What do you do when you’re weighed down with heaviness and sadness? I asked myself this question last week. Why was I carrying such weight inside? I suspected a couple of conversations triggered my feelings. One, with my neighbor friends, veered into the topic of special children and how difficult it is to raise them. I surprised myself when I had to bite my lip to keep from crying. It was hard to see that my heart is still so tender toward my daughter and her lack of maturity.
In a different conversation, I discussed, with big feelings, something else that’s been unresolved for too long. Right after that one, a third worry pelted me. The common threads in the three were lack of resolution and people I care deeply about.
My instinct in earlier years would have been to avoid negative feelings. As a single mom I busied myself constantly and had no time to consider my emotional health. The goal was to be happy. I was a Christian for Pete’s sake. Christians aren’t sad, they trust in God. Was this a theme in our church at the time, or was it unhealthy pressure I put on myself? I’m not sure, but I know now that it wasn’t right.
This time, I evaluated my thoughts. I wanted to learn from them and find ways to be healthy and feel better.
The heaviness, I decided, could be identified as sadness and frustration. There’s nothing more frustrating than unresolved issues you can’t change.
When you watch people you love struggle, and you can’t control the outcomes, what do you do?
I remembered many years ago when I was distraught over my first husband leaving, my pastor urged me to read the Psalms. I understood why when I opened that huge book of passionate poetry and songs. David acknowledged his sorrow, pain and hopelessness. He confessed his sins and worshipped God, his only hope.
King David’s amazing writings* encourage us today.
For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery, a refuge during troubling times.Psalm 9:9
When your soul is famished and withering, He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live. He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth.Psalm 103:5
The Eternal is my light amidst my darkness and my rescue in times of trouble. So whom shall I fear? He surrounds me with a fortress of protection. So nothing should cause me alarm.Psalm 27:1
Make me hear of your faithful love in the morning for I trust in You. Teach me how I should walk, for I offer my soul up to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Eternal One, for you are my shelter from them. Teach me how to do your will for you are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along your path.Psalm 143:8-10
I encourage you to meditate on the Psalms when you need comfort. Make them your prayers. David was certainly not one to deny his feelings. The Psalms show us how to be honest and how to rely on God.
Here are some other practical tips that may help:
Pray and don’t give up.
I’ve prayed the same prayers for years and haven’t received the answers I want. How can I reframe or rethink these scenarios and be grateful? “God, help me to see my heart as You see it. What have I to learn from this long prayerful desire? How do You want me to change?”
I’ll continue to pray, knowing God can break through with a miracle or an answer at any moment. I lay it all down at His feet.
Own my part of the problem, if applicable.
Maybe I should say and do nothing, but, if appropriate, I can offer hope and possibilities for the situation, through my words and actions.
Listen to worship music.
Write a gratitude list.
When we’re focused on something negative it’s hard to remember all the good things around us. Be intentional and look for the good, then make a list each day.
Arrange your schedule to get to bed earlier, skip a show and be intentional about what you hear or read before bed. Go to https://tranquiliving.com to get my free PDF for more info.
Drink more water.
Talk to a friend.
I was comforted and encouraged when I shared my pain with a close friend. It improves my perspective when I get out of my head and listen to another person. We can’t do this life alone.
Don’t read occasionally. Don’t listen to God’s Word only at church. Develop a solid habit of opening your Bible every day. Capture the fresh message He has for you every single time. His word is life!
Eat well. Eat light.
Serve someone. Use gifts to encourage others.
Write letters, invite a neighbor to dinner or help a friend with her project.
Never give up. Live in hope and expectancy.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations3:19-23 NIV
*Psalm references from The Voice Bible