Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dealing with the frustration of today's woes

Depressed, Busted and Disgusted?

Don’t you just hate it when you are sitting in the pit of gloom and some rosy faced happy person pops into your view? ‘Go away’ you say to yourself. ‘I’m not in the mood to hear your happiness’. I can be honest here, I have had some times when I just enjoyed being depressed. ‘poor me’ turned into ‘poor pitiful but innocent and wonderful me’ then it turned into ‘poor me’ with a bit of a music added…’Make the world go away…’ and a refrain. ‘I’m just gonna sit here in my gloom, poor me poor me, I’m all alone in the room, poor me, poor me’ I am making a joke here but you know you’ve done that!
Maybe you run into an old friend and discover that they are buying a new home and listen for a while as they tell of their vacation plans and child who is graduating from college. You can’t listen attentively because you are thinking to yourself…’poor me’’.
We have entered into a new world with the economic and moral change of the world. We can no longer try to escape it, ignore it or fight it with the old world tools. This is the world we have and it will take some rude awakenings for some,[ and some careful planning for others]to get through it.
We sometimes think that if we go to church we will find people who have it all together. That is not true. A church is nothing more than a hospital for the spiritually minded. Depression doesn’t care if you go to church or not. But, if you start digging into the word of God you might just find some ways to battle this monster! If you go to a bible teaching church, you just might find some answers. You might not want to hear them because they might not agree with your way of handling things…but do you want to follow your ways or God’s?
Jesus never prayed that his father would remove us from this world. ‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.’
John 17:14-16

Perhaps you are living with a person who is depressed. They see the world as one mountain to climb after another. How do you cope? Let me give you a secret. You can not fix them! Best thing for you is to keep yourself joyful. Stay in prayer! Listen to the Lord’s worship music. Keep in your bible! Pray without ceasing. Ask the Lord to put you in a protective bubble so you don’t fall into the pit of depression with your loved one. You can’t pull anyone out that way!
However, since I have been both the one depressed and the one married to a depressed person…I have a few ideas.
Jesus told us we would have trials. He didn’t lie. “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.”
John 16:32-33 We sometimes don’t like to believe he was talking to US! But, Jesus was talking to us. ‘hey ya’ll! YOU WILL HAVE TRIALS!’
Going over my story ‘Journey to Surrender’ I have found that there really was no beginning to Shermy and my life of trials. I think it began when we said ‘hello’. Poor decisions that were made to make us suddenly happy opened the door to disaster with the bad breath of a dinosaur.
We both grew up in a family with low income. We always wanted the ‘more’ and didn’t have the ‘knowledge or wisdom’ to know how to keep it. The credit card fantasy came into being in the early eighties. Then, remortgaging our home seemed a great plan. It wasn’t.
When we reached the stressful stage of both having to work full time to pay off the interest on things we no longer owned, we found that nasty monster…depression. The stress led to other things like poor health, anger, jealousy, envy, strife, more stress, and more hours working. This ended for me as I was hit with epileptic seizures that caused so many side effects I was unable to function. So…now we were faced with a one income family with the debts of a two income family.
The phones began to ring with bill collectors, doctor bills started adding up, embarrassment and shame came along for the ride.
What does the bible say? James 1 :1-3
‘ My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.’ COUNT IT ALL JOY! Don’t you just hate that? If you are like me, you were looking for a soothing word of comfort or a miracle recipe to get you out of this mess! You’ve decided that you all ready have enough patience and don’t need anymore training time.
If you are being tested and retested than perhaps God thinks you didn’t pass the test. Let your response be your answer. Philippians 4 states ‘ Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.’ Can we learn to be content in whatever circumstances we have knowing that Christ is with us?
I can guarantee if you cannot be content in whatever circumstance you are in now, you will not be content if God gives you a miracle to get out of it. We are on a journey here. How on earth can we ever be content with the high price of oil, food and high crime every where? How can we be content when we have a physical problem?
We do all that we feel the Lord has us do and then we ask for help to go through the trial. Sometimes we have to take medicine. Sometimes we have to repent. Sometimes we have to just wait on the Lord.
This country is holding it’s breath and waiting for the news media to tell us when we can breathe. It’s never going to happen. I have some bad news and I will duck after telling you this. Please don’t throw stones! Trials are going to be with us until we go home to be with Jesus! It’s true!
We can get over the loss of our money, just in time to be in a car accident! We may finally get through physical therapy for an injury and have to bury a loved one. But, we do not have to live in a constant state of fear.
Each day has enough troubles of it’s own. When I look back on my married life of chaos and trouble, I can honestly say that the worst fear I had never came to be. Yet, I wasted an awful lot of time and energy on worry. That is energy my body could have used for something better, like better health, better state of mind and a host of other things. But no, I used up energy in a negative way. No more!
Shermy and I found that we had to develop a duck’s back. You know how a duck’s back slopes? Things slide off a slope. We began to pick and choose our battles. Organization is a key to our life. Here’s what I mean,
‘We go to the store and someone cuts in front of us in line.’ That slides off, we refuse to get riled over that stuff. The same with driving, someone cuts in front or gives us some hand gesture. That slides off.
Some one says something that might be offensive. We found we are not mind readers and don’t wish to go in to what the bible terms as ‘vain imaginations’. We imagine all sorts of things that person may or may not have meant with his statement. Nah! Duck’s back!
We lose something in the house. After we look for a bit and ask the Lord to help us find it we just let it slide. Yet, we have learned to be more organized.
In fact, I have found that good housekeeping helps to diminish the depressed state we used to always be in. I now can find things quicker, and our eyes don’t see chaos. Many people’s life of chaos is reflected in poor housekeeping.
We also began to rethink how we lived. I use to think nothing of spending a lot of money on clothes, restaurants, and entertainment. All of a sudden I needed to be more careful. This started out to be very depressing when I looked at my friends lives. They owned boats, bought expensive things, and went out to fine dining without batting an eye. The old green monster sat on my shoulder and laughed.
But God is forever faithful. My husband and I began to learn to shop a whole new way. Thrift shops and consignment shops were available in plenty supply. We learned to pick and choose what needed to be bought and if we could live with used things. Remember the scripture…’I have learned to be content in all situations.’? Soon, we made this a part of our entertainment. Then, we found we were saving money and we could buy new things if we chose well. I think that is ‘knowledge and wisdom’ from the Almighty.
Rather than going out to eat, we ate at home and went ‘Thrift shopping!’ We also learned how to buy groceries and keep to a small food budget. I have written many recipes in my ‘Majestic Manna’ cookbook for low budgets. It was an adventure. We started out being upset and in fear. But, the Lord helped us see it as an adventure. I now enjoy seeing how much I can buy for less than fifty dollars. We don’t just buy carbohydrates either. This is how I learned not to drink my calories too. Water took the place of soda. I didn’t like the taste at first, but God’s grace was sufficient for Paul so I made it sufficient for me too.
Our poor truck has seen better days ten years ago. But, we decided against having a car payment. My husband has a gift for fixing things. He made this truck his project. This came with some adventure too. We had to walk a few miles once just to get a battery! It’s all good! God never allowed us to get stuck somewhere we couldn’t get help.
I used to treasure Friday nights when hubby and I went out for a married ‘date night’. Those days are gone for now. His work schedule is not steady and we can’t afford the price of night tickets. We are thankful he has a job. We are thankful for the health benefits. But, we are living paycheck to paycheck like many others. However, we have learned to be content.
Many times we watch movies at home. But, we have found cheaper rates at the movie theatres for matinees. So, we go on ‘afternoon dates’. We also have learned to go for walks. It sounds absurd to walk anywhere. But it’s a new trend these days. Walking serves so many good purposes.
Exercise relieves stress. If the weather is good, you can get vitamin D as you walk outside. This is a great medicine to fight depression. You can walk off anger, depression, stress and also you might enjoy the view. Have you ever heard the old saying ‘Stop and smell the roses’? Ask the Lord to show you the beauty that is around you. I once lived in a junky RV park. The RV park where we stayed was all we could afford, but it had nothing but sand and rusty RV’s, along with a few raccoons. I went for a walk and found wild flowers growing alongside the highway. I found a small park that was hidden from the road. I also used up some stress and when I ventured back to the RV I found my whole mood had changed. My predicament did not change but my attitude did.
Part of the way we win the battle is in our response to whatever situation we are in. I did not learn this overnight. It’s been years. Some might wonder, ‘Why didn’t God fix this right away?’ ‘Were they in sin?’ That is what Job’s friends thought. Are there any Job friends out there? Please don’t call me, I’ll pray for you.
The time spent going through a trial is never wasted. We always seem to only want to see the end of the tunnel. But, we have learned to enjoy the journey on the way out of the tunnel. We might never get out of the tunnel as we see it. Yet, God sees things through different eyes. Perhaps getting to the end is not his plan as much as making us into a person who responds to the trial of life in a Godlike way.

I have learned not to gauge my reaction to trials by my spouse’s reactions too. The Lord deals with us and teaches us one on one. I know I can’t fix everything. But, I can respond right when I am listening to the Holy Spirit.
You will always lose the battle if you allow yourself to get caught up in emotion. It is a battle of the will for us to be content in all situations. Our soul comprises of the mind, will and emotion. That is why the bible constantly reminds us to ‘fix your mind on Christ’.
It’s more than a self help lesson. In fact, we can not help ourselves. It’s when we try, that we get in to trouble. Fixing our mind on Christ brings things into focus. We can find our rest, our strength and our guide there.
Our children may never enjoy the things we had as children. But, we can still be an example to them. We can rise to the challenges we face.
This writer believes that this is your moment to shine. As a gold digger pans for gold in the mud, we Christians should be shining as gold nuggets in an economic and morally bankrupt world.

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