Having Grace With Yourself in Difficult Times

Guest blog post by Rose Barrett

John 16:33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

No matter how we dislike it, we will have difficult times in life.  

Death, divorce, job loss, and a worldwide pandemic are only some of the troubles that can knock on our door. These significant life changes can bring stress, worry, and sometimes crippling anxiety to our lives. Those emotions bring on self-doubt and hopelessness. These reactions are normal and sometimes reasonable to help us process tough events. However, we cannot live there, in that place of hopelessness. 

How can we respond in a way that honors God and sees us through? 

Lean into the Lord… 

Take comfort in God’s word. Lament. Cry out. Even asking God why this is happening is not sinning. Instead, let it lead to greater faith in Him. You are not alone. He is only a whisper away. If you’re a Christ follower, He is with you through all of it. 

Take your time… 

Whether stressful events happen over time or suddenly, it always requires us to let go of what was. Grief is a natural response. Acknowledging your grief and allowing yourself to work through it over time is the best way to accept it. Processing grief looks different for everyone, and no two people grieve in the same way.  

Be gentle with yourself… 

Emotional stress can be debilitating. It’s important to keep yourself well-nourished and to sleep well. Do not overlook these aspects, or you will burn out very quickly. Find people and spaces where you feel safe and comforted. Make sure you treat yourself well, even if you don’t feel like it. 

One step at a time… 

Starting over in new circumstances can be super difficult and overwhelming. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Go slowly when possible, taking one task at a time and remaining prayerful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be honest. Support groups are beneficial, I know. Remember to consider others’ grief as well. Sometimes it helps to sympathize with each other and to know you are not alone. 

Focus on the possible… 

If possible, attempt to look at the positives of your new situation. Things are rarely as bad as they seem at first. Reject fear of change or of the future and live in the present in order to move forward. 

Be open to learning… 

You may have to learn new skills as part of your new changes. For example, you may need to return to school to find a new job. If your partner previously paid the bills, you may need to learn how to budget. Try to look at these as adventures and not burdens. You will look back with gratefulness when it’s over and maybe even be proud that you could do it! After my divorce, I was a single mother who put myself through college and earned my Bachelor’s degree. It was hard, but I learned a lot about myself and God. 

Accept change… 

One day you will wake up to realize that it doesn’t hurt as much as it did. The situation is getting easier to handle. And though you may still find yourself engulfed in grief, it will no longer be as keen and powerful. You are accepting it. You may dislike or feel guilty that it doesn’t hurt as much. Don’t. God does not want us to live a life crippled with these feelings. Remember that Christ came and died so that you could be free. Lean into him. 

1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

Author John C Maxwell says, “change is inevitable… growth is optional.” Learning to accept, embrace and grow from the change will help you move with those seasons more gently and gracefully with yourself and others. 

You may find more from my guest blogger, Rose Barrett, by visiting her blog and following her on social media

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