All it takes is one bad thought and one wrong decision to get me completely off track.
The last few weeks have been difficult. My son fell and broke his ankle and had to have surgery. It’s been so incredibly hard for me to watch him endure pain and the types of struggles I encounter on a daily basis. Suddenly, he has had to modify everything about his day. Going from being totally independent to needing help has been hard on us both.
The heartache of watching his suffering and worry about surgery was more difficult than my own pain. My sleep was interrupted and my thoughts were a kaleidoscope of emotions. Due to his needs and modifications in our schedule, I skipped my workouts. The numerous appointments caused us to eat out more often and for me to become sick. And then everything about my day became more challenging.
While I tried to be completely positive about the situation, my mindset still struggled because every once in a while a negative thought popped into my head and I didn’t immediately dismiss it. To make matters worse, I had interviews and events scheduled. My body felt drained; emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I was using all of my resources and not refueling. All of my energy was used to help others. I tried to encourage and comfort my son. Then I had events, interviews, and emails to answer that took the rest of my energy. At the end of the day, I felt overwhelmed.
While I still prayed, I didn’t spend enough time with God. What I needed was time alone with Him. When I walk or run, we talk. When I start my day reading His word and praying, He restores my soul. When I seek Him with my whole heart, He strengthens and comforts me.
But when I spend more time focusing on my problems and the negativity of the world, every part of my life suffers. The enemy lures me away from my God with bad thoughts. The devil is such a liar, and plays on my weaknesses. All he has to do is get me to take my eyes off of God. Then depression and hopelessness creep in. And I don’t even realize it is happening until I am completely off track.
My God, however, is always watching out for me. He uses people and positive thoughts to encourage me, and help me establish a new plan or get back on track with my former one. I even went back and read several chapters from my book, Despite Your Circumstances.
We all need strength and encouragement from each other, and I want to share with you a few of the things that help me.
· Before I open social media every morning and allow it to affect me, I need to be armed with the word of my Lord. So when my alarm sounds, I am learning to get up. Right then. No snoozing or whining (this is hard). Raise my arms in the air, smile, and do my victory pose for the day. (I learned this from Natalie Morales of the Today Show.)
· Then I start my day, with a prayer of thanksgiving for my life and then pray for guidance. I have no idea what my day might hold, but I know I need my Lord to help me make the most of it.
· After I have talked to my Lord, I open His word and allow it to speak to me. His word is what encourages me, strengthens me, comforts me, and restores my soul. The word of God fills me with hope, love, grace, and peace. It makes me want to be a better person and serve others.
· Then without excuses, I plan my day and decide what needs to be done that day. I put it on my to-do list and try my best to complete it. During my day, I welcome things and people who lift me up and try to avoid people and things that bring me down. Social media is tricky and I am using it with caution.
· At night, I end my day with prayer and God’s word. Before I go to sleep I want to have my mind and heart centered on God. And offer gratitude for my day.
And I have to tell you, these things make a tremendous difference in my life. My focus has shifted from feeling totally overwhelmed to feeling encouraged and hopeful. Every day I want to be the best version of me.
Do you have some other tips that would be helpful? I’m always looking for new ways to better my life.