Sometimes, everything around you seems to be falling apart.
- The markets are down and retirement looks bleak.
- You can't seem to communicate with your spouse.
- Recent news from the doctor has you shaken.
Most people do one of two things in these scenarios.
Option 1: Fall Apart, Too
All you have to do is let your circumstances determine your attitude. And your attitude, as they say, will determine your altitude.
It's easy to fall into this trap of believing nothing can or will ever improve. That's the lie you start repeating in your head and sharing with your closest friends. When you slip into self-pity, you start to drown in hopelessness.
But hopelessness is the most dangerous place in life to be, and you and I never have to be there.
There is always, always hope. There's always a way out, a way up, a way forward. Always.
Option 2: Don't
You were created with enormous mental resources.
Spiritual help is a prayer away.
You can get through this. You were born to get through this.
Obviously, when devastating news comes, it's appropriate to feel shock and desperation. But don't stay there too long. Recover your hope.
I've often heard that "hope is not a strategy." If all you're talking about is wishful thinking, then that's true. You can't just wish your way to better conditions.
But hope is restored by adopting certain strategies when things get really tough, such as:
- Read and dwell on things that are good, noble, true, positive, promising.
- Remind yourself that the tide always comes back in. The market always recovers. The sun always comes back out.
- Stand up straight and walk confidently. Physically do what you do when you think at your most optimum level.
- Talk to God. Tell him how you feel—the good, the bad, and the ugly. He can handle it.
- Talk to a counselor, a friend, a mentor. A threefold cord is not easily broken.
- Ascend from the valley, look around and find a new pathway forward.
Remember, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).
Remember, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37).
Remember, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13, NLT).
Remember, "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him—my father's God, and I will exalt him!" (Ex. 15:2).
Remember, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7, MEV).
When everything is falling apart, don't. After the shock, look for the light and take another step.
Brandon Cox has been a pastor since he was 19 and has served churches large and small, including serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church. Currently, he is planting a purpose-driven church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor of pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders, as well as a blog about men's issues, a blog about blogging and a blog about social media.
This article originally appeared at brandonacox.com.
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