Outside of Yourself…

IMG_2182I have said it numerous times over, the more you focus on yourself the more depressing the world becomes.

Over the last while, my world has been primarily focused on myself; some out of the spotlight was pure necessity, and some of it because of depression, but most of it was out of fear. It is becomes easy to lose sight of other people’s pain when I feel out of control of my own situation. When I have no game plan and no perceived way out of my struggles, I tend to fall back into focusing on surviving.

I am really not a fan of that habit.

Sometimes I feel as though I am able to control myself and prevent my natural self-preservation tactics, but then the stress or scenario get worse and often pushes me over the edge once again.

Eventually I will find my way back to relying on Christ, His stability, and His promises… But, it seems to always take me a while.

However, recently I have found myself presented with a situation that surprisingly is exactly perfect for me to step in and help with. I have found myself exhausted, drained, and working hard, but at the same time I have felt renewed because I absolutely must put my attention elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I have taken my frustrating season of life into another person’s painful season as well, yet I am finding that together, we are making it through. As though our lifeboats are strong enough to hold both of us together, but not necessarily buoyant enough for each of us alone.

A long time ago, I listened to a pastor give a sermon that caused me to sob almost uncontrollably, and in his message he talked about being joyful in the midst of severe pain, when joy is nowhere to be found. One of the things the pastor pointed out was how important it is to purposefully name the things that you are thankful for. I tried for several weeks, and then months to name more than one thing that I could muster up the feelings of thankfulness.

Lately, I have found myself with the ability to be thankful for such seemingly small, but incredibly important things… Such as, the ability to cover my bills, that this stage of life allows me to step into helping someone else unlike any other time in my life would have allowed. The way that only God can use two painful and frustrating stages of life to help each of us support each other. The practical feelings of “we are in this together”…

But, today as I sit here writing this, I am finding myself mostly thankful for the desire to read scripture again. I have been trying to force myself to read my Bible for months upon months, but really lacked the desire or heart.

I realized the other day that despite knowing so many of the Truths and promises found throughout scripture, I was going to run out of steam, both emotionally and spiritually if I did not find or make time to dig in and reenergize myself.  Then, as I often forget, the more I spend time reading and thinking about scripture, the easier it is to focus on loving those around you. For the first time in such a long time, and despite the very serious and difficult situation I find myself in, I am filled with thankfulness AND hope that God is not only good, but that He will take care of me, my friend, and our situations to the betterment of both of us.

“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed.
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:9, 10

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