God’s Word has so many morsels of joy and excitement. Sometimes though, we have to glean through some rough parts to get the that little nugget of joy. Remember John 16:33? Jesus said:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
This verse is like an Oreo, with some drag-me-right-down double stuff in the middle. Except, I really like the double stuff in the Oreo. But I really don’t want any trouble! Do you? But He just envelopes that bit of bad news with news of peace and victory. And I don’t picture my Jesus standing there placidly and sternly handing out this tidbit of wisdom. I picture a loving brother, saying “Hey, I’m just telling you this stuff so you can depend on me when it gets tough. Yeah, stuff is gonna happen and it’s not gonna be fun, but listen sis, we win! It’s not gonna last forever. And we come out on top.” I’m so glad He’s on my side.
I don’t want trouble; but isn’t it so great to know that we have peace in Jesus and He has already “overcome the world”? Still, we do have to deal with the trouble that comes in between. So how do we make it through the struggle?
I really wish I could say that this is the FIRST thing that I do when trouble rears its ugly head. But I would be a big, fat liar. I really like to be in control. (Coach and the littles are probably reading this saying, “Nah, not her.” 😉 But it’s true.) I like to be in charge. I’m so much more comfortable when I’m calling the shots and know what is going to happen, and when. Because we all know that we can get trouble to conform to my schedule, right?
I do get around to praying, though. And I always apologize for waiting and trying to handle things myself. Three cheers for my Jesus, that forgives me and loves me anyway – hip, hip… But He immediately fills me with His peace and love and I think, “Hey, you crazy onion! Why didn’t you just do that in the first place?!”
Read God’s Word
His Word is such a vessel of peace. The Oreos like we looked at above are jam-packed in that thing. Go ahead; open it up! Don’t open to the first book of Matthew or the first 8 books of 1 Chronicles. (Well, unless you are working on a genealogy project, anyway.) Open in the New Testament and find you some red letters. The words of Jesus can be so comforting and encouraging.
And the words of God in the Old Testament, like Isaiah 48:10. God was angry with the people of Israel, but he had a plan to rescue them anyway for His own sake. He told them that He had refined them, not like silver is refined, but that He had refined them in the furnace of suffering. What a joy to know that when God allows trouble into my life, it will serve to refine me, to make me better and more whole, and maybe even a little purtier. 😉 After all, He does work all things for good.
Go to Church
All of my fellow onions may jump up to argue here, but I claim my church as the greatest church on the planet! The people there have never met a stranger and willingly give so much love to each soul that walks in the door. You cannot possibly walk into that group and feel sorrow or worry for more than a couple of minutes. There is just not room for it with all the emotions and deep caring waiting there for anyone who walks in. My brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and cousins in my church family do so much in building me up when I need it most. And it is so easy to have a good time and change your mental focus.
And what could ever be a better mood lifter than the calm, sweet presence of the Holy Spirit?! When I bask in the presence of my King, I leave with a renewed spirit and the peace of mind to face my trouble head on. Fear and doubt are gone and I just enjoy knowing that my God is in charge and He who is within me is greater than he that is in the world. And once again I’m reminded that we win!!
Hang Out With Family and Friends
Does anyone else here love their family? Awww, sheesh? You mean it’s not just me? How do you feel about your friends? Do you think of them as an extended version of your family? It is so important to have friends and family that you can count on to help you up when you fall. Or when you just need a shoulder to cry on. My family is this for me. I consider them my closest friends. My parents are my biggest fans. There is nothing I can’t tell them and I know they will be on my side, no matter what. They do try to talk sense into me once in a while, but mostly they just smile and nod in the right places and look indignant for my cause in the others. Coach and the littles are a little less biased, but mostly they are on my side. They hear me out and give me support when and where I need it. And going through struggles together as a family has strengthened and bonded us so much. Almost as much as living together in a barn for 9 months… but that’s a story for another time. (Although it definitely had its share of STRUGGLE!)
Do Something You Love
Do you have a hobby or some activity that brings you joy? Use that to help you change focus. We have to get out-of-the-way and let God work things for our good. That is so much easier to do when we have somewhere else to direct our focus. Take the time to enjoy something you love to do. I like to read a book or crochet. I would read every spare minute I had if it didn’t make me so sleepy. 😉 Find your thing that makes you smile and give your mind a break from the fight. Take your littles to the park and play WITH them. Play catch in the yard. Go for a bike ride. Have a game night or movie night. Or go get a massage. (Woohoo! I vote for that last one.) Enjoy yourself and get yourself out of God’s way for a while.
These are things that have served me over the years to lift my mind from my struggle. I hope you can find encouragement from them and find at least one to help you. What are some things you have done to ease your mind and body through struggle? And do you prefer regular Oreos or the DoubleStuff?