“I don’t know how you do it. How do you cope with the hard times?”
Some days if you could peak into my life, you wouldn’t want to see how I do it…
Some moments you’d find me crying before the Lord in my secret place because the weight of it all seems just too much. And in my own strength, it is.
But truly, I think that’s the beginning of how we should deal with both the hardships and joys of life: honestly before the Lord.
1) Share honestly with the Lord – He can handle it (and He knows it anyway)
There are days when I literally get down on my face and cry before Him, telling Him that it’s too much all at once, and I’m not sure I can handle one more day. At times I have prayed not for strength for the day, but literally for the next five minutes! And yet, He always gives me the strength for the next day, and the next.
But honestly, I’m grateful I don’t know what the next day holds because each day has enough worry of it’s own, and it’s given me a fresh revelation of Matthew 6:34 (NIV), “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
By staying in His Word, I remain encouraged by the example of those who have gone before me and faced much worse but come out victorious.
2) Look to Scripture for encouragement from others who have gone through difficult circumstances and seen God’s faithfulness.
While my own circumstances can be trying, I have to consider myself fortunate because I have the examples of those in the Bible to look to for inspiration and encouragement. As I read of their lives, I see time and again of how God was faithful to provide and sustain them. Yet they had no Bible to look to for such an example—they had to rely solely on their faith. And now they bolster my faith. I thank God that He not only supplies for my physical needs, but through His word He supplies the answers and the encouragement I need. And hopefully I can comfort and encourage others with the comfort He has given me.
In recent months, I’m ever so aware of how challenging and lonely it is to face trials alone. While we are never really alone, despite how it may feel at times, God is always with us. Yet the physical presence and help of others makes such a difference in our times of suffering to give us mental strength and fortitude to keep going, and hold on to our faith. I have surrounded myself with a trusted inner circle of praying friends who war in prayer on behalf of me and my family when times get really tough. I know that were I to call any one of them, day or night, they would drop what they were doing that very instant and pray.
3) Surround yourself with praying friends who will encourage you in your faith and speak truth into your circumstances.
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you” (Matthew 18:19).
As a neuropsychologist, I educate patients about how to manage life stresses to minimize the impact on their physical and emotional well-being. It’s amazing how when crisis hits, some of the most important things we can do for ourselves are the first things we skimp on. So during this time of stress and strain, as I ask my patients these questions, I also silently ask myself the same:
“How well am I caring for my temple?
Am I getting enough sleep?
Am I getting enough exercise?
Am I eating a balanced diet with enough protein?”
Basically, how am I doing in terms of self-care? Because if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
4) Ensure adequate self-care in the form of sleep, diet, and exercise. They are often the first things we sacrifice in times of crisis, but the most crucial for sustaining our bodies in the long term.
Ultimately, though, the only true explanation for “how I do it” and make it through the stresses of the most unbearable circumstances is by relying on God to carry me through. I truly can’t fathom how people survive who don’t rely on Him. When times are devastating, the ONLY thing that truly makes any difference at all, is the knowledge that God and I are a majority, and it’s not over until God says it’s over. And in fact, because I’m on God’s team, I already have the victory.
5) Remember that you and God are a majority and you’ve already won!
I don’t know what you are faced with today, but I know who holds your future and mine in His hands. I know that He declares His plans for you to be good, and that He promises to never leave you or forsake you, and to work ALL things together for your good. Scripture promises that we can have peace because even though we will all face difficult times in this world, He has already overcome the world!
“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 16:33)
What tips have you relied on when a crisis hits to help you cope in the hard times?
Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
“I often see the long-term and devastating effects of the hard to define, hard to leave behind, ravages of depression. It seeks to wear down and wear out our hope. When longing to help another caught in despair, I’m acutely aware of how inadequate I am to help them, realizing that Christian platitudes and casual verses only serve to make them feel more alone or misunderstood. In Hope Prevails, Dr. Michelle Bengtson provides some profound wisdom for us all. By sharing her own transparent journey of recovery, Michelle offers a break-through approach that focuses on the spiritual component of recovery as a means to overcome. This book finds the cross roads between treatment and faith. What you hold in your hand is a rare gift. It’s hard to find a person who will be so honest about his or her own struggle in order to help you with yours. It’s a double blessing when that person also possesses the expertise, experience and grace to meet your needs. I recommend this book, and this woman, to those caught in the trap of depression. There is hope and it does prevail.” ~ Jan Greenwood Pastor of Pink, Gateway Women ~ Gateway Church, Southlake Texas, Author of Women at War