Try remembering something. An ache in your heart can sometimes be a lie from the enemy…
It was one of those dog days of summer, and I was tired. Tired of widowhood. Tired of handling all the responsibilities of the four children with no spouse to help. This time I had the added frustration that I had come within weeks last spring of marrying someone I thought would whisk me out of this predicament only to find in the eleventh hour something new about him that made me take pause and listen to God speaking into my heart, telling me this wasn’t going to be right for me or the boys.
Have you had bad days? Everyone’s circumstances are different. Kids or not–losing a love or losing a job or missing your husband, or a disagreement with a friend, sometimes events just put you in a fuddle. I can only use my experience as an example, and I hope it offers some help to how you might approach a bad day, no matter what your circumstances.
Here’s what I thought that day—Google will help! Try googling how to fix a bad day. You’ll find so many pieces of worldly advice, and perhaps sometimes they work—exercise, eat chocolate, call a friend, meditate, count your blessings, help someone in need.
Believe me, ladies, I’ve tried them all. Here’s the deal. While the world’s answers might offer temporary help, there’s only one complete healing answer to turning a bad day around, and it’s Christ.
If you exercise, those endorphins will kick in and pick you up for a bit, and perhaps you’ll feel a bit better about your body, but eventually the endorphins fade, and if you’ve then eaten the chocolate, you’ll feel like you’ve undone what you accomplished for your body in the workout!
Calling a friend sometimes helps, but I’ve found I’ve had to be careful about the friends I call. Will she want to stew with you on your problem? Will she try to complain about hers? The question isn’t really will she help you up or keep you down, but is she wise enough to direct you where you should be turning—to Christ?
Then there is meditation. If you interpret meditation as prayer and concentration on Scripture, that’s great, but please, sisters, be careful if you have fallen into the ill-advice of others who’ve guided you into transcendental meditation, a practice started by the Hindus and Buddhists where you empty your mind. Christ is clear (in Luke 11:24-26) that a mind emptied can invite demonic spirits to hop in and upset you more. In meditation, don’t empty—fill your mind and heart with the Holy Spirit—then let Him clean house in your brain.
Counting your blessings. I do it every day, beginning with the four smiles that greet me every day and thank me for being their mom! Sometimes, I want more. I just get in that funk where yes, I’m happy they are healthy and happy and life is good, but something has gotten under my craw. How do I get that thorn out of there?
Even helping someone else—be careful. Is your motivation to feel self-satisfied? It works, believe me, even on that dog day in summer, I helped myself to a dose of soup kitchen duty and found myself briefly lifted. But even as I ministered to the homeless, the nagging ache just wouldn’t go away.
Do you know what finally worked? Trying all of those things and failing and getting to the end of myself and landing on my knees in my bedroom in tears before God, and admitting my inability. “Lord, I’ve tried everything,” I cried. “I can’t do it. I can’t get this awful feeling of disappointment out of me. I’m just so tired of it. Can you remove it? Can you please send your Holy Spirit and just fill me with hope and joy and gratitude?
If you haven’t experienced what came next, you might find it hard to believe. Trust me sisters, this wasn’t the first time. This surge of peace just blew through me so instantaneously; it knocked me off of my knees and flat on the floor! I lay there for a moment wondering what just happened. Then I realized. It’s gone—that ache, the thing that was getting under my craw. Not minimized, not set aside for the moment, but gone.
You know that gnawing that you feel about an issue? When it’s truly gone, you know it this way—somehow you’ve figured out that the gnawing thought you had was a lie. That’s what happened at that moment. I couldn’t, no matter what I did, believe that thought that just a few moments before was causing me anguish.
But moments earlier, and the entire day before that moment, I simply couldn’t remove the lie that was killing my peace and killing my day. Only the Holy Spirit could. And when I got to the end of trying everything humanly possible to remove the lie and discovered I couldn’t do it myself, I finally turned to the One who could.
Try remembering something. An ache in your heart can sometimes be a lie from the enemy. My ache of disappointment that I couldn’t marry the man I spent over a year investing my energy in came from a lie–that things would have been hunky dory if only he hadn’t revealed the deal breaker. I stood up, and everything was clear as that day when I made the decision not to marry that gentleman. Rather than a lonely structure, my house suddenly looked like a beacon of refuge for my kids because here in my house, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I can choose to show my kids how to walk their faith and know how much Christ loves us. I realized how unbelievably blessed I really am, and my energy level soared—for real, because it was based on truth. God’s truth!
Here’s the prayer I used to invite the Holy Spirit in to rid me of an anxious lie.
Father God, I’m a wreck. I don’t get it—I’m not always like this, but somehow I’ve gotten myself so focused on what I wanted to happen which didn’t. I’ve taken my eyes off of You, and I’m feeling the result. I’m so sorry. I’ve tried everything to get this ache out of my heart—everything but ask for Your help. Maybe I needed to do everything else first, just to begin this heartfelt prayer and really mean it. But I do, Lord. I sincerely want Your Holy Spirit guiding me, pulling me out of my wrong thinking, replenishing me with Truth. You’re so good, Father God, and I know You love me. Can you please just rid me of this awful obsession over what didn’t go right for me and put me on Your solid ground? Amen.
Come back Wednesday where I’ll write more about how to replace the enemy’s lies with His truth and give yourself a good day every day!