Everybody messes up. Sometimes it makes little difference to hear encouraging words when we’ve messed up so badly, and anticipate more bad consequences. We keep things to ourselves out of embarrassment or simply because we don’t want others to know. We believe we deserve to feel alone and hopeless. We even wonder why we exist.
It’s not that we are always negative or depressed. No, sometimes we make mistakes we believe are so horrible there’s just no real way out. So, we struggle doing anything at all because we can’t get the negative thoughts out of our minds. We keep dwelling on how we should have done better. We imagine the worst things can happen. We expect those bad things will play out like we thought – or that even worse things are inevitable.
Natural sleep? Forget about it. Idle time is the worst for us when we’re in the middle of a funk like this. The only way to actually sleep is to use some kind of sleep aide. Even then, we struggle because we can’t quit thinking about how dreadful the days ahead are. We beat ourselves up. We deprive ourselves of sleep. Nothing sounds appealing because the negativity in our minds dominates anything possibly positive.
In times like these we can drag anyone down. We don’t want to be around others, and we don’t want to try to do anything productive. Our distracted minds cause us to make even more mistakes.
Some reading this judge me and others who go through this, and determine we’re hopelessly depressed. Yet, many read this and can relate.
The fact someone like me can write thoughts like these necessarily means you are not alone. How can I know how you feel, unless I’ve been through similar things? How can I know how you think, unless I’ve thought like that?
It is my strong opinion that all things in life are spiritual battles. God wants us for good, and the devil wants us for bad. Some of you don’t believe in God, so you prefer to simply see good and bad, like in the Yin and Yang symbol. Bear with me as I give you some things to think about from my 35+ years of pastoral counseling experience. I believe there really is a God who battles for good, and a devil who battles for evil, and I believe it is a reasonable starting proposition for those struggling with a lot of negative thoughts.
First, if there is a God and a devil, it would behoove the evil one to convince everyone neither exist. You see, if the devil can convince people he doesn’t exist, it’s easier for him to manipulate them. After all, they have no concerns he’s real, so why even think about it?
If God is real and is all about good, then said God would not ever want any of us to get to a point when we don’t want to do anything good or think anything good. A good God who wants us to have peace would oppose things which would keep us from peace.
Considering all that, it makes sense that the devil would want us to stay in a state of mind that life is pointless, “so why try?” He would have us in his realm if we shut out any positivity whatsoever and live without hope or purpose.
If God is real, then that would indicate we must be here for a greater purpose. If we live with purpose and hope, then it would be harder to get into a funk, and would help us to crawl out of funks if we get in them. This would be something the devil doesn’t want.
If God is real, then there is hope beyond all our negative scenarios we’ve imagined. If God is real, things will get better. We will get beyond our mistakes.
The devil would have us where he wants us if we think life is hopeless and pointless. He would have us right where he needs us to be if we are skeptical of ever getting beyond our mistakes. If he can have us thinking all is bad, then we can justify doing anything bad.
But if God wants good, we might imagine these difficult days will be behind us in the future. If the devil is real and we think like he wants, we’ll be in a “I think I can’t” mindset. If God is real and we think as He wants, we’ll be in an “I think I can” mindset, or we’ll at least know we can get to that mindset.
May I encourage you to follow the facts and use critical thinking as you aim to get beyond your troubled mind. Read books like C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity,” Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ,” or Marcos Eberlin’s “Foresight.” Know that the facts absolutely and overwhelmingly support the God of the Bible. Knowing such things can help you to know there is actually a purpose for you in this world – despite your mistakes.
If you don’t have a loving church home, I implore you to take the risk of trying some out. Not all are good fits, so if you visit a couple which don’t quite meet your needs, keep trying. Having a loving church home with genuine people who support each other and build each other up is vital to anyone who desires to navigate well through this life on earth. True, Biblical Fellowship and encouragement is necessary for every believer (Hebrews 10:25-27). These kinds of Christians won’t let their own go through hard times alone. If you don’t know how to get started, start calling Christian friends or even local church numbers, directly. Keep trying until you speak directly with people.
And remember, Jesus endured a lot for you and me. He understands overwhelming and extreme anguish (He even sweat drops of blood!). He has overcome all that the devil could throw at Him. So, He is the best candidate to help anyone who feels like they’re losing their spiritual, emotional, and physical battles.
“Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – Jesus (John 16:32b-33, ESV)
If you are having suicidal thoughts and none of my words are helpful to you. Call 988 right away. There are people who care and are available to help 24/7.
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