Trusting God In Tough Times

Trusting God in tough times is hard, but I’m here to share some hope on how to keep your focus on the Lord and his blessings that are coming your way.

Trusting God in Tough times
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Trusting God in tough times is one of the hardest things we will have to overcome as Christians. Worry is a symptom from doubting God. If we believe that he will sort out of problems and make good on his promises, there is no reason to worry. If we believe he is omnipotent and has control over all circumstances, we shouldn’t grapple with trust. And yet…we do.

A Hitch While Getting Hitched

When I was getting married, my husband wanted a cookie cake as his groom’s cake. I tried ordering it advance, but the store told me the soonest I could order it would be two days in advance. So, I went down to order it two days before my wedding. I asked for a cookie cake with a Collegiate block ‘O’ written in Scarlett and grey. The man behind the counter just stared blankly at me as I continued describing it. I even drew it out on a piece of paper. He then said, it might not be him that makes it and he had no idea how to leave the drawing for the next person. I left frustrated and in tears.

I called my maid of honor and started crying. With all the things I had to do for the wedding over the next 48 hours, I was totally stressed over the potential of disappointing my new husband over a groom’s cake. I sobbed. She listened. Then she said calmly, “I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. I will take care of it. Even if I have to bake it myself, it will be there. Enjoy your wedding and don’t worry about this anymore.”

Ensuing Peace

I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. The burden had been lifted and I totally believed with all my heart that she would fix it. I trusted her to make it right. And…I stopped worrying about it. Sure enough, on my wedding day, there was a huge cookie cake, decorated with the block O, sitting there right next to my tiered wedding cake.

I realize this could have ended differently. But my point is the peace I felt knowing it was her problem and not mine anymore. This should be the same peace we feel when we shift our problems over for God to deal with.

I get it. Our problems are often bigger than a wedding cake. We suffer life altering things like divorce, death, chronic illnesses, job loss, and financial woes. I get it – but so does God. Scripture calls him compassionate. He knows what you’re facing and he is compassionate towards you.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in every way as we are yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Why We Can’t Find Peace

We can’t see God face to face and that causes us to wrestle with faith. Even the disciples struggled to believe after witnessing miracles of Christ. Remember Peter on the water? When Jesus called him to walk on water with him he started to sink. Why? He started to doubt.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 14:31

It is in our very nature to doubt. We’ve got serious trust issues! This is why it is so important to recount the times God has come to your rescue. I keep a prayer journal (war binder) with all my answered prayers. It proves to me that God is listening – or more to the point, that he cares an answers prayers.

Trusting God in Tough Times

Set Your Mind on Higher Things

Too often we tend to dwell on what is wrong, rather than what is right. This is why Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to purposely reset our minds.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Philippians 4:8
perfect peace

The Psalmist echoes Paul. He tells us how to trust in one simple sentence – by turning your thoughts often to the Lord. That means when doubt and worry start to creep in, you immediately turn to God for reassurance. His promises in scripture is the reassurance he has left for us. We deliberately need to choose to think of good things instead of our problems. The more you worry, the more your fear will grow.

Gratitude

One thing is certain, after this problem, you will face another. Such is life. There will always be something about which to grumble and complain. Again, focusing on what is good, will make you feel better – and there is always something for which to be grateful. Gratitude grows contentment and joy. Spend time praising God and I promise you’ll feel better. I love reading the Psalms. The Psalmist laments and cries out to God about his troubles, but then immediately praises God for being God. He encourages himself in the Lord, our savior. Magnify God, not your problems.

In every circumstance give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

There won’t always be someone to cheer you up or encourage you. It might be the friend, spouse, or parent, with which you have trouble. You can’t rely on imperfect people to be your “well.” Draw from the well that never runs dry! Learn to encourage yourself in God’s goodness.

Shift Responsibility

You are limited. God is limitless. He is both powerful and mighty. He can take on any mess. Make it his problem to fix. Let him shoulder the burden of working out the kinks. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. When you know every mystery in the universe and control all circumstances, our problems aren’t a surprise. Wreckage and ruble is easy to clean up when you’re the creator of the entire world.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

A yoke is a wooden beam fastened to oxen (one older, one younger), to pull heavy weight in pairs. If the young oxen tires, the older one will bear most of the weight. Jesus invites you to share your heavy burden with him. Fasten yourself to him and let him take on the weight of your troubles. To him it is easy and light to bear. Also, the analogy of the yoke does not promise the burden will disappear, rather we are to walk in step with him and he will carry us through.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

Psalm 4:8

In Conclusion

If you are struggling with trust, faith, or anxiety or worry, I encourage you to read my other posts:

Thank you for taking the time to read Trusting God in Tough Times, with me. If you are going through a hard time and are burdened with worry I’d like to pray over you.

Lord, thank you for inviting us to share our burden with you. Please help my friend, who is struggling with believing that things will get better. Bless them with the gift of faith and trust. Assuage their anxiety and worry and help them cast their care onto you and you alone. Thank you for always showing us compassion and mercy. Even though we don’t understand why this happening, we give thanks to you and know you are working it out for our good. Amen.

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7 Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

Bipolar is a very misunderstood illness. It’s comes with a stigma. But here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

7 Things About Bipolar I Want People To Know
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Mental illness. It’s almost a dirty word. Okay, so it’s two words. But these days there is a lot of misinformation surrounding bipolar disorder.

So let’s start with the basics. First bipolar is a mood disorder. It creates high (mania) and low moods (depression) in a patient. Psychosis (being out of touch with reality) can also occur during severe episodes. It also affects circadian rhymes, thereby disrupting sleep and furthering the symptoms. The episodes can last weeks or months. It is not uncommon to rapidly cycle between them at the same time. It is created by an imbalance in neurochemicals. Lots of scientific studies suggest it is both hereditary and genetic. However, situational and environmental issues can increase or affect episodes. There are several types of bipolar but two are most prevalent. Type I patients who spend a great majority of time in manic moods and Type II patients who spend most of their time in a depressive state.

Depression

Depression can be characterized by hopelessness, specifically a lack of joy or the inability to enjoy things. You can be plagued with thoughts of suicide or self-harm. You can feel excessively guilty, have difficulty concentrating, and may gain or lose weight. In extreme episodes, it includes psychosis which manifests as delusions or hallucinations (both auditory and visual). It’s common for untreated patients to self-medicate through substance abuse.

Mania / Hypomania

Mania is odd because it can be like a euphoric “high” or it can be excessive anxiety. It can include obsessive, racing thoughts. It makes you impulsive and extremely irritable. You can become a thrill-seeker and even sexually promiscuous. It makes you have poor judgement and can result in spending excessive amounts of money. It can cause you to lash out at others and creates long bouts of insomnia.

Okay, now that we are through the scientific and more sterile descriptions, let me say, I was diagnosed with bipolar as a preteen after first being misdiagnosed as a child with major depression. That’s very common at that age.

Lastly, this post isn’t designed to scold anyone. It’s about educating people about an illness that is grossly misunderstood. Here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

We Don’t Like Being Called Crazy

This should be a given. But I’m still shocked at how many times people use the word “crazy” to describe someone who has bipolar. It’s really hurtful. We aren’t “crazy.” You wouldn’t call an amputee “stumpy.” See? We feel the same being called “crazy.” We have an illness. It’s a physical illness that affects us mentally. It’s caused by the brain not producing neurochemicals like serotonin. Similarly, we don’t like being asked mockingly if we are “off our meds.”

We Aren’t Bipolar

Allow me to explain. There is such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, but in particular bipolar and schizophrenia. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve heard people say, “she’s bipolar.” We aren’t bipolar. We HAVE bipolar. You’d never say, “she’s cancer.” It dehumanizes us. We’re aren’t our illness. It doesn’t define us and therefore not our identity. It’s just one aspect of our life.

You Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Us

Contrary to what the media and non-medical professionals would have you believe we aren’t going on a rampage. And no, psychotropic drugs don’t turn us all into mass shooters. Those people have all kinds of contributing factors, including circumstances completely unrelated to mental illness.

Not all bipolar patients are violent. In fact, that’s not as nearly common as you might think. For example, with Type II patients we are far more likely to hurt ourselves.

We Don’t Want to Disappoint You

We hate when we have to cancel on you because we’re sick. We’re just as disappointed. It’s embarrassing – especially if our caregiver (a spouse, parent, etc.) also has to cancel to take care of us. And please, don’t say we should “plan better.” No one plans to be sick. We have no way of predicting when our mood will change and no way of gauging how bad it will be. I don’t even have words to describe how hurtful and abhorrent that is.

Can you imagine saying that to someone who has cancer? Seriously. Imagine someone has cancer and is going through chemotherapy. They have an important function and can’t go to the event after a chemo treatment because they feel horrible. You would never say things like, “well you should have planned better. After all, you knew you had cancer. You knew you were going to have chemo. You should have planned better.” Yeah, it’s that disgusting and insensitive.

We Say Things We Don’t Mean

They say bipolar is the great melting pot of mental illness. It has anxiety, depression, irritability, OCD tendencies, hallucinations, insomnia, and sometimes what looks like ADHD. When we are in a manic stage, we are often impulsive and irritable.

Being impulsive can cause us to not think through the consequences of our actions. When you combine that with irritability, it makes for lots of unkind words. Oh we regret it afterwards, believe me. But in the moment, there is little self-control. We damage and lose relationships over it. It hurts us as much as it hurts you. When those feelings pass, we are embarrassed by the destruction we caused.

Suicide Is Always Knocking On Our Door

This is a really sensitive issue, but it needs to be discussed. We might seem okay. We might even seem thick-skinned. But we are always resisting the urge to kill ourselves. We have a hard time coping even with the simplest of life situations. If something upsets us deeply, we can despair very quickly.

Then there are times when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s exhausting to fight this everyday. We just want it to stop. We want peace. Suicide is a very tempting option.

We Pretend to Be Okay

Most people have heard the old adage, “fake it ‘til you make it.” However, for us, it’s really true. I don’t want to make it seem like we are lying to you everyday. But the truth is we’re always trying to make it through the day. Similarly, it never goes away totally. I’d say we are either better or worse. Medications don’t cure it. They only make it more manageable. Bipolar is a chronic illness and therefore we live with it everyday. We just don’t always talk about it. We deal with it on our own as much as we can.

Those are the things I want people to know about bipolar. I hope I’ve provided some insight on bipolar. If you suffer from bipolar, I’d love for you to leave a comment below about what you would want people to know. If you’re looking for other wellness topics, check out Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage.

March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

Anxiety and fear are two emotions constantly clawing their way into our minds. Battle those negative feelings with March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

March scripture reading

Spiritual Amnesia

There is something unique about fear, anxiety, and worry. It creates in us spiritual amnesia. We forget about all the times God has rescued us in the past. We fail to remember that God has worked out our problems again and again. Fear creates spiritual amnesia. In other words, we forget how good God really is! But don’t think you’re alone. The apostles went through it too.

Jesus Calms The Storm

I love the book Fearless by Max Lucado. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The first chapter uses a bible story we all know very well – Jesus calming the storm. The story can be found in three of the four gospels. Each one says Jesus is asleep in the boat and stays asleep even as a great storm arises. Why is he asleep? Because He’s in control of it! Our “storms” don’t scare Him. Furthermore, there is something unique in the gospel of Mark. As waves crash into the boat, the apostles cry out in fear.

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

As Lucado points out, these men have been traveling with Jesus for years. By this time, they have seen Him cast out demons and heal the blind. He has raised Lazarus from the dead and fed a crowd of 5,000 with just a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. And yet, as soon as they were fearful, the spiritual amnesia sets in. It’s like they totally forget that He is Lord. They don’t ask Him to calm the storm. Instead, they question his character. “Don’t you care if we drown?” And don’t we do the same? When fear overtakes us, don’t we forget that He is Lord and in control of it all?

Our Small Prayers

The truth is, we limit God with our prayers. Allow me to share something deeply personal. My husband and I are currently going through a season of anxiety and fear. In August, my husband will be losing his job. His employer is closing down his office. Currently, we are scrambling to find an engineering job, but in particular one that will not uproot us from my hometown.

So I began praying, asking God to send us something here that would match his salary. After a few weeks of praying, God revealed truth to me. – one that I had forgotten. I was limiting God by my prayer. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask God for what we specifically want, but we limit God when we do so.

You Do Not Have, Because You Do Not Ask

Read what the apostle Paul writes :

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Boldly! Some translations say “confidently.” To be confident means with no doubt. That is the first point I want to make – that we can confidently go directly to God and ask for help and be assured that He will indeed help us.

But wait, it gets better. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Ephesians 3:20. This verse is why I say we limit God with our prayer. Ephesians 3:20 is why we should pray “Your will be done, Lord.” Here is the truth: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”

Ephesians 3:20

That’s right. God can do more for you than you can possibly imagine. Even better, He wants to! And if you don’t believe me, read John 10:10: A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

This doesn’t just mean in heaven. Eternity has already started, my friend. His will is the best for you! It’s bigger and better than you can imagine. When you get scared or anxious, don’t run away. Instead, run to God and listen to Him comfort you in these scriptures.

Scripture Reading Anxiety & Fear

This month, I’d love for you to join me in scripture reading, anxiety and fear. I pray these verses bring your peace and remember that God loves you, He is in control and wants the best for you.

Anxiety & Fear

Colossians 3:15
Mark 5:36
1 Peter 3:14
Deuteronomy 3:22
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 34:7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 55:22
Proverbs 12:25
1 Peter 5:6-8
Psalm 56:3
Romans 8:38-39
Revelation 1:17
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 118:6Isaiah 41:10
Philippians 4:6-7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 34:4
Proverbs 3:5-6
Luke 12:22
John 14:1
Joshua 1:9
2 Timothy 1:7
Isaiah 41:10
John 14:1
Psalm 94:19
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Matthew 11:28-30
John 14:27
Psalm 23

In the comment section below, please tell me how I can pray for you in this season of anxiety & fear and I’ll add you to my prayer list.

Join me next month for April’s Scripture Reading: Grief and Depression. Also, if you missed it, see also February’s Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness