Ok, this girl has been through some crazy storms in her life! Some were caused by my own poor choices; while others where unexpected tidal waves that tried to drown me. I have cried in pits of pity and yelled in fits of rage, while spinning out of control in the center of my hurricanes. I have learned through trial and error, suffering, and then, finally…victory! So, it’s burning on my heart to share some of the things that have helped me survive the death of loved ones, heart-wrenching betrayals, devastating abandonments, painful consequences of my own poor choices, and the gnawing regret and uncertainty that has tried to choke the life out of me, so many times.
1. Work out your Salvation with Fear and Trembling! (Phil 2:12)
Living a life of victory is not one based on “feelings”, it comes from intentionally opening the Word of God and seeking His truth above all else. It comes from a contrite heart seeking Jesus and desiring the filling of the Holy Spirit. A fight to persevere in the face of hopelessness, because we know God is using all things to transform us into the image of His Son. Our hope is not found in the pursuit of feeling good, or feeling happy; our hope is found in grace, in a life that’s constantly in awe of the grace God has lavished upon us. A righteous, mighty, powerful God, has chosen us, bestowed grace on us and now he is changing us!! So much greatness in that truth girlfriend…it’s the kind of awesomeness that let’s us truly stand in our storms with our pink boxing gloves on, fighting to work out our salvation in the midst of chaos, knowing that “He who is in me, is greater than he who is in this world” (1John 4:4)
2. Get out and Get Physical!
Seriously, I’ve written about it before, physical exercise is essential in life! God gave you endorphins for a reason, they are a natural high, a God given happy pill 🙂 When you are feeling depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, angry…go for a walk, go to the gym and let the sweat roll off your brow, go for a bike ride, get up and go do something physical. When we get physically moving, the rest tends to follow suit. Our energy is increased, our focus is heightened, our ability to discern things is clearer, it’s all around amazing friend. Even when your pit of pity seems to deep to climb out of, or the tidal waves have knocked your feet out from under you, fight to get up!! Fight to get your tennis shoes on and get moving!! I promise, you will feel so much better when it’s all done, God will give you a special gift in that moment. Remember, your body is a temple (1 Cor 6:19), a gift from God, take care of it! Eat a healthy meal and go work those muscles girlfriend!
3. Journal – Get it Out of Your Head!
You don’t have to be an eloquent writer to journal, I have a few friends that picture journal, they are beautiful artists that express themselves through drawing and cutting out pictures, it’s amazing. There is a lot of beauty in journaling through our storms. Sometimes just the simple release of getting everything from our mind onto the paper can give us freedom! Other times, when the pages are soaked with tears and we’ve emptied our hearts on the paper, it can bring us healing. It’s also a great way to get a fresh new perspective, looking at things on paper tends to help us see through the emotions of our storm, and more into the practicality of detangling the webs of our storm. The added bonus, is that once the storm has past and you read through your journal again one day, you can see these beautiful evidences of God’s grace and powerful work in you. It’s a treasure.
4. Worship – In Private and in Community
God has done some of His most intimate work in me through my quiet moments of worship. Worship music evokes something from our soul, it touches on the parts of our heartache or thankfulness that we sometimes can’t put into words. In some of my darkest storms, I have locked myself away in my room, blasted worship music and just wept and cried out songs to my Father in Heaven; begging for Him to meet me in that place, to know what I need the most even when I can’t speak it, to hear my hearts cry. Oh sweet sister, He has never let me down, Jesus tells us in Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me; those who seek me will find me.” When you find Him in that moment, He will do a work in you, an intimate one.
There is also an amazing thing about worshiping at Church, in community, with the band playing and leading us into a time of honoring God together. You know, that moment when the whole room has their eyes closed, their hearts seeking to worship God, the chills down your spine, hair standing up kind of worship moment when the Holy Spirit just fills the room! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Worship brings about a humility and then a thankfulness in us, it’s incredibly powerful!
5. Find a Friend or Professional to Confide in, that Will Encourage You!
ok, this takes wisdom dear friend. I urge you not to shout your problems to every open ear around! In the storms and battles of this life – LESS IS MORE! I’ve learned this through my own painful experiences, some friends just aren’t “those” friends, in your times of struggle. That’s ok! Girlfriends need girlfriends – we get one another. But, we need to be wise with what we share and with whom we share it. The ultimate counselor in our time of need is Christ alone! Seek Him first, spouses and friends second and third! While Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Carry each other’s burden’s, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”, this is not an open invitation to have every friend we know try and carry our burden. Find one friend or maybe a couple friends that are seasoned in their walk with Christ and a trustworthy voice of truth, that can speak into your life. They should be a friend that always brings you back to the grace found at the cross. To walk intimately with a friend is a treasure, it’s a gift God meant for us to have, they can bring beautiful encouragement in our pain. They can literally hold our hands up like David in the great battle. I love, love, my intimate girlfriends! I also treasure my girlfriends that take me to coffee, or out dancing or shopping, my fun friends that bring joy and laughter when I’m going through a hard time. They are a gift.
I will also say that a professional therapist can be an asset in times of struggle! I will put my own disclaimer on it – if you are a believer, find a therapist that loves Jesus. The mix of having a professional that can help you process your storms and then lead you through prayer, and build you up with scripture is unbelievably powerful! I highly recommend it 🙂
There are plenty of other things you can do to get through heartache and trials of this life. These are just my top 5 Survival skills that have helped me greatly. I hope they encourage you as well sweet friend.