Counselor’s Corner: Enjoying Life in the Middle of Difficult Circumstances
Chances are if you have been going through a difficult circumstance that is unrelenting, you have had difficulty enjoying life. Depression can loom over you as you trudge through the muck and the mire of your adversity. Some mornings you just feel like pulling the covers over your head and would rather stay in bed until the calamities have passed. It is one thing to have a difficulty come through your life and leave, but it is entirely different when a difficulty parks and stays a while. Grief hits you smack in the face, and you begin to sink further and further like you were in quicksand. You don’t share with a lot of people what you are experiencing, because you are afraid the weights of what you carry will sink them as well.
It is possible to enjoy your life in the middle of your deepest and darkest pain, or what I like to refer to as, “the dark night of the soul, however, it won’t come easily. You will have to become a resilient fighter. You will have to decide one day when you have had enough of the enemy stealing your life, to choose to get up and live again. If the enemy cannot take you out physically, he will use your pain to turn you against God and rob you of the joy that is your inheritance.
Your pain is real and there is a time to grieve what you have endured or lost, but deep mourning should not be a continually theme in your life. Yes, it is hard to let go of people you love or accept the reality of a situation. When you place those seemingly impossible heartaches into God’s care, peace can rule in your heart. An exchange takes place when you say to God, “I can’t do this anymore, take it from me.” This exchange can open up the channels to begin enjoying your life again. Surrender is key to enjoying life again.
Reflect and ponder: How can you enjoy life when just getting out of bed is a chore? What do you do when your pain overshadows every blessing in your life? Are you willing to fight to get your life back and enjoy what is good in your life? Remember, this won’t come easy if you have been enduring the same difficulties for years. The enemy has enjoyed you being in the pit with no way out, and don’t be surprised as you are climbing out of the pit, he tries to kick you back in. This is where a “don’t give up, no matter what” stance must come over you. If you get kicked back in the pit, quickly get up and out, don’t look around that familiar pit that you are used to. Have a set mind that you will enjoy life again, no matter what!
Practical tips for enjoying life in the middle of difficulties:
1. Let go of everything that you cannot change. Accept what you cannot change. If you have tried over and over to change a situation or person and it has not worked yet-let go!
2. Limit your “talk” time about your difficult situation. It is okay to share with trusted people, but not 3-4x a week. Run to the throne more than the phone. Opening your mouth and spewing out to other people your woe’s continually or without just cause, can open you up for more problems. Be careful who you share your personal information with. It can bring you true joy to find like-minded people who can walk beside you, and you know they got your back. It is another thing to deal with people who bring you more pain than gain. To enjoy your life again, you will need to stop allowing drainers, whiners, complainers, and manipulators into your life.
3. Simplify your life, cut out all non-essentials. Going through difficult times can deplete you of energy. Learn to say, “No,” and say it as often as needed. If someone complains or makes you feel bad about saying, “No,” just ask them if they would like to “walk a mile in your shoes.” Get plenty of rest and take as many stay-cations as you can. Enjoy the simple things in life, a stroll around your block or breakfast in bed.
4. Learn when you need to pull away from the “crowds.” There are times being with other believers is good and fellowshipping with them, but there is also times where solitude can render inner peace and times of reflection. Being still with God can only happen when you are quiet. There are many times that God will call you to the “still waters.” I am called to these still waters often and I no longer fight these times, but accept that God wants to speak to me and bring me comfort.
5. Protect your “sanctuary.” My sanctuary is my home, it is the place I have peace the most. This is why I guard my sanctuary carefully. I am very careful who comes in and out of my place of peace and rest.
6. No more living bound in guilt. Guilt and condemnation are straight from the enemy. If God wants you to do something, He will give His grace, strength and peace. Guilt steals all joy.
7. Make it a daily habit to bring all your worries and concerns to God. Take a few minutes and pray over your worries and then consciously leave them with God.
8. Take good care of yourself. Eat balanced meals, exercise, sleep at least 7-8 hours every night, take a multivitamin, and spend time with God as often as you can (daily if possible). The presence of God can bring you much joy. When you feel good physically by taking care of yourself, you can enjoy your life more.
9. Do something that brings you pleasure or happiness at least 2-3x per week. Maybe a movie and popcorn, planting flowers, painting, or taking a bike ride bring you pleasure. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life as well such as bird watching or swinging on a swing.
10. Encourage someone or cheer someone up. Be a blessing to someone.
11. CHOOSE to focus on what is good in your life, and say out loud daily or write down at least 5 things that you are thankful for.
12. Stop asking, “Why me.” No more being a victim and feeling sorry for yourself. Being negative drains you, instead speak life, blessings and the Word of God over yourself.
13. Learn to laugh again. You did as a child when you had no worries. Watch a funny movie or comedian (clean though).
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.
Is it time for you to dance?
MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES:
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the fullest, overflowing).