As a Christian how should we tackle difficult and discouraging situations? This is something my husband David and I have thought a lot about in the last few years. We think it is important to have the right perspective when looking at the big picture by focusing on God’s greatness and purposes without losing sight of the little picture by taking each day as it comes. This is part-two looking at the smaller picture, if you missed part-one it is available here.
The Little Picture:
We think one of the means to living each day out when in a tough time is to compartmentalise, focus on the next objective and just keep moving. What is the immediate next step? Sometimes we just have to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, trust in God and hold fast to him (Hebrews 10:23). To illustrate this here is some of David’s testimony:
It took me 3 years of dealing with physical and mental health issues to finally get into a paid job. I was clinically depressed and a carer to my wife. I had to take small steps; they do add up over time and are far better than the alternative: if I didn’t work towards the next goal and if I stopped fighting to achieve the next goal, however small it might be, it would mean that I had given up and that I would never get out of my circumstances.
What helped me a lot was to compartmentalise by splitting up bigger goals into smaller achievable ones. When I was so ill I felt I could do nothing I knew I had to build myself up and do something to help myself. I asked God to help me make a plan. Jumping straight into a job was clearly impossible but I signed up to a single 4 hour volunteer shift once a week just serving coffee with a smile. I found this tough and exhausting but over time as I stuck at it I found it a bit easier. For a few months I worked at getting back into a “normal” sleep cycle. After that I signed up for a full day once a month of Bible classes. Then I started doing some studying from home.
Sometimes however the next small step might still look too big. I wondered how I would get a job with my career gap; it really didn’t look good on paper. Also Lucy was in no position to earn money, we had to trust that God knew what we needed (Matthew 6:8) and that he would provide (Matthew 6:26). This was very hard at times; God’s timing is seldom ours! As Psalm 31:15 says: ‘my times are in his hands…’ We can testify that he did provide for us the whole three years that neither of us worked. When we can’t split up big tasks or goals into smaller ones we ask God for the breakthrough. In the end I did get a decent job and it was not through the many job applications I made but through God’s provision. A friend told me his firm wanted to hire someone, they gave me an interview for my ideal job, even though it was not advertised and I got offered it. Praise God, he helps us in our weaknesses and provides for us.
I felt with my poor mental health that moving forward seemed impossible and slow. But I would not accept the alternative. It has been tough; I have had professional help and had to force myself to put one step in front of the other. The Bible talks about fighting the good fight of faith in 1 Timothy 6:12. Fights are not easy or pleasant, but sometimes necessary.
This post has been written by my husband, David. In addition to being my carer for several years as I have battled health problems, he has faced his own problems including severe depression and burn out.