Finding Hope When Life Drives You to the Edge
- Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I remember a season of my life in which I was feeling desperate. My teenager was not giving me the verbal respect I felt I deserved. My husband, in hearing what was going on between us, was not intervening on my behalf. One evening I'd had it with that routine. I wanted out of the frustration, out of the house, out of everything. But I didn't know where to go.
I just want to go somewhere far away, I thought to myself. I am not appreciated. I am not feeling respected by my daughter. I am not feeling supported by my husband. I am not feeling understood or loved in the slightest. (Now did you notice how many times I used the word feeling and how many times I used the pronoun I? We get that way when we're on the edge.)
Aware of how much my thoughts were focused on me, and yet still feeling I had grounds in the battle I was fighting, I desperately wanted change - not just a change of circumstances, but to change. I desperately wanted wisdom to know how to respond to my daughter - and my husband - in a more mature way.
I realize now why I was succumbing to the meltdown: 1) I was depending on my feelings, not the facts of the situation; 2) I was expecting everyone else around me to change, rather than looking at my own heart and actions; and 3) I was listening to those voices in my head rather than being the one to do the talking!
Today, I have a distress call - an S.O.S. - when I begin to feel like I'm going to go over the edge because of certain situations that feel out of control. It's all about Sorting the facts from the feelings; Offering my own heart to the Lord for change; and Starting to talk, rather than listen to, myself.
Sort the Facts from the Feelings
In my moment of frustration, I had to ask myself: What am I believing about God that isn't true? (I could best answer that question by looking at how I was feeling, and lining up the facts next to it:
I was feeling that God had abandoned me as a mother and left me to figure this out on my own. But the fact is that God has promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me; therefore He has not abandoned me as a mother (Hebrews 13:5).
I was feeling hopeless in my situation. But the fact is that God promises He will work all things (even that difficult season with my daughter) for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I was feeling alone in my situation, like He was unaware and unconcerned with my pain at the moment. But the fact is that God is aware of what I'm feeling at every moment. He has searched me and He knows me (Psalm 139:1-4).
I was feeling it was impossible for God to give me the kind of wisdom I needed to be a better mom, but the fact is God is able to give me the kind of wisdom I need because James 1:5 says "if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
In other words, I had to look at the facts (about God's character) and not at what I was feeling
"Offer My Heart to the Lord for Change"
My prayer as I was feeling so lousy was not change my daughter's heart as it started out. It was not open my husband's eyes as it started out. But God, grant me the discernment and the grace to treat and respond to my daughter and my husband in a way that draws a loving response out of them.
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