I feel like much of my identity has been based on my struggles: struggles with my body image, chronic health issues, parenting and more. When I step back, I realize that’s not true—that’s not really who I am, yet I catch myself dealing with the earthly temptation, that our happiness is based on circumstances. I realize when I do that, when ANY of us do, we are guaranteed to be miserable.
Recently old thoughts of body images issues have been trying to rear its ugly head.…I think that it’s because of the stress of my upcoming book launch, or getting older, and running a household and raising children.. (which don’t get me wrong—I’m honored and unbelievably grateful to do it all)!!! I find these abusive thoughts come lingering when I feel overwhelmed and depleted.
When I step back, I look at the various trials I’ve been through—seasons in my life where I have literally had NO money, low self-esteem, friends that I thought were loyal and weren’t, and many disappointments in life …So it begs the question: how do we get through the storms and not be miserable? How do we cope when we feel hopeless? I know that God does not “test” us, but life tests us and that’s when we need to lean into our faith and our friends for accountability and to get us through.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you maybe be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1: 3-4
On top of my own struggles, my oldest son, Ethan, has had some scary health issues. I am so thankful he is ok, but it’s been very trying not only for our family, but on him. It’s scary being young and not knowing what’s wrong. And then there’s a handful of dear friends that are all going through painful divorces. It’s paralyzing to them. My one friend has been in, what I consider, a depression because of her divorce. She has confided in me that she doesn’t even know how to pray anymore…so she just prays “help me, Jesus.” She doesn’t know how to NOT focus on or even obsess about her current circumstances. And I can relate to that. We all can: let’s be real—we all have something we are obsessed over. We all have false idols (no matter how good or bad). So how do we find peace and break the cycle of obsessing? How do we find the beauty in the brokenness?
Some of the ways I cope are confessing my faults to a trusted friend—having them keep me accountable. Just verbalizing it and processing through it with someone I trust helps. Even more important is being in the word: whether it’s a devotional like Jesus Calling or finding a verse to cling to and memorizing it. I have my UVersion app send me a bible verse every morning. I look at it all throughout the day. It helps when I start worrying or obsessing I just cling to that verse and repeat it over and over again. And lastly, I just pray. Even if it’s as simple as what my friend prays, “Help me, Jesus.”
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. –Joshua 1:8
Fill your thoughts with the word of God. It’s so hard to break the cycle of obsessing, but if you can, you will be able to slowly move through it, all the while drawing nearer to God. We each have trials. But if we can slow down and remember: 1) we battle, 2) we praise God in word or worship, 3) we listen, and then 4) we rest.
I will leave you with one of my very favorite verses that I always find comfort in:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11
Don’t ever forget YOU are LOVED!!!