What to Do When You Are Struggling: Beginner Lessons

“I’m really struggling right now. It’s never going to change. We’ll always be poor. I’ll never get a full night’s sleep. I don’t see any way it’s going to work out.” Are these statements really true? Probably not. But to be honest, these are thoughts that I’ve thought at one time or another. It took me many years to learn how to handle these thoughts, and I’m still in the classroom. But let me share some beginner lessons in what to do when you are struggling.

We don’t have control over the thoughts that pop into our heads, but we do have a choice about what we’ll do with them.

We can make a conscious choice as to whether a particular thought gets focus and attention, or whether we’ll direct our attention elsewhere. This one fact would have changed my life as a young mother, believe me.

For instance, if the thought “I’m really struggling right now” comes up, you can choose to dwell on it and think about all the reasons you have to struggle and work yourself into a pity party. Or you can choose to immediately drop that thought and think something along the lines of “I can handle this!” I highly recommend inserting Scripture at that point.

You may say “But I CAN’T handle this!” It may feel fake and wrong to say “I can handle this” when you don’t know if that’s true.

But hey, we say things we’re not really sure are true, all the time. “It’s never going to change.” “We’ll always be poor.” “I don’t see any way it’s going to work out.” We don’t know for sure that any of those things are actually true but we say them freely.

Many of us have thoughts that are spring-loaded to negative. We don’t dwell on that great vacation we had last year, but we automatically rehearse our hurt feelings about something our husband said last week.

Since we can’t tell the future, why not err on the side of hope? Lean towards thinking it’s all going to work out. Believe what God says is true, and act like it by thinking and speaking truth. “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

It may take a while for your emotions to catch up but you can still choose which path your thoughts will take. Emotions will eventually follow, maybe quickly and maybe slower, so stay with it.

Oddly enough, people boldly proclaim unbelief and negative predictions. It’s common and acceptable to say things like “I got up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s going to be a terrible day!” Or how about “If I even LOOK at ice cream, I gain weight!” Friends nod in agreement and strengthen the power of those words!

Yet we often feel timid about speaking in faith. If we say something like “It’s going to be a great day!” others roll their eyes. If we talk about a goal we’re working towards, we are cautioned that it might not happen so we shouldn’t get our hopes up. Sometimes it even feels embarrassing to speak in faith and hope! Crazy, isn’t it? It’s like peer pressure to dumb down our hope. Do you think that God is pleased with our downer words? Last time I checked, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Words are powerful. Wear good words. My favorite necklaces and bracelets are inscribed with words like “Believe” and “Faith” and “Courage, Dear Heart.” Visionary words are posted on my bathroom mirror. Hopeful words are posted next to my desk. Every time I open my Bible I read powerful, life-giving words. Surrounding yourself with the right words can have an impact on your thoughts and belief.

Pay attention to your default thoughts and see if they are positive or negative. You may feel like you’re in the beginner’s class on dealing with feelings of struggle, but it will get easier with practice. You start with awareness, and hopefully you’ve just gotten some. Then it’s a matter of paying attention and taking thoughts captive. Nobody does this perfectly, so don’t despair. Just pull up your socks and keep going. Before you know it, you’ll graduate to the advanced lessons.

How do you surround yourself with good words? Favorite jewelry? Listen to podcasts? Worship music? Please share to inspire others!

Tips From a Mom of 12

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10 thoughts on “What to Do When You Are Struggling: Beginner Lessons”

  1. Charlotte Siems

    I just started keeping a gratitude journal on my phone, using the Gratitude365 app. It starts and ends my day with a focus on what I’m thankful for. Good idea to read through that if current feelings are running toward discouragement!

  2. Charlotte Siems

    Oh, Debbie, I know what you mean about the morning going downhill! We can tell what we’ve been thinking by how we feel. And rather than avoiding the mirror, choose to be grateful for what you LIKE about yourself. It’s so easy to get into a habit of thinking about ourselves in a certain way. Give yourself grace and love, girlfriend!

    1. Pat, when I am feeling overwhelmed, I like to sing this song, don’t know the title, but it starts out, ” Lord, I look to you, give me vision, “. I also like to get quiet and close my eyes and invite His presence, Lord I want to meet with you, and peace begins to come immediately. I love Isaiah 26:3 “GOD will keep him in perfect peace whose mind
      is stayed on thee.”

      1. Charlotte Siems

        I believe that song is from the Bethel Live album and is called “God I Look to You” featuring Jenn Johnson. One of my favorites!

        1. I’m pushing through feelings of overwhelm while my hormones are being balanced via bio-identicals. Realizing that the emotional ups and downs are not “me” just the result of my body being out of sync. This, too, shall pass!

          Yep! watching Jenn sing it here on YouTube!
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1nJrioKNvI

          Thanks for all you offer, 100% of who God made you to be, to women everywhere, Charlotte!

  3. Charlotte Siems

    Lovely thoughts, Annie! It’s so true that we do better by thinking of what we want and the good things, rather than dwelling on the negative.

  4. I post Quotes on my wall.
    Get stationary that inspires.
    Read my worn-out Bible <3 from the miles of traveling in soul in my life!
    Grab a pen that clicks with some different messages.
    Get some good smells going, like essential oils
    Pray and praise and offering a "sacrafice" of praise, thanks, in hard times~it's not easy but definitely worth it!
    Trust & obey is a real thing and precious in God's sight and a miracle in my heart and Blessing in my life!
    Call someone else! Think of others who may need a call, a word~God will give it to you & your friend! 😉
    Call someone you trust and can pray faithfully for you ~not to confess or gossip, but for growth, healing & comfort or wisdom, OH you get the picture! 😉

  5. Words I have around my house. HOPE, in silver pewter and it stand on a shelf. Hope in HIM, what HE can do. Strength, is another one….HIS strenth to get us thru. Thanks for the tips about struggling! Why not hope things will work positive,,, it’s better than thinking of all the bad things that may or may not happen. Then too, we are told ‘All things work together for good.’ So we must train ourselves toremember this! Thanks again, your word were an encouragement!

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