Three Beneficial Things to Do When Facing Difficult Times

girl praying

1.    Elevate Your Thoughts

God wants us to align our thinking with His thoughts. The natural mind does not understand spiritual things. It is a constant battle to think on a higher plane because our world is so negative and evil. It’s so much easier to think negatively which immediately drains our energy. That’s why we should always be aware of our thoughts, actions, and environments.

words of anger

As soon as our thoughts begin to focus on fear, disbelief, doubt, or any other toxic emotion, we need to consciously change our thought patterns. It is very challenging to switch your thoughts when so many problems are staring you in the face. The advantage is knowing the Gospel and being able to draw from God’s promises and meditate on His word which is life and substance to your soul. Once we elevate our minds, we raise our energy level and begin to feel much better. It is a spiritual war that manifests in a physical realm. Often times, we use physical components to fight our spiritual or mental battles such as sleeping pills, medication, drugs, alcohol, or sex. We may even contemplate suicide as a means of escape.

2.    Take Care of Your Body

black girl jogging

We must take care of our bodies including eating healthier and exercising daily. Many people overlook the importance of a well-balanced diet.  However, diet plays a vital role in how we deal with stress and challenges in our lives. When we eat healthily, we have a clear mind. Our bodies are able to fight off disease and illness and even stress better. You can also take vitamins to supplement your diet such as B- complex vitamins which alleviate stress.  It’s best to consult your doctor for specific vitamin supplements based on your physical needs.

Another important factor is to get enough rest. When all else fails, go to sleep! Just make sure you have a balance. When we sleep, our stress levels go down. We are able to fight off illness, deal with problems, and make better decisions. We are less irritable and able to manage frustrations with ease. We are also able to control our emotions and we are much more productive in our daily lives.

“He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:10–11

Unfortunately, Satan understands our weaknesses and attacks us when we are most vulnerable which often means we are lacking rest. When we are tired or weary, it disrupts our peace of mind. When we have inner peace, we are able to interact with others much better as well as have the ability for the Lord to direct us in our daily decisions. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” I Corth 4:33

girl laying down

God is actively at work at all times even while we are resting. The Lord never slumbers. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. He that keeps thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121

3.    Seek Solitude in Prayer, Worship and Reading the Bible

glasses on book

Most of all, this is the most obvious but required. We should have a set schedule to spend time with God. We should continue to seek  God in prayer. We must not give up hope.    We should pray without ceasing knowing that God will answer our prayers in perfect timing.

We must also continue to worship Him regardless of our situation.  It’s in the hardest struggles that our praise is strengthened. No matter what the situation looks like we must continue to be faithful in worship. There is always something to appreciate and be grateful for.

We should read the Bible on a regular schedule to keep our spirits strong and to encourage ourselves daily. Faith is by hearing and hearing is by the Word of God. We should surround ourselves with a body of believers who will encourage and support us. This will raise our spirits, as well as our thoughts and actions.

When we take care of our mind, body, and soul, it strengthens our spiritual well-being to hear from God. By developing and building trust in Him, it draws us closer to Him. When we begin to see how He delivers us out of our situations and circumstances, our trust and faith will be strengthened to overcome any obstacle that we face.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5

Happiness vs. Joy

Within the past two days, the topic of being happy in life came up in conversations with friends. I was inspired to write about the difference between being happy vs. having joy. I believe that happiness is influenced by external factors like a career, relationship, material possessions, etc. It can also be determined about how you view your life and the meaning of what you feel success means to you. So basically, you determine how you feel and how happy you want or choose to be. It’s a combination of the external and internal feelings and how you relate and interpret those feelings.

However, I believe joy is a feeling that responds regardless of your circumstances. When I consider my personal experiences, I have experienced joy in the worst situations and circumstances. May I also add without the use of medications, drugs or alcohol. I’ve endured very uncomfortable circumstances and was still able to smile, laugh and function in daily life despite my difficult situations. At the same time, I was not happy with my life or my circumstances. I do believe we all experience depression at one time or another, but as long as we don’t remain in a negative state of mind it is normal to experience periods of discouragement.

The key is to know how to respond and react to your circumstances. It is important to build on hope and encouragement which I touched on yesterday on my blog post. You must realize that life is constantly moving and nothing remains the same. Each trial that we face, is a learning experience and provides us lessons in life is we choose to listen. You must seek inspiration or something that brings you joy regardless of what you may be experiencing.

I also believe you can simply have joy from just being. You have to be in a mindset of not comparing yourself to others and not living in a material world in order to truly experience genuine joy. It’s being free to be who you are and accepting yourself and your faults. Most people have a hard time spending time with themselves because they are afraid of what they will find within themselves. To reach a healthy self image, you must deal with the good and the ugly by looking at yourself in the mirror and then make a change for the better.

The end result is that you are in control of your happiness or joy. You may not be able to control what people say or do, but you are in control of how you think and how you feel. Unfortunately, we live in a negative world and it will take every drop of energy to overcome challenges, obstacles and situations that we may feel consume us. Just keep this in mind….”Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Renewing Your Mind

As we anxiously wait for the first day of summer, let us not forget this is the perfect time to reflect on the goals we set during the beginning of the year. We are halfway through 2010. Let us not to forget to evaluate our lives and what we plan to achieve by the end of the year. We are always reminded during Spring to clean out the clutter, so we may receive new things.

Let us not forget to clean out our minds which include bad memories and habits, defeated thoughts and attitudes or anything else that may be holding us back from receiving what God has promised us as His children. “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Old things have passed away. Behold, I make all things new.” II Corth 5:17

Refocus on Priorities

It’s important to take time to reflect on your life in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up for goals that you haven’t attained just yet. But, just learn to refocus on priorities and set small goals to work towards what you desire to achieve.

Build a Support System

Also, you must pay close attention to your social environment. You should build a strong support system of family, friends, neighbors, classmates and church associates.

What type of people do you surround yourself? Make sure you are surrounding yourself with positive people who will inspire, encourage and motivate you. Pay attention to the details of the heart of people that you interact with on a daily basis. What are their motives or intentions? Are their actions and words positive or negative? Take note of their behavior and decide whether you choose to be around them. You are valuable and so is your time.

You should spend time expanding your mind. If you don’t enjoy reading, make it a point to watch a movie or documentary that will give you a different perspective on life. You need to refresh your mind. Water your mind with knowledge and watch it grow. In scripture it states, “My people will perish for the lack of knowledge.” So, don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. Expose yourself to new cultures, races, creeds, religions or non-religious people. Be open to new ideas, opinions and thoughts. You can have a healthy conversation without having a debate or argument. That’s what makes life interesting. You do not have to agree with the person, but please make sure you respect them.

Guard Your Heart and Thoughts

It’s important to guard your thoughts. It’s so easy to dwell on negative emotions or words that will eventually influence your mind and behavior. Be mindful of what you allow to enter into your mind. There are many negative influences that surround us in the world and it doesn’t take long for a negative seed to be planted in your mind which eventually takes root. It’s much like weeds growing among beautiful, green grass. Weeds tend to multiply quickly and destroy the view. If you feed your mind junk, that’s exactly what you will eventually believe or think.

We are constantly influenced by images, words and stereotypes that influence the way we think. We have been so programmed that we often do not really learn to think for ourselves anymore. Don’t rely on gossip or rumors, but confront the source to get the correct information. Let’s be conscious of what we choose to listen to since this has a strong impact on how we see ourselves and others and can eventually influence our overall behavior.

Fill your mind with God’s word. It’s the most important thing you can do to withstand the attacks from the enemy. The only way to win the battles that come against you is to put on the armor of the Lord. To overcome the storms of life, you must read and study God’s word. It’s filled with power, truth, protection, guidance and His promises. Through daily mediation on God’s word, you will start to build faith, strength and courage to overcome the challenges and obstacles that you face. Through prayer, you will build a relationship with the Lord and will be shielded through your trials and tribulations. Even though bad things will still happen, hold onto your faith. You will have to endure many tests in life. Keeping your heart and mind grounded in the word of God, will eventually lead you to the harvest He has prepared for you.