To begin, I’m not a naturally chipper person. In fact, I’m very reserved, serious, and analytical. If life were a math problem, I’d probably spend hours trying to solve it. I love that about myself…at times. But, in times like this week, I wish I were more carefree and that my mind wasn’t always churning. I longed to wake up smiling and happy just to be alive, but I didn’t. I was defeated.
Instead of arising to birds chirping, I woke up with thoughts of how poorly my week was going and dreading having to face people, which would require me to put a smile on and not mope.
I’ll be honest. I’m a professional moper. When I’m in a funk, honey, I am in a funk. It’s almost as though its a sickness that has to run its course. I recall the saddest times of my life, only dampening my emotions that much more.
The irony of it all is that I, the defeated sad person, had just encouraged my Facebook family to speak victory.
Boy did that come to bite me back in the butt. I give it to God, because He surely did test me on what I was preaching. So, as I sat crying (again), I had no choice but to shake my head and think, “You put this test on yourself girl.”
Though I’ve not been happy about how my week has gone, I’d like to think that I’ve actually grown from it. I’ve taken some steps back and evaluated my thoughts and behavior during this time and I’ve come up with some lessons learned.
With all this fanfare, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly those lesson were. Well, I won't bore you with the nitty details, but I will share some things that I believe are applicable to everyone who thinks that life sucks.
There's the old cliche': "there's always someone doing worse than you." If someone told me that this week, I would have probably smacked them. "Yea, duh, I know that there are people who are worse off than me, but right now, we're focused on my issues." God put this lesson right in my face....several times. I received phone calls with people sharing some unimaginable things going on in their life or the lives of their loves ones and I was stuck on "baby" issues. These people were facing life altering situations and although I prayed for and with them, my mind was still stuck on me. So lesson #1: put your problems into perspective. This can be hard to do when you're living it, but trust me, there are far greater issues happening in the world and to others around you. Don't believe me? Just turn on the news....they do a great job of spreading doom.
Secondly, realize that its temporary. Again, hard to do when you're living it, but nonetheless a true statement. Nothing in this world is permanent and neither is your trial. The word of God calls our situations, "light and momentary troubles" (2 Cor. 4:17). This tells us that there are far heavier troubles that we aren't experiencing and that, as Grandma would say, "trouble don't last always." That's good news that we should rest in. My former Pastor said it best, "Storms were designed to move." Cry a little, eat a Debbie Cake and some ice cream, but get up, dust yourself off and keep pressing toward the mark.
The third thing that you must do is speak victory. It's obvious from my aforementioned Facebook post that I knew this, but did not put it into practice until I had been beaten down for a few days. While the enemy is planting defeat in your mind, speak victory with your mouth. Words are spiritual and they create your world. So, if you want to get out of a defeated state, speak words of victory. "I am victorious! I am winning! Things are turning around for me." Your words will break the stronghold of defeat on your life.
Lastly, show the devil that he's a liar. The father of lies is defeated by truth-- that is the word of our testimony. This will require that you think of all the positive things that are happening in your life. I know, who wants to think of the positive when they're moping?? I don't. But, in order for me to come out of my funk & defeat, I had to pull some victories out of my memory bank. I decided to write down every encounter that I had this week that was contrary to how I was feeling. For example, if I wasn't feeling valued, I wrote down all the phone calls, emails, texts, etc. that I had received of people requesting my help, opinion, and expertise. They clearly valued me. If I was feeling fat (yes ladies, we all feel it), I wrote down the fact that I had actually lost 1.5 lbs during the week. If I was feeling unappreciated, I wrote down the instances that people thanked me for something that I had done or for just being me. At the end of it all, I had a journal page full of truths that outweighed the few lies that held me captive for a whole week.
It's amazing how one lie or negative encounter can have us wound up and blinded to the hundreds of truths and positive encounters that we've had. Ironically, last Sunday's message was about just that. The Israelites complained and were wound up about being in the wilderness, forgetting that God had rescued them from slavery and the oppression the Egyptians. God had parted the sea for them, was a cloud by day and fire by night, and provided them with food to eat, but they couldn't see the victory in light of their perceived defeat. I wonder how many times we've been blinded by defeat? How many times have we missed out on what should have been a victory celebration for a pity party?
This week taught me that when life sucks, my perspective and words have to change. I have to practice patience and find the silver lining in things. Moreover, I learned that when life sucks, I have the power to change it. I possess the ability to break the bondage of defeat from my mind. And though everyday hasn't and won't be a sunshiny day, by George, my life really doesn't suck at all!