‘Oh, the deep deep love of Jesus, vast unmeasured, boundless free…’
You may know this old hymn, the lyrics are beautiful. When I was first ‘saved’, I was absolutely flooded with the Love, Peace, Comfort and joy of God’s Spirit. It cost God so much, yet takes so little for us to repent, to ask forgiveness, and to call out to Him in Faith. This Love was the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced, yet I also experienced a spiritual battle with darkness. We will have trouble in this fallen world, where there is evil, and a lot of things seem to not make sense, yet God Is real and His Love is real….and He will work everything out despite the mess and chaos of a fallen and broken world.
I have been drawing near to God recently, and I have asked Him that I don’t want to just ‘go through the motions’ of singing songs, or professing faith without that deep closeness with Him. Despite my worries, fears, sin and imperfection, He has been answering, and renewing me from within. God allowed a season of feeling ‘distant’ from Him and being faced with questions, and I have called out to Him and found Him Real and Faithful.
Despite the trouble we face on this earth, and from our very own natures, there is nothing that compares with that Real, Tangible, sweet comfort and presence of God’s Spirit within us, holding us. There Is no purer love than this. It is not something that can be imagined, thought up or dreamt of – you need to come into that relationship of Love yourself, being made a new creation, and experiencing the reality of His Sweet Presence for yourself. There is nothing that can compare. I hope and pray that He will draw you to repentance so that you can ask Him into your life, to be forgiven and experience this everlasting, deep, pure love for yourself. x
Anxiety is not uncommon, especially, at the time of writing, in a global pandemic.
Sometimes our anxious thoughts and imaginings can render us immobile and ‘incapable’ of doing something useful or productive. We might even slump into a depressive state where we want to hide and retreat.
If you are struggling with your anxious thoughts and feelings, as well as the practical steps that I have highlighted in other blog posts (simply do a ‘search’ for ‘anxiety’ on my blog and you’ll find lots of helpful articles), you might feel the need to have an outlet for your thoughts.
Talk to Someone who cares about you:
A helpful thing to do to rationalise and untangle some of our difficult thoughts could be to talk to someone who knows you and cares about you and who will listen. If you feel like you don’t have such a person in your life, maybe you can phone a mental health helpline to talk through things with someone or even contact a doctor if you need to. Talking to a trusted friend or family member, even if it isn’t face to face, can help to alleviate your feelings of stress and anxiety and they may be able to help you make sense of some of your thoughts, or even offer a better or more helpful perspective on things. Talking things through can help get you out of your own head space, especially if you are not able at the current time to make sense of things or find a better perspective.
Write it down:
Writing can help externalise thoughts that you are keeping bottled up inside of yourself. As well as writing to make sense of things for your own well being, you could also try to think of ways in which you would help a friend who was struggling with the things you are just now. Imagine or think of what you would say to someone who needed help or encouragement with the problem you are facing, and try to apply that kind and encouraging advice to yourself. Perhaps you could even try blogging about your experience to share and find connection with others.
On a similar note, we can feel much less alone when we are able to read or hear about other people who are going through or have overcome things that we might be finding challenging. In a pandemic you are not alone in feeling anxious and uncertain, and you might be able to connect with others of a like mind and help each other through. As a note of caution, try not to focus too much on things that are problematic, but try to find solutions as you read and learn more about things you and others are experiencing in life.
Break things down:
When our thoughts get the better of us, it may be because we have too little distance from them. Try breaking things down. If you have a thought that distresses you, why not write it down, and analyse it to find a more helpful perspective, or ask a friend or family member to help you with this.
For example, if you have a thought ‘I just don’t know what’s going to happen or how I’ll handle the future’, take a step back from it, take a look at it and how it is making you feel, and find a better way of looking at it that will help you move forwards.
Know that many, many people right now have such thoughts and fears. Maybe we don’t know how we’ll handle a big, unknown future, but can we handle the next five minutes, the next day? If that seems more manageable start there and build on from that, write down some practical steps you may need to take in looking at future plans or decisions, and ask someone for help and advice so that you don’t need to go it alone.
Take a break:
It can be hard focusing on the negative cycle of thoughts all the time, so make sure you don’t do that. Easier said than done, right? Find something that will intercept your thoughts in a more productive way, for example, plan some small activities that will absorb your mental energy and focus. This could be something like cooking a meal, or making a simple sandwich or a cup of tea. It could be taking five or ten minutes to engage in a creative pursuit. It could be taking time to read a book, or a helpful blog, or to talk to a friend.
Following on from the above, planning little activities or ‘chunks of time’ can help add structure to your day and can help move you through the day in a less anxious way. Knowing what you have to do in the morning, afternoon and evening can help take you away from a whirlwind of thoughts and can help you find enjoyment and productivity along the way.
Look to the needs of others:
Sometimes looking away from our own thoughts to the needs of others can be a real help for ourselves too! Helping someone else, even in a small way, can take our thoughts outwards, so that we can focus on the needs of someone else. It will help us realise that we are able and capable and can do things that bring comfort to someone else as well as receiving help which is totally ok too.
Fresh air and outdoors:
As well as looking to the needs of others, we can look up into the beauty of the world around us. We face so much of the world that is negative through our computer screens and the constant stream of news that we receive. Looking at the natural world can really help to calm our minds and nervous systems, and even bring new thoughts to us.
As well as looking up and out at nature, we may find the benefit of reaching up in Faith. ❤
I hope some of these tips have been helpful for you. You’ve made it another day in this pandemic, and if you’re feeling anxious, know that you’re not alone. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and try to find something to enjoy today, even if in the smallest of moments.
Today, Open Doors, the Christian charity serving the persecuted church and highlighting some of the suffering going on in the world, shared this update about Christians in Sudan, and a call to fellow Spirit-filled believers to pray for those in need.
I hope you find this helpful, God bless you for praying. ❤
It is crazy that we are still in a pandemic. I know of many people who take it in their stride, and who are going out into life and doing enjoyable things, celebrating life, as it were. You might not be one of those people, and you may be feeling that life is kind of ‘small’ as you navigate your way through the day to day, perhaps feeling stressed, worried or anxious by the news headlines, and not knowing what to make of life or how to get through your days.
It can be easy to get caught up in the ‘comparison trap’ and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, even as we are made more aware of our own mortality, of the shortness of our time on earth, and of our concerns as to what will happen to us and to those we love.
If you’re following my blog, then you are perhaps someone who is trying to navigate through feelings of anxiety or uncertainty as many of the posts I write aim to help people with this.
One way in which we can live life better, even in the midst of it all, is to slow down and be thankful for the ‘small’ things in life, taking time to notice them, to be grateful for what we do have and what is going on in our lives, today, right now.
Yesterday I saw a beautiful rainbow, albeit faint and surrounded by grey clouds, soon to disappear from view. I saw it nonetheless and I enjoyed those moments. Today I am thankful that I can hug my mum, and enjoy her smile and laughter and the way she remembers me when I was little and still expresses these things to me. ❤ I’m grateful to be able to work from home, rather than having to go out into the colder weather of October, especially while the pandemic is far from over. I’m grateful for more time to pray and intercede for people, and to draw near to the Living God, and feel His Love and Peace and Comfort filling me from within. ❤
Sometimes we need the gentle reminder to humble ourselves, to repent, and turn away from looking at the lives we don’t have in order to better appreciate what we have been given. No doubt many of you will be going through difficult times just now, and perhaps anxiety is a big feature of that in uncertain days, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t find beauty and treasure in the small things of the day to day. You can celebrate the gifts and achievements of others, even those that you don’t have yourself. Time is short, and fleeting. You can put something of worth back into the world, something kind, true, noble, valuable, even if no one else sees it.
You can slow down and appreciate the beauty of today. This day. This miracle unfolding in which you are a part of.
It helps. It helps to change and soften our anxious hearts. Let the Light in. Let Love be greater than fear for you, in this moment, today. ❤
I trace the contours of the moon with my eyes. I once thought she was my ‘guiding light’, but I was so lost then. I cried out to You, but the skies were sealed to my desperate pleas. Muffled in silence I quietly wept. The despair was potent in the mere thought that there could be life without You.
People came and went, not caring. They didn’t need the moon, nor You or anything beyond that real and solid thing in front of them there, in that moment. I would rather die. Or be as if I had never been. I was suffocating, desperately longing, but You were not there, or so it seemed.
At a cross roads yet again, led by the aching of my soul, to find and to Be Found. My heart was shattered glass within me, I bled inside, and there…
We can only move through our days one step at a time.
I think back over the past couple of years since the pandemic started, and realise that I got through all of the days that I had been worried about. And if you are reading this in the here and now, then so did you.
Previously, I had been going through some health challenges, which I have written about on this blog, and thankfully I got help for those before the pandemic so that by the grace of God I didn’t have to go through those at the same time.
When lockdown started in the UK in March 2020, I was on my own, living alone in my flat. I managed to be extremely productive despite all of the stay at home orders, and I worked from home (from my own computer initially), helped out with some volunteering from home in telephoning people who were shielding to see if they needed help, wrote a lot of blogs, exercised, cooked, cleaned out my spare room, tried to encourage other people and got creative. I did a few pieces of work that were related to helping the workplace adjust to covid regulations by doing some bits and pieces of ‘research’ into best practice in other parts of the UK and Europe so that these could feed into health and safety measures in the workplace for those who still had to be there.
Somehow, I managed to really dig deep and do well through those days, weeks and months, even in complete isolation, but it was hard not to have any human contact, face to face conversations, or hugs. Yet technology was a great gift, and more than that my ‘Good Shepherd’ Jesus Christ walked me through.
Now however, for many of us, the picture has changed. For some people, the pandemic and changes have not bothered them as they have their own settled family units and have just been carrying on with life. Many people seem to be moving through the phases of their life largely unaffected by things.
But for others, there has been a lot of uncertainty, and worry too. Maybe you are one of these people. Maybe things don’t seem so ‘settled’ or secure or certain for you as you move through your days. And maybe worries about the future are getting to you.
I started to feel the stress and worry when after months of lockdown and isolation, I then had to emerge into society to collect work equipment. I got through those days.
We move through our days one step at a time. Try not to worry too much so that you can’t do anything useful for today, do try where you can to pray and plan for the future, such as applying for and getting a job, or for taking steps to improve your health, or whatever the situation for you may be, but remember you can only do so one step at a time.
As you do so, you will realise that’s how you’ve got through all of your days, and that can help you remain productive.
We all have questions about the future but worrying about it won’t help get us safely there.
by Hazel Straub Each one has the gift of 24 hours each day, of their life. What do you spend your time thinking upon? Do you meditate on God and his goodness and his incredible love for you or do you think about yourself, flaws, and the difficulties you have? Does pride or humility rule, […]
When you’re going through a traumatic experience, you’ll know it. When it comes back later in life as complex PTSD for example, you’ll know it. When you have to determinedly work through daily battles with anxiety, depression, and trauma because it is so debilitating, you’ll know it.
But do we always know when we are healed? I’ve had to go through a number of years of sheer ‘hard work’, grit, determination and putting everything I have into getting through the day – survival.
I have several posts about these, in fact, I began writing my blog during a time when I was recovering from complex PTSD and severe clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder and needing to get proper help with it. Prior to that those were scary times for me – I had some severe adverse experiences particularly in the first two years of secondary school from verbal abuse, peer rejection, physically being attacked in school (I was quite little, and very terrified), racism and other stressors going on at the time. I was broken and hurting and my hair fell out in a patch, I hated myself and wanted to die.
As an adult I started reexperiencing these traumas as if they were happening right then and there, it was terrifying and my brain felt like it was ‘exploding’. I had different stressors built up in adulthood too and the childhood school ‘bullying’ (such a tame word) resurfaced and crippled my daily life. It was a hard, scary and painful and terrifying time for me but I pushed on.
Now, however, I realise that things don’t come to mind nearly as much and if they do, I can handle them. I’m less concerned with the past as I am with the present, and I’m not overwhelmed by the past negative identity that was pressed upon me. I’m not in constant mental or emotional turmoil or pain, and I don’t have the need to keep telling my story.
Perhaps the pandemic has me thinking of how we don’t know how much time we have left, but even so traumas don’t just ‘go away’ because something immediate is happening. Life may not be ‘perfect’ but I don’t think I’m in such an intense ‘survival’ mode anymore and I thank God.
He has brought me a long way, and healed some inner wounds that doctors or medicine alone cannot touch.
I have done a lot of persevering too, and I need to continue to be ‘transformed by the renewing of my mind’.
When I started this blog 4 and a half years ago, I was struggling and in a painful place. I don’t know how much time I have left on earth, who does, but I am not where I once was. I’m not in constant pain. I may be living in a confined existence in the pandemic with my personal circumstances, but I’m not living through intense pain anymore – praise God ❤
Childhood traumas are probably the most painful to overcome, when you relive them it seems so unfair after having done everything to just survive, but perhaps the fact that they have faded into the background after decades of being something to overcome is proof in my life that things can improve.
Perhaps it’s only in realising the things that ‘used to’ hurt us so much don’t have such great a hold on us anymore do we come to a gentle and perhaps gradual realisation, as we begin to live more in the here and now, that maybe, just maybe, we may be ‘healed’. ❤ x
The news is all around us, and it’s hard to avoid. I have an anxiety disorder and complex PTSD and clinical depression and I have been working hard over the past few years to get stronger and to really make progress in this recovery and wellbeing journey. However, like many of you, the news and the uncertainty of Covid-19, and the reactions of other people, can add to those inner feelings of anxiety and unease. Last night, after chatting with my family on the phone, I spent some time just laying down and listening to healing Scriptures, and I woke up in the morning feeling His Peace – the Peace of Christ – so that when I read the news it didn’t really shake me. I remember the times before I knew The LORD in experience, I couldn’t find any true and lasting relief for my anxiety and often crippling…
I’m revisiting some of my earliest posts on the pandemic / coronavirus. This was in March 2020 before the UK officially locked down, and I was still having to go to work. Now in October 2021 the UK has opened as of a few months ago, and the picture is not looking great in terms of the virus, and we may be heading for more restrictions in winter, which might not be a bad thing. Things have changed a lot though and many people don’t take it seriously. These initial posts were finding ways to encourage people if a lockdown / quarantine did happen….well, hope it helps someone now as you may still be staying at home. x
I’m not in isolation or lockdown or anything like that yet, and am thankfully fit and healthy and well, however, more and more it looks like the country and the world is moving in that direction whether you have symptoms of Covid-19 or not. The rationale is to contain and minimise the spread of the coronavirus.
It strikes me that people are responding very differently to the thought of having to stay indoors or limit their activity for an extended period of time than when they might be in a similar situation say during the Christmas holidays for example.
I’m still out and about going to work, although keeping my distance as much as possible, but the government is recommending that employers allow staff to work from home, so it is a wait and see time for us until we get definitive direction. In the meantime, we have to keep…