ve learned. Some positive, some negative, but all of which can be used to either make you grow kinder or harder hearted.

 

  1. It’s Surprising What You Can be Secretly Confident/Proud Of:

 

I have never considered myself to have that strong of an upper body, (though a lot of people apparently thought I did since I’m short and stocky…) but I had always been proud of my leg strength. They honestly always felt like they were made of solid iron. I could leap several feet away with a flick of my ankle, I could jump off walls, my sense of balance was pretty awesome, and mixed with a quick reaction time, there wasn’t much I felt I couldn’t do with them.

 

Ever since the injury however, walking on them has felt like they were being supported by bones of shattered glass. They randomly start shaking and give out on me. I tip over, or roll my ankle quite often, and quite honestly, merely stomping, jumping, jogging, or bracing myself feels like a series of tiny fractures popping all the way up my leg at once.

 

Where once my legs were the force I could rely on, their strength now pales in comparison to my upper body strength… and I’m not gonna lie, that’s hard to take.

 

  1. You’re Gonna Still Feel Like You Should be Able to do The Things You Once Did, And Will Feel Like a Wuss for Failing:

 

There are so many times these days that I go to lift something that originally was barely even noticeable, only to find me having to put it down 4 steps later lest your legs collapse underneath you. And you mentally kick yourself for it.

 

Because you know “It’s not heavy” that “This isn’t hard.” that “If I just push myself I could do it.” But that’s your muscle memory talking… not your body.

 

I honestly thought that if you suddenly lost half your strength, trying to lift 25lbs would just feel like lifting 50lbs did. But that’s not the way it works. 25lbs, still feels like 25lbs, but your body will NOT carry it long before screaming at you for being an idiot trying to carry it across the yard.

 

  1. The Pain is Not the Worst Part:

 

People don’t like pain… I have come to discover this… I don’t like pain… this is why, when I discovered people don’t normally live in chronic pain 24/7 I felt kinda jipped/furious! But the fear of pain will always be worse than pain itself.

 

If you live in pain long enough, your body will start to try and mask it out. On a lower level this works fairly well… you may notice you have less headaches if you take a painkiller instead of having your body try and compensate (though you will instantly regret that decision once the painkiller wears off) but when the pain grows to certain levels, it turns into a maddening numbness.

 

If you have ever pulled an all-nighter, you may know what this feeling is like. It essentially feels like your brain is too big for your skull. Like the parts of your body are layered on top of you vs actually being a part of you. This mixed with the feeling like your body is honestly hollow (Like mentioned above) creates this very surreal and rather unpleasant feeling that honestly, I would rather live without.

 

The worst part of all though, is when your body just “Gives out.” it’s not that you’re tired. It’s not that you notice your muscles aching because you’re pumping so much stinking adrenaline… but you’ll be walking along and suddenly *BAM* it just tries to collapse under you. You try to pick yourself up again only to find it doesn’t work… it is such a helpless feeling and honestly you feel ridiculously vulnerable during it. It is hard to take.

 

  1. There Really is a Bias About Guys and Manual Labor:

 

This one’s gonna get me in trouble… but I’m sorry… it’s real. And it’s frustrating. The amount of times people look at you like you’re the scum of the earth because you can’t be the uber strong guy doing uber strong things is ridiculous!

Not wanting to touch on this too long because I feel the angry mob forming outside with every word I type, but all I can say is this… the same way it’s frustrating for a girl to be told they can’t do ____ physical job, it’s frustrating to be told they’d rather not hire guys for _____ mental job. I mean I have a diploma in business, am acing a BA in business, taught myself to hold a basic conversation in Japanese, am teaching myself programming, write essay length Facebook statuses on rather advanced topics that was asked to be turned into a blog (check out www.macyaks.wordpress.com for shameless plug), can write professional business letters off the top of my head, am able to manipulate large amounts of variables in my head at one time, basically think in Gant charts, am a certified Excel Specialist, and more! I have abilities! Please stop judging my worth by how many heavy boxes I can move in how short a time!

 

  1. There are Many Ways to Keep Moving:

 

Life changes… you find yourself struggling to do things that you couldn’t do before. You’ll find it hard to carry down your laundry, to carry in your groceries, to drive for long periods of time, walk on uneven ground… there are so many things that change so quickly… but that doesn’t mean you just roll over and die.

There are many ways to move forward. If you can’t push past something, look for a way to work around it. Put it on wheels. Go down one step at a time. Cruise Control is an amazing invention. Park benches are as well. You may have to give more thought, but you don’t have to give up!

 

  1. It is Alright to Admit It Hurts:

 

This is one of the hardest parts for me. It’s one I’ve struggled with for a long time. However, reading through life stories and testimonies of people suffering from EDS I’ve come to realize I’m really not alone on this.

 

It is alright to say you hurt…. in fact, if you don’t say you hurt, no one is going to know.

 

Some people will roll your eyes. Others may try to tactfully trick you into “Growing up.” but realize these people can’t live in your body. Nor can you live in theirs. We can say “I’m in pain.” but what does pain feel like? Do we all feel it the same way? Are we all used to the same level?

 

The concept that someone can live with a distracting level of throbbing/stabbing pain in multiple parts of their body 24/7 without having a visible injury or doctor’s note saying “Their bones are broken.” is ludicrous to some people. Their bodies have never worked that way…

 

But the thing is, if they just continue believing your body feels as healthy as theirs is, you’re just going to frustrate and confuse them when they wonder why you can’t keep up with the same activities they do.

 

Admit it’s hard for you. If they can’t accept that from you, they would’ve never accepted you in the first place.

 

  1. You Will Get MANY Mixed Reactions:

 

We live in a world of polarized extremes. “Invisible Disabilities” seems to be a word that drives people to their respective pitchforks and torches.

 

Half the people you talk to will cry out “You need to go to your government! And demand that they give you supplements! You need support workers! And medication! And we will rally with signs to protest for you! (which not gonna lie is kind of encouraging to have people fight so hard for you… even if in some cases it’s more they want to have a cause to get behind)

 

The other half will cry out about how “Kids these days are such wusses! You just need to get out and exercise! Get desperate! Light a fire under you backside and put your nose to the grindstone! Then things will look up! You just haven’t really tried yet!” (and admittedly there are times you want to slap these people upside the head and yell “IF EFFORT WAS THE PROBLEM THEN YOU GUYS WOULD BE FAILING MORE THAN I AM RIGHT NOW!” but honestly, they do mean well, and there are a bunch of people taking advantage of the system, but ya… tact people, tact)

 

The truth though is… you are what you are… they are what they are… people will either accept that or not accept that, but reality is reality…. Keep fighting to give your best, not to keep up with them, but because that’s how we grow as human beings! You are neither entitled to an easier life than most, nor condemned to a miserable one trying to keep up with others.

 

  1. Your Best is Good Enough…. (But it Will Rarely Feel Like It!):

 

You hear it a lot these days: “Just give your best! Don’t worry about the results! Just keep giving it your all and realize that things will always work out for someone who gives their best! Great things happen for those who give their best! You can accomplish anything if you only give your best!”

 

But here’s the thing… Just because you give your best… doesn’t mean you’ll hit the standard…

 

No matter how hard you try, a failing grade is still a failing grade

No matter how hard you try, if you go broke you go broke

No matter how hard you try, if you’re unemployed, you’re unemployed

No matter how hard you try, if you can’t afford food you starve

 

There is a reality that people rarely talk about… either the people who write these posts are lucky enough to never reach those points of worry, or they just try not to think about these parts. But these problems nag at you. And all the inspirational speeches in the world can’t compete with the frustrations you feel.

 

But here’s the thing. You’re still growing! You may not be able to deal with the threats that are stressing you out right now. But you are still growing! You’re growing wiser! You’re growing stronger! You’re growing more compassionate! Don’t underestimate what you’re earning through these times!

 

Our life experiences may not always be pleasant… they may be painful, and they may feel like we can’t get what we want. But if you just throw these moments away as “Wasting your life.” That is all you’ll have…. Years of your life that you’ve just thrown away, when you’ve learned so much through that time that WILL help you for years in the future! Don’t underestimate the value of what you’ve learned!

 

  1. God’s Still in Control:

 

You’re not here to please others. You’re not here to acquire great wealth or power. You’re not even here to survive as long as you can manage. These are not the keys to your success or failure! You are here to serve God and go where He leads. You are here to see the amazing things He can do through you.

 

Once again, this is a touchy subject because of the divide. Beyond the “Religion/IHATERELIGION” sides which seem to be growing more and more volatile these days, there is also, within the church the “God will give you everything/God wants you to provide for yourself.” Sides which grow further and further apart ever spurned by their fear of the other.

 

God will provide for you… I cannot begin to point out how many verses in the Bible point this out. Even the parable of the talents that many like to turn to as to say “LOOK! GOD WANTS US TO TAKE CHARGE AND MAKE OUR OWN WAY!” ….let me point out, that

  1. a) They did not “earn” money, they invested it
  2. b) The servant was not scolded for not earning money, he was scolded for doing nothing with his talent
  3. c) God was the one who gave them the talents in the first place, not them.

 

God will provide for us. God WANTS us to rely on Him. This is not to say, “Oh just C’est la Vie! Life will do what life will do, but God will save my butt no matter what I do!” no… the Bible is also very clear that that is ALSO not right…. But stop beating yourself up over what you will eat and where you will sleep… God literally says that He’s got that covered. (Full disclosure: I rarely sleep or eat for fear of these two so I am not condemning you as weak if you are worried about it, just reminding you of what’s promised.)

 

But realize as well, that God providing doesn’t mean He’ll prepare the path YOU want… in fact it usually means the reverse of that.

 

We like our control. Well… let’s be honest, I’ve never met a human in my life who is truly in control of their life so… we like our ILLUSION of control. Whether we’re being led by our emotions, our desires, our fears, or our idols, we like to believe we are the ones taking charge of our lives and plowing the way.

 

God doesn’t beat around the bush. He isn’t here to give you freedom and power to make your dreams come true. He is here to lead you down the path He has in store for you and grow closer in relationship with you in order to show you the good He can do through you as well as how much your dreams PALED in comparison to His reality!

Though the road may be scary. Though you may lose things you thought you could not do without. Realize He’s got you and He’s still looking out for you!

Don’t run off the road when things look scariest and you want to grab the wheel and run for where you think looks safest… those are the times you need to rely on Him most! Don’t make a dark situation even worse! He doesn’t just want to make you happy, He wants to make you mighty! He made you, He knows you, He loves you. TRUST!

 

  1. You Haven’t Lost Until You Give Up!

 

I used to say “You haven’t lost until you’re dead.” But this isn’t entirely true… There are many who did not succeed until after they died.

 

Don’t give up. The moment you do, it’s all over. But as long as you keep fighting, there’s still a chance you’ll succeed!

 

You’ve come too far to give up! We are far too limited in our perspective of the here and now to see just how the present will be used in the future… but nothing is wasted. No effort is useless. No life accomplishes nothing.

You are strong.

You are influential.

You’ve got this!

Hang in there

 

 

A Prayer of Exhaustion

A prayer for when pushed past your limits:
 
Lord I am scared. I am worn out, defeated. I wake up dreading each new day, I go to bed late not wanting the day to end. I’ve given you my best, but it consistently has fallen far short as has been needed, and quite honestly I can’t even tell which way is forward anymore let alone how to get there.
 
But still YOU are GOD.
 
I pray that you save me. That you give me a path forward. For I am weak and cannot walk this path anymore. But even moreso I pray that if this is truly the path you would have me walk that you give me the strength to move forward. For how many could you save through one servant’s suffering? How many years of blessings could you bring in turn for this short period of pain?
 
I am broken, and in pain. I have lost so much yet still fear losing more. Each time I feel I’ve hit bottom, I am shown that there is still lower I can and will go. But more than my fear of losing what I have… I fear leaving your plans when they are still only half finished.
 
No matter where I am, nor what I have, nor what I am dealing with, you are watching over me, and you will provide. Even if many of my things I think I need go unanswered… even if I feel powerless watching those around me hurt and suffer knowing I have nothing left to give them… you will still provide when it is truly needed. You will let me feel the heat. You may even let me scorch. But you will not let me be destroyed.
 
Lord I pray again for I am scared. I am truly afraid and terrified. Yet I have seen your hand working so clearly throughout this all. I have seen you again and again working even if not in the areas I wish you were. Lord I am scared. I am scared. I am scared. These giants in my life are far larger than me. And I lay here chained in place half by my own doings. Lord forgive me for what sins I have done to bring me to this place, but also do not let your work be hampered by my own weakness. Lord to me these chains are lethal. Choking and restraining. To you they are brittle. Petty and weak.
 
Lord. I pray not for you to save me. Though I truly desire to be saved. I pray that you use me. That you use these circumstances to help me grow, and to encourage those around me. What a waste of suffering it would be if you brought me this far just to bring me back to where I left off. Lord I pray. I am not some victim struggling to survive. I am YOUR servant! Servant of the most high God!
 
Lord, if you are willing, I pray that you take this meager life, and use it to create an impact that only you can. For what do I have but you? What can I get that is not from you?
 
Lord, strengthen my heart, widen my understanding. Let these things soften me to become empathetic, not harden me to become bitter. Lord I am struggling. Lord I will fall. Lord I already have many times. Please Lord. I am yours. Do your way with me.
 
Amen

Proof in Pain

What do you do when things keep going wrong?

I don’t mean you get called out for the corners you cut, at least then you would have the comfort in believing that things would be better if you pushed yourself harder… I mean, what do you do when you push yourself far beyond your limits daily, you address every sin you can think of, you organize yourself, you face things you don’t like doing, cut things out of your life that hold you back, pray daily and hard, read your bible daily and intently, seek wisdom of others, and you still fail! (Not that you are perfect but if life required perfection, which ones of us could stand?) When the problems that keep coming up aren’t from lack of foresight, but incredibly unlikely things which mercilessly barrage you and threaten to overtake you. “If it’s out of your hands, why worry about it?” Is comforting until most of your life is out of your hands… until you find yourself continuously backed into a corner… as your own strength and endurance is continually taken away from you, as the size of your problems only seem to multiply…

What do you do when life is unfair, there is no hope, and the harder you pray, the more ridiculously hard life gets?

You find hope in that…

Because there is no logical reason for all of this to happen… because it is totally unfair to suffer so much when others who work half as hard end up 10x more successful and relaxed. Because it makes no sense that the harder you pray for deliverance, the harder your suffering becomes…. it makes no sense unless you consider life simply trying to tell you to grow up and take life in your own hands.

But why would life try to say that? Why would a non sentient state of being alter the forces of our world just to get that point across? The only way is if there were an entity of great power trying to make one give up hope that there is an entity of great power. The only one who would benefit for the denial of their own existence is one who wishes to destroy you, or the devil. The only reason the devil would work so hard to make you give up would be if there was one he was trying to keep you from seeing.

The world says, “Because there is suffering there is no God.” I say, “because there is suffering there MUST be God!”

Take faith, walk strong, pray!