Have you ever been so completely overwhelmed by a situation it’s as if you’re drowning in a sea of regret. Have you ever been to the point where you’re asking yourself “what if?”, or dreaming about “if only I had done things like differently”. Or perhaps you’ve been so completely overwhelmed by a situation that you became numb; not caring one way or another how it turned out, as long as you didn’t have to feel anymore? I’ve been there. I’m sure you have too. Maybe you’re there right now.
Last week I had a close friend contact me in regards to their marriage. They made the following statements:
“I don’t feel special.”
“I don’t understand why I come back.”
“I am miserable again.”
“They cry when we fight….but I feel no remorse.”
“I feel so empty.”
Now, keep in mind I personally know this couple. I have a vested interest in their lives, and in their happiness. However, regardless of your situation, the thing/relationship/addiction/overwhelming obstacle that makes you feel regret or emptiness, I believe the advice is beneficial.
Here’s part of my response:
Let me tell you what I do in a difficult situation: I try my best, in every situation to…
1. Dwell upon the word of God. Even Jesus had to talk to His Father before any choice was made, or any action could be done.
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30
“Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19
“Jesus therefore said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.'” (John 8:28).
When facing a really hard time in my life (of which I have had many) I dwell in the Word. I try to read everything I can that would be relevant to my situation….not just what I to hear from God’s word, but what He wants to me to hear.
2. I pray. I diligently seek the wisdom of God. I pray before I read my Bible, while I read my Bible, after I read my Bible. I try to pray constantly. (I fail miserably at this….miserably.) I often get in the way. I think I truly desire what God wants for me, but in the midst of my pain I also want Him to give me what I want. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I have learned time and time again that God works in His own way, in His own time.
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
3. I trust. I try to wait patiently for God to reveal Himself to me and what He has planned for my life. This is excruciatingly painful for me. I don’t trust easily. And I am one of the most impatient people you will ever know. I want things in my time and the way I see fit. I think I know how it should be, and I will attempt to manipulate a situation so that it goes “my way”. Trust is incredibly hard for me. I’m sure it’s hard for you too. People fail us all the time. Constantly. But, God is faithful. He never fails. He is the one true constant in my life, and yours. It’s time to start trusting Him again.
“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” Psalm 33:4-6
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5&6
4. I seek good (godly) council. It’s okay to ask for help. You came to me with a BIG question (and I hope I’m helping). Too many people (especially men) have a tendency to go into self-preservation mode, hide, or try the “do-it-yourself” way. Very few people seek help. And by “help” I mean someone who can actually provide sound, effective advice. My dad always says, “don’t ask your broke buddy how to manage your money”, because obviously THAT person doesn’t know what they’re doing. So, if your having car trouble…seek a good mechanic. If you need weight loss advice, ask your personal trainer, or a friend that is physically fit. Do not ask the YO-YO dieter in the family. And, if you’re having marriage trouble…..seek out a trusted, married couple, and, or better yet, a marriage counselor. Professional help DOES work. It’s OKAY to seek the advice of people who are happily married, and people who are educated, certified counselors. As a matter of fact, when it gets really bad you should probably seek the professional help before it’s too late. (Side note: I am not a professional. However, I have taken many courses and have given advice to a slew of people for over the last 15 years. I have also been happily married for over a decade and still going strong. So, I’m not a professional, but I am an “expert” by way of experience. LOL)
“Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.” Proverbs 20:18
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
“The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong. They fill their hearts with God’s law, so they will never slip from his path.” Proverbs 37: 30-31
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,” Proverbs 1:5
In my opinion, (remember this comes from the depths of my love for you and your spouse) you should seek professional counseling. You should each attend individualized therapy, and you should attend marriage counseling together. You should also find a support system. Family, friends, a good church, and/or a 12 step program….a place where you can plug in, feel accepted, loved, cared for and supported, lifted up, encouraged. “No man is an island.” You will not be able to traverse this on your own. I think you’ve already discovered how difficult it is to “fix it” on your own.
You will be in my prayers this week.
You are not alone.