Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Daily Struggle: How to Love Ourselves through the Hardships

Perfection is an illusion. No one is perfect. We might give others the illusion that we live in a perfect world, with a perfect life, but that’s just not possible.

Struggles are part of our everyday life. In some form, we all face some type of hardship continually. Once we get over that hurdle, we barely get a moment to catch our breath before another one is in our way. I asked my daddy once, when does it get easier? His reply, “It doesn’t get easier. You get stronger, and learn to handle it better.”

When faced with a new situation, it is always hard because it seems so overwhelming. Our minds kick into overactive mode and make the situation seem worse than it actually is. One of my biggest obstacles is the feeling that I’m not good enough to do this job God gave me to do. I know that I’m qualified through Him and that He helps me, but still my mind lists all my faults and failures. Sometimes I still feel like that little girl who was looked down upon. The enemy plays on our weaknesses. And when someone verbally acknowledges one of my fears or weaknesses, the doubt in my mind intensifies.

The more I think about it and embrace the negative feelings, the louder my negative voice becomes. This is a process that I am still learning because new obstacles arise continually. While we can’t completely stop bad, negative thoughts from forming, we can overcome them.

First, I seek God. I need His wisdom and guidance to get me through every obstacle in my life. Prayer and meditation are equally important. When I pray, I ask Him to help me. During meditation, I am quiet and listen for His instructions. It took me a while to understand this because I like to do all the talking. Every once in a while, however, I need to listen for His voice. And read my Bible.  

Second, I try to think about my situation. Why am I upset or hurt? What am I afraid of? And I give myself permission to cry and be upset—if I need to be. Tears are cleansing and they help us get over the hurt. It’s not good to hold our emotions inside.

Next, I put it into perspective. God always helps me with this. When I’m ready to see the situation differently, as it should be, God opens my eyes.

Finally, I establish my positive mindset. Once my feet are set just right, the enemy cannot move me.

Speaking of mindset, I decided to try a new approach with my health. I’ve had chronic pain for years. It’s been debilitating at times. Usually, when I’m in that painful state, my mind focuses on the hurt. So instead of focusing on the pain, I decided to focus on my wellbeing and abilities.

Every morning I wake up and tell myself how blessed I am to be alive. Then, I get ready and go to the gym. I don’t discuss it with myself. It’s not a question of whether I feel like it or not. I just go.

During the day, as the pain starts creeping in, I reinforce my positive feelings about my health. And slowly, the pain eases. Pain I’ve dealt with my whole life. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t explain why or how this happens, but I assure you it works. I can’t remember the last time I felt this great. It’s almost as if I’ve finally given myself permission to be well.

I’ve come to realize, the only limitations I have are the ones I give myself. If I work hard and put in the effort, God will bless my efforts.



What are some ways you cope with hardships? 

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