When do you struggle the most? You know, when you feel like you’re at the bottom of the pit, you can’t find a solution and have a feeling of hopelessness. What triggers those feelings for you?
I was speaking with Dave, a friend who once had a journey through unemployment and we were talking about difficult times. He told me his most difficult times came when he thought too much and at those times, he felt like he was sinking in quicksand. There was no solid ground.
I’m a lot like Dave, but my phrase would be “I think, I sink!”, which could be a new title for a Dr. Seuss book.
It often starts when something unexpected happens in life, a “curve ball.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes we expect life to be logical or linear, you know “if I just do this, this will certainly happen”, or “If I don’t do this, then this certainly won’t happen”. Curve balls in life remind me that it’s not how life works.
When faced with the unexpected, we want to do something to get life back to the way it was before. Since I’m a “fixer”, it’s easy to immediately jump into action and try to “figure it out” and solve whatever the problem is, all by myself. I use my limited human brain filled with knowledge and experiences, but it’s not enough. I try doing the math (problem solving) with what I know, and then the math doesn’t add up the way I want it. That leads me to think more, and more and more. Since some things can’t be “figured out” and immediately solved, I get more anxious and start sinking.
There it is, “I think, I sink!”
What can you do if you are sinking?
Here are three steps to help.
Step 1 – Stop trying to live in or look too far into the future. The future hasn’t happened. It’s uncertain and there’s nothing we can do about it. No matter how bad it looks, the future isn’t guaranteed. It hasn’t happened
Step 2 – Live in the present. Yes, live for today, it’s the only thing to do. The past can teach us, but you can’t live there. The future has yet to happen. The focus must be on today.
Step 3 – Stop trying to do it alone. Get help. Among those who help, don’t forget God. I find confession is good for me, confessing to God I’ve been trying to do it on my own and I need Him. I thank Him for all He’s done for me and then I ask for His help with whatever is causing my anxiety.
The answer may not come immediately, something He wants to do something in my life that takes time. But focusing on Him is the best way to find peace and get out of the pit.
But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; deliver me because of my foes. Psalm 69:13-18.