We live in a crazy world. Inflation is soaring, gas prices, groceries, and property taxes are all increasing. Violence is more prevalent. Things we never had to deal with as children are being thrust upon our own kids. The world is looking darker and darker everyday.
How can we persevere through these challenging times in our nation’s history?
*Decide who and/or what is steering you. Where is your focus? The second we take our eyes off our Savior, we’re prone to succumb to fear, anxiety, worry, and depression over the current situation. If our focus is on the worldly events, suddenly things seem impossible to overcome. Instead, let’s fix our eyes on the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let Jesus steer your life. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5).
*Soldier On. There is a certain challenging part of our family’s bike ride course that I especially love. Our family has nicknamed it “Hairpin Curve.” It’s a sharp curve, then a downhill sprint, followed by a steep uphill climb. My goal is to make it to the top of this steep hill while still in the saddle. Nine times out of ten, I achieve that goal. Heart pounding, quads burning, I keep my focus on what lies in front of me at the top of that hill (a quick break before I decide to tackle the whole thing again!) If I give up, my wheels will spin on the loose gravel, rendering me helpless to push through to the top without climbing off my bike.
Even when times seem bleak, we must soldier on. We can’t give up. Remember that God goes before us and stays with us the entire time. For those of us in Christ, it ends well, even if the “getting there” can be arduous at times.
*Reach out. This is a difficult time for many. Some people are struggling with keeping their jobs and paying the bills. Still others are facing serious health issues such as cancer. Reach out and check on family, friends, the people you know from church, work, and social media. Let them know you care.
*Improvise. When he was little, my brother devised a way to do his chore of hauling fireplace logs to the house. Rather than carry the logs in his arms to the house, he instead built a “rack” for the back of his on his three-wheeled, low to the ground, pedal-powered Big Wheel motorcycle toy. He even figured out a way to do “spin outs” on our driveway (with impressive skid marks) without losing his load. My brother may not have especially enjoyed the chore of hauling logs, but with his improvisation, suddenly it no longer felt like a chore.
Sometimes improvising means making a new budget and sticking to it. Sometimes it means carpooling with others or making less trips to town to save on gas. Other times it means turning off the TV or stepping away from social media for a time to recharge.
*Have gratitude. We can certainly find a million and five things to complain about in times like these. Instead, let’s focus on being grateful. How about making a Gratitude Journal? Everyday, add a few more things you are thankful for. Here are some ideas for starters:
Can you breathe? Do you have someone who cares about you? Do you have a loving spouse? Great kids? Do you have food? Clean water to drink? Are you healthy? Can your eyes behold the beauty of the blooming trees or the falling snow? Do you have a voice that can encourage others? Make a list of all the things, from “small” to big for which you are grateful. It won’t take long to see that the thankfulness outweighs the complaints.
*Intercede for others. We have been given a wonderful opportunity to be able to intercede for others through prayer. Of course, praying for our loved ones and friends is important. But how about even praying for random people? (Any neighborhood prayer walkers among us?)
*Keep your mind and body active. It’s easy to sit around all day and lament the happenings of the world around us. Instead, let’s keep our mind and body active. Put together a puzzle, play board games, do crossword puzzles, and even coloring has made a comeback in recent years.
In addition, focus on getting at least a half hour of physical exercise every day (please check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program). How about a walk around the block? Load up your kiddo in the baby jogger and head to the park for a walk before stopping at the playground. Or join a class at your local gym or senior center.
*Set goals and plans for each day. Keep a list of your goals for each day and cross them off as you tackle them.
*Find the funny. Reminisce with your family or friends (this can be done in person if you live with or near your family, via Skype, phone calls, instant messaging, or texts) of all the funny times you remember. Watch a humorous movie or short video.
*Spend time with Him. Most importantly, spend time with the Lord. Get to know Him. Read His Word. Rekindle your relationship with Him. Rediscover the One who gave His very life for you.
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