There is a difference between losing friends and shedding friends. Losing status and shedding status. Losing material things and shedding material things. As we go through the course of life, we will experience events that may leave us feeling bare. A rough patch may leave us stripped of everything we ever knew. Sometimes we walk into these difficult seasons and other times the world comes crashing down. Either way, we never plan to hit a low. We spend hours imagining a lavish future but we never schedule in potential periods of weakness.
Unpreparedness is an attitude that exacerbates each stress. In these times of nudity and vulnerability, the wind is all the more harsh and cold. In a time of weakness, our hands cannot even hold a nourishing piece of bread. In these times of confusion, our eyes are blind to the magnificence awaiting our gaze.
When planning an event, organized people leave wiggle room in the time budget just in case something pops up. It’s a great habit but that’s not really applicable to the cascade of life events.
So, how can we prepare to suffer?
(I can hear you already “Do you realize that makes no sense?”)
I walked into my own demise. I was blind but I believed that I saw the entire future. Catch up on my previous blog posts and you’ll understand why I can relate to being in a drought.
There are moments where I still feel stripped. Alone. Lacking. Unsure of what’s to come next. Not sure whether to correlate this to the fact that I am pregnant. Or, to the fact that I am changing my life around and can no longer relate to old friends. In a couple months, my responsibility load will grow exponentially. Let’s save my anxieties about my career and money, you catch my drift.
Look what happens when the mindset is changed:
God blessed me with a child, I am not alone (God never leaves His people, by the way). God blessed me with a family who loves me, I am supported. God blessed me with just enough financial aid to finish my degree (after buying my only required text, I had $26 left), He will provide. God blessed me with a church, where I am spiritually fed.
“So, you’re telling me all I need to do is change my mindset?”
Yes, but what you really need is God. Did you see how He worked each alternative? Your mindset will change as a byproduct of a relationship with Him.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It sounds easy but by studying people, I’ve learned that changing the mindset is one of the most difficult tasks for a person to do.
First, people do not want to admit their vulnerabilities. Our culture of independence deceives us into believing we don’t need supernatural help, or any help for that matter. Human flaws; need I say more?
Or, maybe people feel silly talking to a God they physically cannot see. Divulging our feelings is not pointless, it is a way to reflect on the situation and ask our Creator to reveal His divine purpose.
“Cast your cares on the Lord
and He will sustain you…“
Second, people blame their personal stress on their debilitating circumstances. When in fact, difficult circumstances can become more troubling because of our own resistance. Did you know that when you face trauma, like a punch, your body tenses up and the tension of your muscles actually increases pain? When life is hitting hard, resisting only makes the hit harder. You must change that defensive reflex into one of acceptance, this posture of relaxation comes by way of faith. Trusting the Lord sends your being into peaceful acceptance. Get optimistic!
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The third point, related to the last, is imperative–you must convert from a victim of your situation to a warrior of your situation. No more “why me?” and way more “God, help me!” You know, a drought may steal our material possessions. But, without our permission, it cannot strip us of our spirituality. In this time, you can become even closer to God because physical distractions are now gone. Think of this time as an opportunity to give Him your full attention. Soldier, you are fighting a spiritual battle and God has written the book of cheat codes.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
“But what about those people, possessions, and opportunities that we lost during a season of struggle? Were those not valuable relationships? I spent so much time, energy and resources on those things and now, they’re just gone…”
We’re talking about Godly perspective here, right?
Refine | re·fine | verb
1: to free (something, such as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
2: to free from moral imperfection : ELEVATE
Speaking of drought and dryness, did you also know that fire purifies?
“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”
“I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’…”
In order to grow, we must be removed of our comforts when they are holding us back. Our spiritual garden needs to be weeded, and physical crops may go out as collateral but there is always a purpose. It is time to learn acceptance and to call upon the Lord to equip you for victory. That drought may have left your land dry and dusty but He is ready to show you His power. He is ready to elevate you!
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.“
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Let go of your ego and attachment to worldly things. Without faith, tending to a dry plot of land would never give you a beautiful harvest. That beautiful harvest that came from your faith will change your perspective. Focusing on the bitter loss, you might never enjoy the taste of fruit of to come.
Thank you Lord for giving us hope!