Some days are just hard.
Taking the next step. Doing what you need to do. Staying on top of all of the wash, rinse, and repeat parts of life relentlessly tugging at you.
There are projects that seem too daunting to begin that just keep stalling out. There are glitches in relationships that weigh on you. There is grief over the pain that life throws your direction. Grief over the pain that friends are going through that you cannot help or solve. There are overwhelming thoughts or feelings of inadequacy that pound you in the wee hours of the morning or flood your thoughts immediately upon waking.
And if that weren’t enough, then there are hormones. Sorry gents, but the struggle is real. Let me be honest here for a moment. I am what they call “pre-menopausal” meaning basically that my hormones are confused. They are running around my body trying to figure out how to adjust to the next season that is coming, and they are not giving up easily. They are downright slow learners!
Yep, some days are just hard.
I recently had a series of these days. Days I describe as feeling 13 feet under with a 12-foot straw. Finding it challenging to grasp enough air before plunging back underneath the surface.
On these days where I feel 13 feet under for whatever the presenting reason, there are choices to be made. The battle is on and I get to choose between letting my feelings run the show or making choices to refocus my mind, thoughts, and body on what is actually true.
It isn’t easy. On days I don’t succeed at all. But it is possible. Choices to take a few extra minutes in the morning to journal, to remind my soul of what is true despite how I feel. To remember who I am and Whose I am. To rehearse biblical promises and perspectives and bring Jesus into focus in my mind.
Born in the UK into a Reformed English church family, our Sunday School consisted primarily of memorization of a catechism. No flannel graphs where I grew up! A catechism is simply “a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.” For my little church, the catechism of choice was the Heidelberg Catechism.
By the time I was 6 I had the first half of the catechism memorized. Core tenets of the nature and character of God, and the nature and character of being a child of God, made in His image and chosen by Him. This is the actual booklet I used, all tattered and torn!
I wish I could say I remember all of it, but I don’t. I do, however, know by heart the very first question and answer in the book. It goes like this, in all its old language glory:
Q: What is thine only comfort in life and death?
A: That I, with body and soul both in life and death am not my own, but belong unto my faithful savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood hath fully satisfied for all my sins and delivered me from all the power of the devil, and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly father, not a hair can fall from my head. Yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation. And therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life and makes me sincerely ready and willing henceforth to live unto Him.
This has been one of my mantras for years, and in the past couple of years it has become a daily recitation for me. A daily reminder of the truth that no matter what is going on, all things must be subservient to my salvation. Subservient is a word we don’t use much, but it is simple…everything has to serve my salvation. It is the ruling framework of my life. He who began a good work will complete it. All things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. No matter how overwhelmed I feel, or how dire any given circumstance might be, everything serves the story and journey of my salvation.
That is the resounding theme. The core of my existence. The reason I can trust that nothing is random or coincidental. The reason I can hope when hope seems lost, or push off the bottom of the lake one more time to get my straw above the water and gain air.
We all have to make choices about where to focus our hearts and minds. On the hard days these choices are even more critical.
What are your mantras? What do you rehearse to realign your thinking? What creeds, prayers or verses can you quickly bring to mind to calm your thoughts? Who do you have in your corner who is ready to remind you of what is true?
If you can’t easily answer these questions take some time to stop and think. It may be time to figure out some “go to” options to retrain your thinking. Feel free to borrow my Heidelberg Catechism! It’s a mouthful to be sure, but it is packed out with truth! Whatever you do, just know that the choices you make will ultimately make you.
Choose wisely. Especially on the days you are 13 feet under with a 12 foot straw.