I don’t know anyone who would say their life is perfect, who has everything they’ve ever wanted relationally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, all at the same time.
There is no perfect life.
Most of us, for the most part, swing back and forth between easy seasons and challenging seasons, with blessings and little irritations thrown in every day to keep us grounded.
But then some of us hit a wall, and we find ourselves saying that we hate our lives.
We find ourselves asking this question: How am I supposed to accept my reality when I hate my reality?
If this is you, if you have so many bad things going on in your life right now that you can’t think straight, first of all, I am so very sorry. Truly. I’ve had seasons like this, and it can feel not only overwhelming but hopeless.
But I have a couple thoughts for you.
First, and this may seem like backwards encouragement, but a gentle reminder: Jesus outright told us that in this world we would have trouble. So, whatever it is you’re going through is not out of the ordinary, but expected in a sense.
(This might be where you tell me to shut up, which I get. So I’ll quickly move on to my next point.)
Secondly, if you’re alive, your life is not over and you have something to be thankful for. And I know no better prescription for joy-inducement than gratitude. So, even if your entire life feels like a complete crap-show (pardon my French), I beseech you to stop what you’re doing, get a pen and paper, and write down TEN things in your life RIGHT NOW that you are grateful for, more if you can come up with more, but no less than ten.
And after you’ve written that list, I want you to do me another favor. One, say each one outloud, and after each gratitude, say, “The LORD has done great things for me and I shall be filled with joy.” (Psalm 126) It may feel awkward at first and you may feel weird, but do it anyway. (Trust me.)
Then, before you go to bed, I want you to read over that list again and thank God for each thing in your life that he is doing.
Lastly, read through this prayer from AlAnon:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
and the courage to change the things I can.
I’ve done this exercise a time or hundred in my day, but when I’m overwhelmed, I sometimes write out every single thing that is wrong in my life and that is worrying me, and then I ask myself over each thing on that list, ‘is this something I can change or is this something completely out of my control?’ It truly helps me seeing the things that I can’t do anything about, because then I can work on letting those go and asking God to help me accept them. But on the things I can do something about, it gives me tasks, and I love tasks, and that keeps me busy and focused on my side of the street, and helps me move forward.
Okay, so this is lastly…God has good plans for you. That’s not a cliché, it’s a promise. Your life may absolutely suck right now but it’s amazing how different things can look – and how differently you can feel – in a day or a month or a year. You won’t always feel like this, and your life won’t always look like this, I promise.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. -Psalm 27:13