Everything is going so well for everyone else. Engagement announcements, career advancement, brand launches and perfectly posed pictures captioned with lengthy professions of love, can leave one asking: “When will it be my turn?” Though there may be a genuine happiness about the achievements of others, you cannot help but wonder when you will celebrate your own.
All attempts to snap out of it and pull it together are met with persistent questions, “What is wrong with me?”, Why is it so easy for everyone else, yet so difficult for me?”
Your closest advisors tell you to be patient; to wait on God’s timing, but it seems as though He has forgotten about you – or worse, maybe He has not, and this is all that there is. You wrestle with this thought, while trying to settle on the notion of contentment, but there is still a disconnect. There are more questions than answers and as an added bonus – guilt. The guilt comes from having the questions at all. You have tried everything to move forward but there is nothing. The slightest advancements are met with such opposition that you wonder if it is even worth trying at all. Caught in a whirlwind of emotion, the battle with hopelessness continues.
You are not alone.
There are many who struggle in this area and if we are honest, we have all been there. Before you crawl back in bed, cancel the day, settle for the status-quo or sink deeper into this state, here are some practical ways that you can fight back:
Prayer is a conversation with God, it is an active engagement – a communing of the soul with Him. It should be offered in humility, sincerity and in faith. During your time in prayer, be honest about the questions that you have and be mindful that He can and will answer you. He is interested in all things concerning you. 1 Peter 5:7 instructs us to cast the whole of our cares [all our anxieties, all our worries, all our concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for us affectionately and cares about us watchfully. He wants us to give it all to Him. Prayer is a vehicle that we can use to do just that! There is nothing passive about it. Do not be afraid to pour out during prayer, not out of entitlement or frustration, but in faith. You will find that He will meet you where you are.
It is no accident that prayer and meditation are categorized separately; they are two different things. Prayer is in direct address to God. Meditation is a reflection on His truth. Meditation is continuous, thoughtful and thorough consideration. If you find that hopelessness is stemming from fear, you might consider meditating on 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Ponder on it, rehearse it over and over, carefully consider it, and like scriptures, until it is written on your heart. Meditation will shift your perspective and align your focus with the things of God.
#3 BREAK OUT THE HIGHLIGHT REEL
Consider David. By all accounts, David had never faced an opponent like Goliath. Imagine the surprise of his brothers and Saul when David offered to fight Goliath! Saul tried to explain that the odds were stacked against him, but David replayed the highlight reel and in 1 Samuel 17:34-37 he said:
“ ...Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David did not have experience with Goliath, but He had experience with God. He considered his previous victories as adequate preparation for the current fight. Take the time to replay the wins, recount prayers that were answered, you will find that you have plenty of reasons to trust Him.
#4 COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, LITERALLY.
Create a list of everything that you are thankful for. No matter how big or small you deem the blessing to be, list it. At the end of this exercise, my hope is that you will find that you have more working for you, than against you. It may not be easy now, but even in the storm, there is still provision and hope for a better tomorrow.
Giving back helps take the focus off of your problems and places it on meeting the need of someone else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, local shelter or church. You will be amazed of how much strength and encouragement can be found in genuinely serving others.
#6 TALK WITH A COUNSELOR
If you find that your feelings of hopelessness persist, it is absolutely recommended that you reach out to a licensed professional. Therapists can offer various techniques on how to effectively handle these types of situations. Emotional wellness is critical to your overall well being and you should pursue it unapologetically.
Let’s keep the conversation going. If you have additional tips, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you!