Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right. Someone down the line will criticize you anyway.”
Stop listening to the negative voices around you and consider these four important things:
1. Seek God continually and learn to be a student of His Word. As a child of God you are in a wonderful position. You have access to the Throne of Grace, to the King of kings, and to a wealth of valuable instruction found in the Word of God which He uses to help guide and teach you.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4, NIV)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)
2. Pray often and act in accordance with the belief that your prayers will be answered. In order to act it helps to have a plan which can keep us motivated. So pray over what is pressed upon your heart and ask God to help you create a plan. Give yourself deadlines that are reasonable. Please understand that our timing is not God’s timing. So pray, plan, and act, but be willing to adjust your plans if necessary. His timing is always best and He might lead you in a direction that is not what you expect, but far better.
3. Actively fight the temptation to doubt. One of the biggest obstacles most of us face is the overflow of negative thoughts that relentlessly flood our minds. If we do not actively battle the voices of negativity and doubt, we will begin to believe them. When we begin to give them credit they prevent us from participating in those things that will lead us closer to our dreams. You can fight them by memorizing Scripture, reading motivational books that should lead you back to God and not to them or to self, and by limiting your time with those who continually bring you down.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22 (NIV)
4. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be who God created you to be.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. It is no good trying to ‘be myself’ without Him. The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop.” He went on to say, “I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
When we are no longer influenced by people and the world around us and seek Him first, we will truly be able to become what our Creator meant for us to be. When we compare ourselves to others (which tends to be human nature) we begin to judge who we are and others. Do not let fears, doubts, your past, age, beauty, etc. define you. It does not matter unless you believe it does.
It’s impossible to never feel the weight of life’s burdens. Even if all is well in our little corner the burdens of those we love, within our community or across the world can add another drop to our already full cup. I have had many a day when I wanted to stay hidden under the covers! But as tempting as that may be, hiding from the pressures of life do not help make it better.
A few things to consider:
- Pray. Be honest and open and pour out your heart.
- Ask others to pray for you.
- Remember to pray for others.
- Ask yourself: Is there something that I am doing that is adding to my burdens?
- Learn to say no. Always prayerfully consider your answer but if you find yourself having a hard time saying no, perhaps now is the time to begin. When you find the need to say “no”, remember that you do not need to explain your answer.
- Spend quiet time with God and reflect on His Word. Take time to listen.
- You are not alone.
- Ask Him to increase your faith.
- Remember the burdens of others. Prayer is wonderful, needed, and a necessity, but remember that God uses His people to answer prayers. If we see a need and are able to help then it is right to do so. Keeping the focus off ourselves is a wonderful way to honor God and we might be surprised how much it helps us as well.
- The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. Charles Spurgeon
- “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” C.S. Lewis
Psalm 33:20-21: We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
Psalm 146:5: Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God.
The Essential Journey, A 90-day ChallengeMy new book, "The Essential Journey, A 90-day Challenge" will be available through Amazon on August 1, 2013. Won't you join me in a 90-day challenge to encourage thoughtful living. Isn't it time you lived a life you love? Traci Lea LaRussa
“Madonna” by Gwendolyn Rodriguez