When you are on the journey going after big dreams, there are good days and not-so-good days. So how do you stay encouraged and manage yourself well on the not-so-good days? Here’s three things that work for me.
1. Be aware and acknowledge what you are feeling
If you don’t know that you are feeling low you will inadvertently comfort yourself with something you may regret later. Alternatively you will behave your feelings (like a two year old). That could look like outbursts of anger or withdrawing from people.
Examples of poorly meeting your own needs include comfort food (anything with sugar for me!), video games, movies etc. This includes anything that gives you comfort in an unhealthy way (they don’t actually meet the need; they just leave you temporarily satisfied or feeling even worse afterwards).
So what should you do? Answer the following questions. Journal your responses until what you write down resonates with your heart.
How are you really feeling?
“I feel…. [disappointed, sad, angry, frustrated, discouraged, mad…] because…”
What do you need to feel?
“I need to feel… [loved, comforted, supported…]”
What can you do to meet that need?
Who can you ask for help?
Who could you communicate your need to?
Even better: What is Father God offering you? What does He say about this situation? How could you receive what He has to offer?
2. Get with God
It’s strange that, in spite of God being the Source of all comfort, courage, strength, peace, hope, joy and love, we typically go to Him after exhausting our earthly sources of help.
Turn aside from your own efforts to help yourself and turn to Him. Here’s some ways I do this:
– Put on some music that carries His Presence and ministers to your soul (I use instrumental music like Klaus or setup a ‘My Station’ on itunes radio to your favorite artist – again I have ‘Klaus Radio’ for refreshing my soul – free)
– Get alone with God. Read the Psalms until what your read echoes what you are feeling.
– Pray in your God language (‘in the Spirit’) until you feel refreshed and strengthened (see Acts 2:4 and 1 Corinthians 14:4).
– Worship on your own or with friends or throw on a free ibethel.tv worship set.
– Turn your heart onto God and His perspective through Adoration prayer.
– Read over or listen to prophetic words, or your favorite psalms.
– Journal what you are feeling until you engage your heart then give that to God asking Him to pour back in to you.
– Get with a friend or leader who is strong in God. Be vulnerable about how you are really feeling. Get them to pray for you.
3. Do something active
The tendency is for you to want to do nothing… just wallow in self pity or sorrow. Don’t do that. The same is common for people under stress – they want to just vege out and enter denial or a fantasy world to avoid the anxiety for a while.
The quickest way out of the downward spiral is to do something active. Go for a walk or bike ride. Do 10 minutes of burpees. Get outside and suck fresh air. Climb a tree!
Even better do something physical with a friend. That way when you want to avoid it at last minute, they are already on their way! I go running with a good friend every Saturday morning. Knowing he is going to turn up at my door at 6:30 or 7am is enough motivation to help me get going.
What other keys would you recommend for keeping going when the going is tough?