Hope in a tough season.

Welcome back everyone, to a new season of blogs!!

I have had a beautiful break, I have spent days away with my family at the beach which has been excellent. Although I did get some pretty horrific sunburn, which is a common occurrence with my pale skin. It has been weeks full of learning and the Lord pruning bits off me which were not fruitful.

I wanted to start off this new season of blogs, looking at some of the lessons I have been learning from going through a tough season. How those lessons have led me to implement new practises which helps me to deal with this season. I know there are many of us who are struggling with these same issues and I hope by learning from each other, we will be able to grow stronger in our faith and in our trust that we will not be overcome by this season.

I want to begin by praying for us all:

Father, thank you for each person here. Thank you, Lord, for continuing to pour hope and determination into each one of us. Even when we feel so weighed down by our fears and anxieties, Your faithfulness to us remains. Lord, may we come to know and fully place Your promises in our hearts. For no word from You will ever fail, they are a strong foundation on which we can build our life. May we come to know Your peace within every situation we face, for we can trust that what is overwhelming us will not overwhelm You. Thank you, Lord, for continuing to teach us each day and enabling us all the opportunity to draw closer and closer to you. You are an incredibly loving and faithful Father. You show no one favouritism, but you care and love for us all. We thank You for the sacrifice Jesus made to make this relationship possible with You. We thank You for Jesus showing us, that even when life is overwhelming, we can still place our hope and trust in You. You will always make a way for each of us, it may not be the way we would have thought but Your way will always be better. We thank you and we love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Comparison:

This may sound repetitive, but it is a practise we need to stop implementing within our lives. While we cannot change if people compare us to other people, we need to be able to not put the pressure on our own lives. In a tough season, we will continuously be looking at how other people are thriving; this may be a motivation for some people but for others, someone else’s success further highlights their failures. This can lead to a lot of bitterness and resentment, maybe not realising the person we are comparing to has just battled through their toughest season to get to where they are.

For example, I have three siblings and we all thrive in different areas with some overlapping interests. I could compare myself to all my siblings and come up with loads of reasons why I am not a good enough person. Not only am I going through a tough season, but I am now burdening myself with ways in which I am not good enough. It does nothing to strengthen or build me up within a tough season. Truthfully, I have been learning when I compare my life to others it leads me away from God. I am not trusting in God to use my life. I am believing, to be thriving my life needs to look like someone else’s.

In a tough season, it is easier to compare than to work on yourself. Comparison is an ugly action because it leads to limiting yourself and it will lead you to limit others because you won’t want to see others succeeding when you are not. In Exodus 20v17, we are instructed not to covet anything of our neighbours because it will ultimately lead to sin. It is the truth, what makes a tough season worse is allowing your heart and mind to run with malicious or horrible thoughts because your life does not seem to add up to those around you.

It is hard to serve in a tough season but remember to serve people well. Humility is a hard choice when life seems to be falling down around you, you want people to feel your pain. There is such a beauty in serving and loving people, which can bring healing and hope like nothing else can.

Philippians 2v3-4 ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.’

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Communication:

This is such a powerful lesson I have been learning while going through this tough season. Learn to talk about what you are struggling with, stop the thought process that it will make you look weak or stupid. It is not true and anyone who would make you feel any of those, is not someone you should be opening up to. If you fear opening up to people because of events of the past, in which people have manipulated or lacked understanding in what you have opened up about. I have been there, I know the pain and how awful it feels. There are people who you can trust, it may be a friend or someone in your church. Make sure they have your best interests at heart, and they want to see you grow and overcome. It does not mean that all your problems will suddenly be gone but you will have someone who is willing to travel alongside you.

From my own experience, I do struggle with talking about my problems and even when I do, I often feel stupid for opening up because maybe they misunderstood what I was saying. I have found a few people who I truly trust with opening up about all my thoughts. It is not because I do not trust other people, but these are the people who have been very intentional in walking with me through the valley. The people who will pray for me, listen to the concerns of my heart, or simply just sit with me. It has been such a blessing the Lord has led these people into my life, and I pray they are here to stay for many more years to come.

Lastly, communication is two ways.  Often, I am the one who needs to sit, listen and be with others who are struggling. This does not belittle my problems, but it helps me to realise how much I need to humble myself. There are people who are struggling too and to exalt my problems over everyone’s else’s leads to a lot of hurt. It can be a hard truth to swallow, but one we must if we want to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Galatians 6v2 ‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

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Spend time with the Lord:

I will not pretend, when I am struggling, I find it harder to be honest with God. For a long time, I had this belief I needed to always be hopeful and have this optimistic outlook but it led me to not being truthful with the Lord. I would cover my hurt by my bible reading or prayer for others. Instead of getting to the heart of the matter of what was going on inside me. I have been learning, it is with the Lord, I can be the most honest. If you need biblical examples of people being honest with the Lord, you need only to go to the Psalms and there are hundreds of examples. Our relationship with the Lord is not meant to be this stale religious routine. Honestly, the Lord can handle this tough season with us and we will be able to handle it a lot better when we walk with the Lord.

I have linked this sermon before, but it popped back into my head and I would recommend the whole message, the time frame from what I am highlighting is approx. 21 minutes in. Robert Madu highlights when the storm was happening (Mark 4v35-41), it was the disciples who were fearful and they were probably going through every single horrific situation in their head. What was Jesus doing? He was sleeping, as the storm was not a problem for him. It was the disciples’ action to wake him up that led to their faith being questioned. Jesus was choosing to sleep within that situation, the disciples could have too. Jesus was in full control, but the disciples needed to have the authority and control, in a situation in which they could have encountered peace they just wanted an abrupt end. Many of us rush the process in order to feel safe, forgetting the need for the process to strengthen us and our faith.

Spending time with the Lord does not mean you always have to be doing something, sometimes you truly do need to rest. Allow the Lord to have control and be at peace. Stop trying to always have control because it leads to confusion and a mess. The other night I was attempting to read my bible because I like to be in the word. As I was quite tired it led to the words becoming frustrated in my mind. Instead, I put on the Narnia soundtrack (which has become one of my favourite ways to relax) and I allowed it to play and allowed my mind to rest. For me, it was still time with the Lord but in a different way.

Final thoughts on spending time with the Lord, sometimes we can believe our faith is only shown in the work we do. If we are struggling through a tough season, we need to be doing more because we are not being faithful enough. It’s not true, a tough season is never pleasant, but we need to let go of having control and working out things in our own head. Believe in the prayers you pray, do not be discouraged so easily. Rest and trust in the Lord. Everything is in the Lord’s control, no matter how much we want to doubt it. Everything is firmly in the Lord’s control.

By faith, many incredible acts have been accomplished for the glory of God, through his people. Truly, if you need some encouragement today. Read Hebrews 11 because it such an incredible testament of faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11v1)

 

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Briefly, to end this blog, some practises I have been implementing through this season.

  • Journaling: My thoughts and prayers. I am as honest as I can be. It is better for me to bring my thoughts into the light instead of allowing them to dwell within me. It helps me to process and understand where I am at. I used to do it every day but it was becoming a burden, so I do it as often as I need to.
  • When I know I have been spending too much time on social media, I delete the apps. Whether for a few days or a few weeks. It helps my mind to not be too focused on what others are doing and leading me to compare and contrast my life.
  • I make sure I surround myself with people and media which will lead me closer to God and help me to serve people better. I pray and talk with people who help to keep Jesus centre of all we do.
  • I spend time meditating on the word, at the moment I am reading the gospels through the month of August. The repetition found throughout the gospels helps me to focus in on the Word and the application of what Jesus is saying.
  • I try to take each day as it comes, the highs and the lows. I try not to focus too much on how the future will look but do as much as I can today. I am learning to be patient with the process and to be at peace. For me , peace can only be found by putting my trust in Jesus.
  • I keep learning each day. I pray each day to be able to love better, to serve better and to grow in my faith. Each day I learn more and more to trust the Lord with all my growth.
  • Lastly, I enjoy the blessings. Whether it be a conversation or sitting by the sea. Each day uncovers something beautiful. I am thankful for the big and the small blessings which the Lord gives.

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So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  ( 1 Corinthians 10v31).

I hope this has been an reassuring, if you are struggling through a tough season I am right there with you. We need not compare our contrast our struggles but simply find hope in the faithfulness of the Lord. I hope when we come through this season, we will see the incredible hand of God upon this whole process and how he got us to where we needed to be. Remember to show grace and forgiveness to those around you, everyone has their own struggles. As we have received so much from the Lord may we bless others.

Have a wonderful week. Keep the faith, keep growing and take each day as it comes. God bless, love Victoria. xx

Lamentations 3v22-24 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

 

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