Have you ever had one of those days when it seems like everything goes wrong? Some people experience weeks, months or even years in this kind of situation. The advice “just think positive” doesn’t always work. So what should you do?
The little things pile up
Many times it’s not one big problem but many little things instead. Or maybe a certain stumbling block just won’t go away. Even minor issues can take up a lot of your time (ever try to change cable service?). In these moments, every new misfortune takes on monstrous proportions. It’s like having a big load in your arms, and someone asks you to carry an egg – so you have to stick it in your mouth.
Being overwhelmed is real – it’s not all in your head. You might experience a string of inconveniences or even outright disasters. However, your reaction to negative events makes a big difference. If you’ve had a breakdown just because someone spilled some milk, then you know how stress can affect everything.
It’s easier to navigate a crisis when you have clarity and peace. Here are some methods you can try to maintain a healthy outlook:
- Remember that problems usually don’t last forever
- Try to focus on one problem at a time
- Resolve the most nagging issues first
- Recognize what’s going right in your life
- Visualize a future where the problems are solved
- Accept the things that you are powerless to change
- Be aware that trials produce patience and character
- Go for walks to clear your head
- Don’t add anything to your schedule (just say “no”)
- Ask for help
Even though these methods are useful, some of them echo the “just think positive” advice that oftentimes doesn’t work. And what about the problems that do last forever?
Many times, faith lives at the limits of psychology. For some Christians when things go wrong, Satan is blamed for these attacks. While this might – or might not – be true, the Devil certainly enjoys seeing us stressed out or paralyzed in despair.
In chapter 20 of Jeremiah, the prophet hears “many whispering ‘Terror on every side!’” And that’s exactly what it is; the enemy trying to convince you that your life is a disaster. Many fall into this temptation, and once they start believing Satan’s lies, things get worse.
Stand up and fight
Jeremiah goes on to say, “the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.” Who are your persecutors? Pessimism and the lack of hope. These are the things that keep you from invoking the “mighty warrior” that is our Living God.
When you feel like everything is going wrong there can be a palpable resistance to prayer. You feel like you have to do something, anything, besides pray. It seems like a waste of time or you’re just too exasperated. But know this: God fights for you fiercely. He’s a mighty warrior that will rise up to cast out evil and doubt. Cry out to him and things will change.
Remove your doubt
You might think that prayer isn’t practical, but have you tried it? Begin by sitting quietly and saying, “God I’m here. Speak to me.” If your mind begins to race, just let it. Let your thoughts unwind naturally, but stay aware that you are in God’s presence. As your mind begins to clear, praise God and ask him for help. You can use simple phrases like:
- I praise you Lord.
- Fight for me God, I need you now.
- Dear Jesus, I trust in you.
These words have a tremendous power to put things in order. Just talk to God as you would a close friend. As your prayer continues you will experience something incredible – you will begin to think clearly and realistically. God won’t always take problems away, but he will give you the right mind to face your challenges. This is the Holy Spirit making a concrete difference in your life. And difficulties will be resolved in ways you never imagined.
One thing is clear, Satan certainly does not want you to seek God’s presence. Evil wants you to remain emotionally isolated and convinced that your life is a series of failures. Sometimes you have to nearly force yourself to pray. And when you do, the truth comes out. What is the truth? The truth is that you are loved by a great God who forgives you and places you upon a throne with his Son. Satan does everything in his power to hide this truth from you. But a simple prayer and a moment of grace can dispel the darkness.
No way out?
Some situations do not end. Illness, death and loss exist, and sometimes no amount of faith can prevent this. God does not always offer solutions that fit our vision of the world. Instead he lets us see things from the perspective of his Kingdom where things like mercy, forgiveness and love rule. In God’s plan, you can overcome even the most difficult situations since the Spirit gives you the strength to stand up and keep going.
We know God hears our suffering and showed it in the most profound way. He sent his Son to suffer with us and for us, even to the point of taking away all the badness that we so easily bring upon ourselves and the world. When Christ’s truth sinks in, a spirit of humility grows in your heart. And perhaps Jesus’ greatest way to deal with adversity was his humility.
For Jesus it seemed like everything was going wrong too. His friend betrayed him and his disciples left him. One of his most loyal apostles denied him. Then Jesus was sentenced to death even though his innocence was unquestionable. But in every moment, Jesus looked to his Father – he gave it all up to God and the end result was glorious.
Image source (modified).