Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finding Joy When We Feel Stuck

Have you ever been in a season of life when you just feel stuck?  The rent goes up but your paycheck doesn't. The progress you've made paying down debt or saving for a rainy day is suddenly reversed because of repairs to the clunker you drive in order to avoid a car note. You may have a job you love but you wonder if that is all there is or if there is something more you should be doing with your life. Everything in you wants to hop in the car and drive until your problems are far behind you and you can breathe. Trouble is, you eventually have to go back home and face them all over again.

So how do we find joy when we feel stuck? How do we find the strength to stay in our circumstances when all we want to do is run away from them?

Sometimes we do whatever feels good at the moment -- drink or medicate ourselves to numb the pain, engage in a little retail therapy, or book a vacation we may desperately need but cannot afford. I've done all those things and can tell you that they do not work. The buzz eventually wears off and leaves you with a hangover. The bill comes for that new outfit or that dream vacation, resulting in regret and futility as you pay for that quick fix over many months, or even years.

So, what's the good news? How DO we cope with the "stuck" seasons of life and maintain our joy in the midst of them?

First of all, you acknowledge your hurt and have a good cry. Life is hard and sometimes you need to boo hoo a little to relieve the pressure. That's ok. God totally understands, but he doesn't want you to linger in self-pity. Pour out your heart to him and let him dry your tears. He craves honesty from you. You don't have to be brave. He wants you to come to him. Being a rock is not your job. It is his. Let him be your refuge and strong tower.

Second, start counting your blessings. Thank him that your troubles are not as bad as someone else's. You don't have to think hard to know there are others in far worse shape than you are. Thank him for your salvation and his sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9). He's got this! That, in itself, is the biggest blessing of all.

Thank him for his provision for your daily needs and stop stressing over the future. He promises that he will supply all your needs according to his riches (Philippians 4:19) and that he will take care of you one day at a time (Matthew 6:25-34).

Still feel like you can't breathe after all this? Then walk outside and look around you at all the beauty he has created. Thank him for eyes to see and ears to hear all that surrounds you. Take a walk and thank him for legs that can move you as you exercise to relieve the tension you feel.

Problems are a part of life. God never said it would be easy. Rather, he said we are to "count it all joy" (James 1:2-18).

This life is not all there is. You may feel stuck today but you will not be forever. And you are never stuck alone. The God who loves you is right beside you.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace" (Helen Howarth Lemmel).

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hello, Old Friend

It's been awhile since I've blogged on this site. So much has happened the past few months that I have hardly had time to process it all and to derive any profound spiritual truth that you don't already know. The seasons of life that have been the hardest for me have yielded the devotionals I have posted on this blog the past several years. Right now I am happy to report that I am in a season of life that is peaceful for the most part. I have my challenges, certainly, but things are pretty much on an even keel.

Do I still need God?  Yes, absolutely every day. I can't imagine waking up and starting each day without knowing that he will be with me every step of the way.  In this present season of joy I am storing up treasures in heaven against that day when adversity will strike again and I will desperately cry out to him for mercy. I still spend time in his Word daily and talk with him as I walk each morning. It is the best part of my day!

Some have asked when I plan to publish my next devotional book but I'm not sure there will be another one. Every time I write a devotional it seems a repeat of something I have said before. Sure, God can still use the devotional thoughts I share, even when I repeat myself, but my next book -- if there even is a next book -- will be something different altogether. If you are seeking a devotional on a special topic, click the search window on this blog and you may find something of benefit.

God is moving me in a different direction these days. My heart, now more than ever, is inclined to serve him, but as an advocate for animals and more compassionate and environmentally-conscious living. A lot of Christians wonder how veganism can be compatible with my Christian faith, especially since the Bible is full of passages concerning the provision of animals for food and clothing. I'll not address that here, but I invite you to visit my vegan blog for more on my vegan journey and the work Joy and I are doing to improve the quality of life for animals and to promote a plant-strong lifestyle that will benefit our health and help our environment.

I will continue posting here as God leads and inspires, so I hope you will check back from time to time to set what is new.  Until then, know that each and every day God loves you and I am praying for you.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.