Psalm 6:6 - I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
You wake up in the morning groaning. It’s a new day, but because you had a night filled with nightmares you didn’t rest.
In a previous post, I talked about how groaning can sometimes be of use in our lives. Today I’m going to talk about how we can find level ground in our minds even if we groan in our spirit.
Living with emotional pain can be a rollercoaster ride. You go up feeling okay and that you can handle things, but then the ride plummets you toward the ground, knocking the wind out of your lungs and back into your valley of emotional pain.
So you groan. You cry. You beg for this to go away, but you can’t stay at the top of the rollercoaster long. You’re eventually going to head down again.
You spill out of bed and rush to the restroom as nausea takes over once again. Every bone in your body feels like it’s screaming at you. Yes, emotional pain does cause physical pain and illness.
So what’s the answer? Do we shut ourselves off from the world? Do we look to self-medicate ourselves by overeating, over exercising, over achieving?
You can try those things, but it will only cover up the problem. What do you do?
You get off the rollercoaster.
Life is full of ups and downs and heartaches that want to crush your spirit. And yes, there will be a good cause for those ups and downs during seasons of your life; and, there will be times filled with groaning.
But I’m talking about chronic emotional pain. For that you must do all you can to get off the rollercoaster.
I heard once that instead of seeing life as full of mountains and valleys see life as parallel tire tracks.
At any given time you have something good going on in your life and something bad going on in your life. The choice is what will your focus be on? Only then will your life begin to level off as seeing the good and the bad at the same time.
Find some tips from psychologytoday.com, in their article, “Tips for Managing Your Emotional Ups and Downs,” such as skipping the news and avoid reading or listening to anything negative.
Life is always going to be filled with things that cause you emotional pain. However, choosing to see life on even ground can help your inner groaning dim to a whisper. And remember, God, who hears your groaning will help you each step of the way as you live your life differently.
Mark 9:42 - And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
This world is a difficult one to live in. It’s filled with things that are not appropriate for the young. Movies, TV, magazines or books that exploit children and cause them to lose their innocence.
There are two ways they can be exploited – through the media and much worse, through people who take away the innocent for their own selfish pleasure.
I know this is a difficult subject to talk about. But wouldn’t it be better to bring it into the light than leave it in the darkness?
As a parent we are faced with many decisions on how we raise our children. Some don’t think that it’s a big deal if their children are exposed to sexual things when they are but children. They may believe that they’re actually helping their child by preparing them for what the world has to give.
What is happening, though, is that the age of innocence has been lowered. It used to be that a young person was not exposed to violence and sexual lusts until they were adults. Then the age went to around the age of sixteen. But now, it has gone down to elementary school age.
Children who are exposed to things their eyes are too young to see end up growing up too fast and don’t develop the ability to protect their innocence; thinking that if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t they?
These decisions just shouldn’t be thrust upon them. This loss of innocence causes young ones to grow up cynical about life. They lose their joy, their peace of mind, their ability to fight off suggestive behavior and choose instead to live their lives as thrill seekers.
This all has lead to the ultimate loss of innocence – child abuse and human trafficking. What words could I write about such things? My heart breaks. So what can we do to protect our children?
First you can learn the warning signs in the article, “How to Identify the Victims and Perpetrators of Sex Trafficking,” on focusonthefamily.com such as being withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out.
Second, talk to your children about human trafficking. The article above will also help you have that difficult conversation.
And last, realize that God places the highest value on children. He will not let the terrible act of robbing children of their innocence go unpaid.
Children are our future and our responsibility; but not just the parent’s who are responsible but everyone around them. That means you.
If you see signs of child abuse or human trafficking reach out to your local police, or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888.
Job 27:20 - Terrors overtake him like a flood; a tempest snatches him away in the night.
Fear. It can overtake you in a moment, as the floodwaters engulf you. You never know from day to day how things will be. Will you give in to fear again and let it rule your life?
Fear is a common emotion, one that is experienced by both the healthy mind and those who are in emotional pain.
For the healthy mind, fear acts like a warning system alerting you to up and coming danger; such as fear of burning yourself. You watch your hands more carefully when cooking on your stove and avoid getting burnt.
Another fear is fear of getting in a car accident. One way we avoid that is to slow down and stop when the traffic light turns yellow.
But for those in emotional pain, their fears consist of irrational situations that may never happen. Such as the fear of being bitten by a spider. Think it through and realize the risk is almost nonexistent because spiders typically hide in corners and under things not out in the open.
Another irrational fear is the fear of breaking down and losing it in a public place. The fear of losing control is strong. It causes you to be afraid of crowds, so you don’t leave your home.
Fear in and of itself does not have to overtake us like a flood. We don’t have to be afraid.
Find some ways to learn how to face your fears in the article, "Why Being Afraid is a Good Thing," on whitneyhansen.com such as respecting your fears because listening to your fears might help you figure out the underlying message of them.
The floodgates of fear can open and bring a deluge of water spilling into our lives. With God’s help let’s build a dam of courage and keep those fears at bay.
James 3:14 - But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Let’s face it. We all have things that we wish we had. We have situations that we wish we could change. We would like our bills to be paid and some left over for recreation after that.
I don’t think that it’s wrong to want to strive a little harder to change things. But there is a slippery slope that we can find ourselves going down if we’re not careful. And what is it?
Envy. But not just a little bit of envy over what you want that others have. No. This kind is bitter envy. We want what others have and we fixate on it. Think about all day and dream about it at night.
But when we wake up, we find that nothing has changed. And before we even walk out the door in the morning, bitter envy is already whispering in our ears.
If you’re generally healthy, you might have bitter envy over the coworker who was promoted instead of you. Or, the new car parked across the street from where you live.
And if you suffer from chronic pain or an illness you may be envious for others’ health, but it only covers the top layers of your heart.
It grinds and pulls. It makes your body ache when it’s not aching today. The physical envy over chronic pain weighs on you, but you can get it back under control when you try to focus on something else.
However, when someone has emotional pain, what they envy may not just be things others have, but being envious of their peace of mind and enjoyment of life regardless of their situation.
You don’t see anxiety tied around their necks like a noose. You don’t see PTSD following them everywhere they go. You don’t see worry attached by ball and chain to their ankles.
Except for the usual concerns the emotionally well person is able to move forward with their lives and reach for their goals.
So how does a person let go of bitter envy and not let it control their lives anymore? The article, “A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Envy,” on becomingminimalist.com provides some ways to do so.
Just as the Bible verse above says, even if you harbor bitter envy you can make it worse by denying it. And don’t boast about yourself and what you have unless it comes from gratitude and not selfish ambition. You will soon find that your life will be filled with more joy and ugly envy will slip away.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.