If you, or someone you love, is suffering
If you are having a really bad month…week…year…this may help!
I know when you’re in the midst of something difficult that you’re not ready for Seven Points to a Problem-Free Life. Easy answers and formulas can be insulting when you’re hurting. And it’s all right to remember when you are going through Something Really Big that you may need time to absorb what’s going on in your life. It’s okay. Be there. Grieve, if you have to. Be angry. Sit with the questions.
But when you’re tired of being a victim, or tired of being consumed by whatever-is-consuming-you, and you’re ready for life again, here are seven steps to help you. Just a word: I lived these. They are effective. I post these seven steps today in the hope that they may be helpful to you or to someone you know.
1. Release the Healing Power of Words. Words are powerful. They create atmosphere. First of all, use words of truth. See your situation for what it actually is. Tell the truth to yourself, first. You may do this through keeping a journal; being in a support group; going out in the woods and yelling. Whatever works for you. But then, apply Words of Scripture to your truth. Focus on words of hope. Words of comfort; words of faith. Eat them. Memorize them. Slowly but surely, they will start to help you heal.
2. Care for Your Self. If you have a friend who has been through incredible highs and lows, or prolonged stress, you would tell that friend to take care of him or her self. Get some sleep, exercise. Eat good food. Maybe it’s time for you to start caring for your own self as that friend. The mind/body connection is powerful, and stress can take it out of you. Find what restores you, and do it. (I love to hike and be outside. It restores me as nothing else can.)
3. Reach Out to Other People. It may be the last thing you want to do! You may want to crawl in a cave and hide. But we need people. People need us. When we went through our crisis, I learned to be shameless about asking for prayer, and the prayers and caring of others sustained us. And then, later…reaching out to other people from your pain is even more healing, more redemptive.
4. Put One Food in Front of the Other! I call this “patient endurance.” It’s so un-glamorous, and so daily! Just keep going. Embrace the journey—as Ps. 84 says, “Keep your heart set on pilgrimage.” Keep going, my friend. Walk “through” the valley; don’t stay there.
5. Sing a New Song! We are so emotion-driven, and tend to think we are what we feel. But we can choose to walk in joy and praise. We can choose to count our blessings; we can choose to be grateful; we can choose to put ourselves in the company of positive, praising people. This is a powerful principle.
6. Let Go! This can mean choosing to forgive—ourselves as well as others. This can mean letting go of expectations. It can mean letting go of trying to fix things. Surrender!
7. Trust. Letting go allows us to trust. That’s the bottom line. We can choose to trust God—to accept that our Creator is a God of the seasons. Where we are now is a precursor to the next season. We can wait on Him, and trust Him to show up.
There is no permanent calamity for any child of God;
Way stations all, at which we briefly stop
Upon our homeward road.
Our pain and grief are only travel stains which shall be wiped away, Within the blessed warmth and light of home,
By God’s own hand some day.
Life is filled with different kinds of losses—some are straightforward, some are more complicated and lingering.
What brings you comfort, and what has helped you rediscover the joy of life?
 These are from my book, Surviving One Bad Year