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Rashional Thoughts: Working through painful, difficult parts of life requires facing them

What is the hardest part of your day right now? How about the hardest part of this year?

What would you say is your greatest fear? How long have you had that fear?

What is running smoothly?

What’s something you are anticipating that gets you excited? What’s a long-term goal that keeps you motivated?

Who has hurt you most recently? How do you feel about that person right now?

How often are you sad? Or lonely? Or discouraged?

Do you find yourself angry more often than not? Are you able to target what draws the anger out of you?

Where do you sense a loss of control? How much time do you spend thinking about it?

Pinpointing helpful tips

Maybe you are in a really good place right now. What are the factors contributing to how well things are going and how you are handling life?

Can you tell a difference in your energy level and your outlook on life as compared to what it might be if you were discouraged or overwhelmed?

Maybe life itself isn’t going great right now but you are still able to juggle all the craziness and not let it get you down.

What makes that possible for you? How are you able to start fresh every morning and push through the rough spots without letting them defeat you?

And no matter where you fall on the spectrum, how does gratitude fit in your daily thoughts and prayer life?

Are you able to pinpoint those precious moments, people and gifts God gives you each day?

Or are you missing them because of all the other stuff crowding your heart and mind?

Are you spending quality time with God each day — reading the Bible, praying, meditating and quietly listening?

What aspect of your life needs some attention? During your time with God, what is He surfacing for you to address?

Are you able to calm your spirit enough to hear from Him and sense the conviction, the nudge from within.

Do you have someone to talk to who is trained to help you process your emotions in a healthy manner?

Sometimes we need someone who will listen, ask questions and help us work through issues who isn’t emotionally involved in the situation.

Healthy processing

It’s also important not to attach ourselves too tightly to an echo chamber, where we are all saying the same thing back and forth to each other, which basically gets everyone riled up.

Venting to a family member or friend is certainly part of everyday life, but if we can’t move past the frustration after a reasonable period of venting, then we must realize the issue needs an unbiased third party to help us deal with whatever it is.

If you aren’t sure where to find help, then reach out to a minister at your church or your medical doctor for suggestions.

Your associational missions office also can help. And for ministry leaders, the office of church health and office of LeaderCare at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions are available to walk alongside you.

Pathways Professional Counseling, a sister ministry of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, also offers counseling sites across the state.

However, waiting until you are in crisis to seek out a counselor could mean you have to wait to get an appointment because of the sheer volume of people needing help — and that could make the issue more difficult.

Lisa Keane, clinical director for Pathways, shares some tips on what to do while waiting (read here). Three of the areas she addressed caught my attention for all of us, all the time.

  1. Sleep — Are you getting enough sleep? Are you sleeping too much?
  2. Food — How are you fueling your body? Are you using sugar and caffeine to keep you plowing through each day instead of making sure you have a proper amount of lean protein and nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
  3. Movement — Are you finding a way to move around at some level each day? The amount and to what degree depends on each person, but finding opportunities to move around daily always helps.

And, of course, we know giving our burdens to the Lord to carry is the greatest help. I wonder why it’s so hard for us to actually do this sometimes.

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