Sometimes a monkey wrench gets thrown into your world and completely messes life up as you know it. It leaves you spinning out of control, gasping for breath, and feeling like everything is falling apart.
The heartache. The misery. The depression. The panic attacks. They all come swarming in like a bunch of killer bees stirred up by your mere appearance.
When all you want to do is escape the pain, I have 5 Steps to help you regain yourself and your life.
Step 1. Allow yourself to experience the emotion at this moment
Cry. Be sad. Get angry. Scream. Workout. Punch a punching bag. Run.
Let it all out. Experience it. All of it.
Somewhere along the way, we have gotten the message that it’s not okay to be sad or upset. If we just take a minute and cruise the Bible, we would find that there were all kinds of emotions expressed by all kinds of people. It only takes me a second to come up with examples. Peter broke down and wept in Mark 14:72, and Mary Magdalene cried at the tomb in John 20:11.
Jacob wept when he thought his beloved son, Joseph, had been “devoured” in Genesis.
“Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.”Genesis 37:34-35 NIV
Jacob didn’t just suck it up and move on. Can you imagine that Jacob felt like everything was falling apart at that moment?
And what about Jesus? Yep. He wept too, at the grave of His dear friend, Lazarus.
Jesus wept.John 11:35 NIV
It is okay to express emotion. Find a way that works for you, do it, and then move on to step 2, below.
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Step 2: Cast Your Burdens on Jesus
After you have sobbed your last tear, broken your last plate, or screamed until your throat is sore …
Cast your burdens on Jesus.
Do you know what the word cast means?
According to Merriam-Webster, it means “to cause to move or send forth by throwing.”
Got the visual? You aren’t tossing your burden at God, or merely suggesting He help you. You are throwing it so that it’s removed from you. When you throw a ball, it leaves your hand AND your vicinity.
Get it away from you. You no longer have to carry it.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
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Step 3. Rest in the quietness of solitude
After you have prayed and cast your burdens…
Sit in silence for several minutes. Don’t move. Don’t make any sounds.
Just be alone. There are no expectations from anyone or anything.
Jesus and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane come to my mind.
Mark 14:33-34 says that “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Jesus went to be alone and prayed. The prayer that is written in the Bible in Luke, Matthew, and Mark have a short prayer but when Jesus comes back to the group to find them sleeping, he asks Peter in Mark 33:37, “Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?” and then he returns to pray more, not one more time, but two. He got alone and prayed three occasions, across this long night.
I want to be clear here. From what I have read, none of the accounts of that night state that Jesus “sat in silence” for any length of time, but it does reference time in hours. Not sure how many hours. I’m not a Bible scholar. Since he had stated earlier that His soul was “overwhelmed” and He was separating Himself from the group, I can only imagine that after His prayer, He waited on God in the quiet because when he returned he referenced an hour.
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Step 4. Listen
What do you hear?
Your breath? Birds? Cars whizzing by?
Or maybe a still small voice?
It’s all life.
You are surrounded by LIFE.
Acknowledge that no matter what state you find yourself in right this minute, and no matter what devastation has occurred in your life, that until God’s plan for your life is complete, there is a wonderful life left to live ahead of you, even though you can not see it right now. The journey of life has good days and bad days, and they will all be had by you.
This horrible experience is simply a tool the enemy has to attempt to thwart God’s plan in your life.
When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God gave Moses instructions a piece at a time. Imagine if you will, the Israelites are in chaos, screaming at him and doubting. The Egyptians are chasing them all and closing in quickly.
I could imagine that Moses may have felt, even if for a split second, that everything is falling apart. BUT… he had to listen in to hear God’s voice and follow the plan. When he got quiet, God told him to raise his staff and when he followed through the sea parted and they were able to walk through.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”Exodus 14:13-16 NIV
Sometimes it takes, centering ourselves back on Jesus and His plan for our lives. When it feels like everything is falling apart, trusting God that His plan for your life is better than any plan you could ever come up with. Life is not without pain. Sometimes we have to shift our thoughts to accept that there are some outcomes we can’t see coming.
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years, they couldn’t see the Promised Land.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, whether Jesus knew what God’s ultimate plan and purpose was for the crucifixion or not, He still asked for God to “remove the cup” from Him if He would be willing, but He fully submitted to God by paying the ultimate price of sin for ALL of creation.
We still have to be quiet and listen for our next steps.
Step 5: Rest in God’s Faithfulness and Let Go
Resting in God’s faithfulness is quite a challenge when you are experiencing hard times and everything feels like it’s falling apart.
Submitting to God’s instruction and trusting His plan, unknown and unseen, sounds kind of crazy but, I assure you that as the Creator, He sees the bigger picture. He sees what we can’t see. Trust that His plan is way better than our plan could ever be.
When everything feels like it’s falling apart, it is okay to not be okay. Just don’t get stuck there forever.
Taking these 5 steps will not solve your problems. It won’t bring back whoever or whatever you lost. It will not make your life go back to the way you expected it to be at this point in time.
How will the steps help when it feels like everything is falling apart?
By experiencing the pain and emotion, you are giving yourself permission to grieve the loss or feel the frustration, and there is validation in that. It is okay to experience heartache and be confused. No, it’s not comfortable and nobody likes it BUT … It is okay to not be okay when you are going through difficult times.
By casting your burdens, you are acknowledging the very presence of God and your need for His comfort. You are resolving to allow Him to move in you and through you to heal your heart, and inevitably, deciding to continue on towards a greater purpose.
By being still, you are accepting his God-ship in your life. You are placing His faithfulness above all else, even your current torment.
By listening and recognizing the life around you and even in your own body, you are choosing to intentionally shift your thoughts to look for new opportunities, resets, and seeking gratitude for God’s life-giving abilities. By listening, you may even hear Him instructing you or loving on you at this moment.
Finally, by resting in His faithfulness, you are letting go of everything. You are owning the fact that the only control you have is over yourself, what you do, what you don’t do, and whether or not you are willing to trust God with your very life.
When it feels like everything is falling apart, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s up to you how long you need to process or grieve whatever you are going through. Just know there is a comforter and He is there to comfort and give you the strength to get through.
In my 12-part series, I share my grief process and how my faith grew during the loss of my firstborn son. Please know that you aren’t alone.
If you find yourself stuck in the “not okay” place, please reach out for help and talk to someone. Depression is real and there are strategies, tools, and supports to help you cope so that you can live a more fulfilling life.
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I've created several printables in the self-help category such as:
- the fear/faith journal page so you can get past your fears and walk in faith
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- and so much more.