2 Samuel 22:29 – You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Depression is like a dark bag placed over your head. It causes darkness to encircle your world. You know the light is out there, but you can only see things in shadows.
The bag is scratchy and irritates your forehead and eyes. It weighs heavily upon your head and causes your face to bow down toward the ground. You try to take off the sack before you start your day, but there’s no way to grab the ends or slide it off your face.
What’s worse is stepping out your door and going to work. As you drive along, the glow from the sun is stunted. Each traffic light you come upon is always red making you have to stop.
You stumble around in your day, because you can’t fully get into your work. It’s hard to do such a thing with a bag over your head making your computer display a hard thing to see clearly.
Your boss walks by your desk, takes a quick glance at you, and then asks you why you haven’t finished the report that was supposed to be on his desk hours ago? You try to give reasons why it’s not done, but your boss doesn’t care. He leaves and once again you try with all your might to pull that bag off your head.
Somehow you make it through your day and stumble home. You throw the files you’re supposed to work on at home tonight on the couch and head towards your bedroom. All you want to do is sleep.
But then you think about your family who are waiting patiently for you to join them for dinner. You don’t want to. So you head for your bedroom. They must understand; it would take so much energy to eat. And the bag over your head would make it impossible to eat and you wouldn’t want your family to see what a failure you are. It’s easier to climb back into bed.
The darkness of depression is hard to shake. It doesn’t just exist on the outside but pushes its way into every chamber of your heart. Tonyrobbins.com, in their article, “How to Deal With Depression,” has some ideas on how to get out from under depression’s hold on your life. One idea is to, “Change your physiology. Being mindful of your body and making adjustments to how you carry yourself can be key to getting out of depression. It can be as simple as lifting your chest.” Another is to, “Change your words. Your words matter – both the words you say out loud and the way you speak to yourself internally.”
When darkness encircles your world, remember that you can lay your burdens down at Christ’s feet. Trust that God sees depression’s bag over your head. He will lift it off and give you back your strength when yours is gone. God can be your lamp and turn your darkness into light.
Romans 13:7 - Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Sometimes when we are ridiculed and criticized by others it can dig a hole deep in our hearts which causes pain. But as hard as this may be to hear, we’ve taught people how to treat us whether with respect or criticism.
If you are an aggressive person, then you push people around to get your way. You yell. You stomp your feet. You pretty much act like a two-year-old who’s being blocked from getting his way.
Does this describe you? Then it’s time to grow up. People may appear to respect the one who is a bully, even at fifty years old, but they keep their thoughts to themselves for fear of the consequences.
If you are a passive aggressive person, then you also try to push people around in order to get your way, but you do it by way of manipulation. You pout. You give people the “silent” treatment. You speak with a wine in your voice. You feel sorry for yourself. And, you’re still acting like a two-year-old.
Does this describe you? Then, yes, it’s also time for you to grow up. Nobody even tries to hide that they have no respect for a passive aggressive individual. And, it makes for a life with few friends.
If you are an assertive person, you don’t have to bully or manipulate people to do what you want. That’s because people are willing to help you even before you ask. They see how you treat others with respect. They see how you are willing to see both sides of a story and are open to receive advice.
You can see how each personality type teaches those around them how to treat them. This is not to place guilt on you, but to help you open up your thoughts to see that you might be at least partly responsible for the grief you receive from others.
Let’s correct that problem. Today, begin treating yourself with respect.
Here are a few more ideas on how to begin to respect yourself on thehopeline.com in their article, “How to Respect Yourself More.” Here’s a good one, “Don’t let other people’s opinions about you control you.” If you’re an approval addict this may be hard to do, but you, “must break free from the grip of others.” Another suggestion is, “Don’t let anybody force you to be or do anything you don’t want to do or be, simply to gain their approval or friendship.”
I believe that if you start treating yourself with respect others will soon travel in that direction, too. You can retrain others to believe in the gifts and talents that you have to offer. And just as the Bible verse says above, God also wants us to not only give respect to others, but to ourselves.
1 Kings 19:3, 4 – Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
You sit alone in your living room.The blinds are shut as if you could shut out life. And rolling around in your head is the last conversation you had with your son.
It hadn’t gone well, and he had hung up on you.
You start to cry. Then your cry turns even deeper and from your lips escapes, “Woe is me!”
The more you think about your life, the stronger the cry from your heart. But if you’re really honest with yourself, you are simply feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve had disagreements with your son before. You just need to give him some time.
Yet still you feel it’s not fair he treated you this way. On and on you rationize that you hadn’t done anything wrong. And from somewhere down the line the train of self-pity is coming to pick you up.
But does it help you to feel sorry for yourself? Is it going to make you feel better? In most cases no.
Self-pity is a choice to simply feel sorry for yourself and to wallow in it. The more you wallow in the mud, the harder it is to come out of it. You must grab a hose and wash the mud off of you. As you do, you’ll feel the weight of self-pity lift off.
Let’s find some ways to stop thinking, “Woe is me.” Psychologytoday.com in their article, “9 Ways to Get Past Self-Pity,” gives us some clues to help us wash off self-pity. One way to do so is to “reserve your resources for productive activities.” “Every minute you dwell on self-pity is 60 seconds you delay working on a solution to your problems.” Another one is, “They refuse to complain.” “Venting to other people about the magnitude of your problems fuels feelings of self-pity.”
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Elijah was a great prophet in Bible times. He had just watched God win a victory and perform a miracle, yet when someone threatened to kill him, he ran. He was in the middle of self-pity and said in affect that he was done. But God didn’t take Elijah’s life for feeling this way. He fed and cared for him and helped him wash that pity away. God will lift you out of self-pity too. You just need to turn towards him and believe things will get better.
Proverbs 29:11 - A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Anger can turn ugly fast when you’re in situations you have no control over.
Anger in itself isn’t bad. The trick is to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
When you go beyond your thoughts, and begin to take your anger out on others, you know you’re in trouble. Everyone is different in what will make them feel extreme anger. So it’s important to be a student of your body and mind and watch what triggers your anger. This way, you have a chance of diffusing your anger before you come in contact with someone else who may push your anger button. You may have a valid reason for being angry, but be careful.
How do you stop your anger before it gets out of control? Gizmodo.com in their article, “How to Prevent Your Anger From Spiraling Out of Control,” suggests to, “remind yourself that anger on its own (it’s just an emotion, after all) is not the solution to the problem or situation, and in fact it may make things worse.” Also, using some humor could help. “Humor can be a powerful tool to diffuse a stressful or annoying situation, and it can do wonders in alleviating negative feelings in our own minds.”
Remember, God is always ready to talk to you. He’s safe to explain your situation to and diffuse that anger. He will bring you comfort and guide your mind back into the safe harbor of peace and help you avoid pushing the anger button.
Romans 15:5 – May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
Disappointment. It’s here again.
It may hurt when disappointment greets us at the door, but it doesn’t have to permanently live with us. It’s all about attitude.
When we ask someone to do something for us and they back out or say “no”, we can let it simmer underneath the surface. We may act like it doesn’t bother us. Many times though, disappointment builds. However, we must examine the other person’s situation:
Don’t close that person out of your life. Life is full of two sides. We’ve all experienced both needing help and being ready to help. Let’s take a look at this:
When someone needs help it can be confusing to know how to help. This in turn can lead to disappointment. Kristineinbetween.com in their article, “How to Deal When Friends Disappoint You,” has some thoughts on the subject. They suggest that disappointments are often a result of not having your expectations met. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings when you’re disappointed, and speak your mind with grace. Tell them exactly how the disappointment affected you and why you feel the way you do.
Here’s another thought: We must remember to take a look at the situation from all sides. If we don’t, disappointment will begin to eat away at our heart and our relationships with other people. It may help to ask the friend who can’t help you if they know someone who might be able to. Getting someone new’s help may open the door to a new friendship. So keep that attitude in check.
Remember to keep in mind the attitude that Jesus had. He was willing to lay down his life for his friends. We may not be asked to lay down our life, but we may be asked to lay down our disappointments, and be thankful instead. God will indeed give you the endurance to live your life as one who forgives others when they let them down, and help you lend a hand to someone else.
Proverbs 15:13 - A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Do you allow yourself to be happy or do you blame yourself for all that’s wrong in your life?
I was stuck for years in the muck and mire of blaming myself for everything wrong in my life.
I think you can see the pattern that my life followed: I was treated like I couldn’t make decisions on my own and that I was a failure, so I guess I was. I didn’t see that I could have made other choices. Choices I wanted to make.
And what did I want? Happiness.
However, I felt that I might as well expect the worst, because I didn’t deserve to be happy. But that was a lie others told me and one I told myself.
Psychologytoday.com posts some helpful tips on how to deal with unhappiness in their article, “When You Feel You Don’t Deserve to be Happy.” One way that may be causing you to feel you don’t deserve happiness is to have a critical self-image. Those who are perfectionists and hard-driven are constantly critical of themselves and are stuck at the bottom of a well with little or no way to get out. Also, it may be that you feel guilty if you’re happy. When your unhappiness has become your new normal, your view of yourself and what you present to others, can feel unsettling and confusing.
I felt guilty and stuck for a lot of years. However, I had a few friends scattered throughout my life that wanted me to be happy. They wanted good things for me, and strength for the heartaches I’d endured. They also were the ones who offered me a smile and their friendship.
No one can earn that kind of happiness. Money won’t last. You won’t be healthy forever. People will walk out of your life. Sometimes there are floods and sometimes there are droughts.
If you base your life on believing the sun will never shine, you will fail to lift up your eyes and see the rainbow that is over your clouds. God sees our heartaches and wants us to find happiness in him and in the many ways he has blessed us. Know this, no matter how bad it gets the sun will rise tomorrow. So smile, and don’t be afraid to be happy.
Psalm 73:26 - My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
We all make mistakes from time-to-time, so why is it so difficult to admit when we’ve blown it and then move on?
I think people with type “A” personalities have a hard time when they make a mistake because they need to do everything perfectly.
But what they don’t truly grasp is that by pretending to be right all of the time, it pushes other people away.
It’s great to strive to do a good job, but we can’t always do that whether we’re a type “A” personality or not.
> Sometimes we need a little help.
> Sometimes we’ve taken on too big of a job for one person.
> Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure by trying to not only do the job perfectly, but in record time.
A lot of time, the type “A” personality is under a great deal of pressure. They have a reputation to uphold, but that’s not the only reason. They may have parents who expect them to obtain to a certain standard. After all, when the parents were younger they were able to handle the pressure and reach success. Type “A” has to reach it, or they fear their parents won’t love them.
And let’s not forget that holding yourself to a high standard doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as type “A” doesn’t think that they’re better than everyone else, and they’re willing to ask for help when they need it. True success isn’t a one man show. It takes a collection of people working towards a goal.
Whether we have a type “A” personality or someone else we know has one, how can we help them avoid failing and get a better shot at reaching their goals? Take a look at the article, “How to Set and Achieve Goals Based on Your Personality Type,” on fastcompany.com. One of their thoughts is finding and commiting to a goal isn’t the problem. It’s reining them in to ensure that what they’ve chosen is reasonable. Also, they have trouble letting go of a goal when it’s a bad fit, they let one goal take over their lives until it hurts others.
Also remember, you always have someone who can strengthen you if you fail and will be with you through success or failure. God will always be your strength.
Deuteronomy 33:11 - Bless all his skills, LORD, and be pleased with the work of his hands. Strike down those who rise against him, his foes till they rise no more.”
Here’s one that few people talk about: being fired.
This can leave a stigma over you for years to come as people ask why you lost your job.
However, the day you were fired passes into another day and becomes your past. You can’t do anything about the past, but you can do something about today:
One of the first steps is to prepare for the doorway into your new job is to develop tools to help you prepare for a job interview:
Now that you’ve got the right tools developed to apply for a job, it’s also important to learn skills that will help you stay employed. Forbes.com has an excellent article titled, “5 Job Skills To Get You (And Keep You) Employed.” One of their tips is writing. Writing skills are back in vogue, as nearly everything is communicated through web pages, social media, and email marketing. Also, more specifically with social media, many companies are just realizing the importance of social media for attracting and selling to customers and are scrambling to put together their “social strategies.” Adept users of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn quite possibly have the skills to help companies with their social strategies.
With the right preparation and skills it’s not only possible to recover from being fired, but to find and keep your next job. Remember, God is the one who blesses people with not only the skills they need, but he is also pleased with the work of their hands. Don’t let being fired the reason to give up and end your career. Let it be a stepping stone to a job you can feel good about having.
Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Disappointment. There it is. Things aren’t turning out the way you wanted them to.
Do you believe if you don’t expect something good to happen then you won’t be disappointed? That’s a hard question to ask.
With each one of these situations, it shows that you’ve already predicted the outcome. All you see ahead of you is disappointment. And you wonder, “What’s the point of trying when I’ll never see the approval I long for? Nothing will ever turn out the way I want it to be.”
Could there be a reason that you’re disappointed most of the time? Could it be that you don’t have any hope left? You’ve been hurt so many times that you don’t think you can handle one more let down.
How do we move past disappointment? Chopra.com, in their article, “9 Ways to Overcome Disappointment,” makes some suggestions. Here’s one – Adopt the perspective of an observer rather than a participant. Detaching like this allows you to see with increased clarity. Also, celebrate that you know what you want. By having the feeling of disappointment, it shows that you know what your goal is.
Attitude plays a big part in this. I’m opening my journal and writing in it, “Today will be the kind of day that I make it out to be.” That’s right. I said that I make it out to be. In addition, I make it a point to pray that God would open my eyes to see things the way he does. His plan will ultimately be fulfilled. Then I will discover that though one thing may have caused me disappointment, there are many more reasons that brought me joy. Reach for the joy, and let go of the disappointments.
Matthew 9:28 - When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
In the ocean, far away from shore, sits a small desert island.
The sand dunes shift and change position with each passing breeze. Only a couple of palm trees stand as sentries guarding the island. Not far from the trees, something moves. And then drops to their knees.
It’s a person, and there’s no one with them. That’s because they’re stranded on this little desert island, because they can no longer come and go as they please. That’s how a person with chronic pain or an illness feels.
But that’s not the way it has to be.
If you stand up and turn around you’ll see an oasis in the distance. That oasis is made up of people who serve as those two, sentry palm trees, always on duty being your friend in spite of your pain.
But you have to take the first step toward them.
Let go of your fears.
If you want things to be different, you must believe they can be.
Cnbc.com in their article, “18 Ways Successful People Think Differently,” gives us some ways that we can do things differently and change our present, such as worry, fear, action, and gratitude are all choices you get to make. No one gets to decide anything for you. Every decision is completely yours to make. In addition, today is that second chance you have been asking for. Use it.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. There were some men who were blind. They went to Jesus hoping he would heal them. But even though they’d gone to Jesus, they still needed to believe he could do it. It’s the same with us. If we want things to be different we have to believe that God is able to change things. No, he may not change everything, and he might not even change the worst things you’re going through. But he does touch our lives by bring others to stand with us through our trials. God will also bring healing to our hearts and encouragement to strengthen us.
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.