When You're DONE, but Life Is Not: 8 Ways to Fight Off Despair
Have you ever felt DONE? Perhaps, like me, you've even said it. The phrase comes in various flavors.
I am done.
I am SO done.
I am SO DONE WITH THIS!
The problem with such hyperbole is that our minds latch on to the underlying falsehoods without a second thought. You can't handle this. This problem is too much for you. You're not going to make it.
Not exactly encouraging. Or true.
Life throws lots of disappointment our way, dismantling our expectations and messing with our deepest hopes. Infertility's ups and downs. A cancer diagnosis. A child with autism. Job loss. Divorce. Strained relationships. And while we may feel "done" with these trials, clearly we are not. We are still standing. We are still breathing. We have been granted another day in "life school".
So how do we fight the despair which threatens to drown us?
1. Be your own BFF
Seriously, have you ever said to a struggling friend, "Wow, you are so done. There's really no way you can do this." Of course not. I'm sure she's never uttered such discouraging words to you, either (side note: If she has, it's time to seek a new BFF). Think WWBFFD, What Would Your BFF Do? My guess is she'd cheer you on. She'd remind you of the positive things in your life. She's lighten you up and make you laugh. Be kind to yourself, starting with your words. Now more than ever, you need lifting up so banish the voice of despair.
2. Remember "This too shall pass".
No trial lasts forever. Sure, it's an old cliche', but it's also true. The sun melts the snow and the temperatures rise, turning the earth to mud, a new trial that will also pass. Trials are not only a part of life. They are life. Stories without conflict aren't even worth telling.
3. Plan an escape
When pressed up against a wall, finding an escape is a viable coping option. Perhaps you only have time for momentary breaks right now. A short walk, a night at the theater, an afternoon at your favorite boutique. If you're able, plan a night or two away. People in your tribe will likely jump at the chance to help out and do something useful-- like babysitting, pet-sitting, or house-sitting -- to make your hiatus possible.
4. Reward yourself regularly
After I get the kids in bed tonight, I'm collapsing on the couch with my favorite chai latte.
After this chemo treatment, I'm binge watching The Office.
After giving myself this hormone shot, I'm taking my husband out for surf and turf.
Every Saturday morning I'm spending an hour doing goat yoga (apparently this is a thing)
Small rewards are necessary glimmers of light as you make your way through the tunnel.
5. Join a care group
Hanging out with people who are facing a similar storm is its own kind of escape , providing plenty of ears to listen and hearts to empathize. If a specific care group for your need doesn't exist in your area, start one!
6. Prefer the given
Simply accepting the place you're in now and not wishing you were someplace else brings peace. As a believer, you can bet that your situation, however heartbreaking, was sifted through God's hands and allowed for a greater purpose. Knowing that his plans are always for your good can stamp out the lie that you should be anywhere but here.
7. Take notes
Nothing teaches and transforms like suffering. Treat your trial as a source of invaluable material and a way to draw close to God's heart. While some days are just plain hard, others will bring eye-opening insight and wisdom. Be sure to capture these apples of gold in a journal to observe your growth over time and to use as a source of strength when you're doubting.
8. Meditate on truth
In 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, Paul (the guy who was in prison, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, snake bitten, hungry, cold, and destitute!) writes:
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Even as we face seemingly insurmountable difficulties, we are never truly "done". Through Christ's strength and grace in us, we were created to persevere--even thrive--in the midst of suffering.
Photo by Ana Tavares on Unsplash
The next time you feel like grumbling "I'm done!", choose instead to fight discouragement with these tools and truths. Doing so will wipe out despair, like the spring sunshine inevitably melts the snow.
P.S. There are 60's in our 10-day forecast!
Until next time,