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. (Though, gosh, Instagram and Facebook might give us another picture, huh?? Trust me: THAT’S NOT A CLEAR PICTURE! When we compare our lives to those we see on social media, we are comparing our insides with someone else’s well-coiffed, curated imperfection outsides. Blech! Quit it!)
Because here’s the truth about 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 both hopeful and grounded. It’s what Sara Groves sings about when she says we go through “patches of joy and stretches of sorrow…” We all have both of each.
But some of us have more bad than good, for longer than usual seasons…and we may hit a wall, and we might then find ourselves feeling like we hate our lives.
We find ourselves asking:
How am I supposed to live a life I hate?
How am I supposed to accept my reality when I hate my reality?
How am I supposed to be grateful in the midst of all this pain?
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.
And 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 // That means that you and I will see the goodness of the LORD for us in the land of the living…meaning in our lifetimes, while we’re still alive! It may not look like the goodness we’re desiring, but it will be good nonetheless. Promise.
Check out my new podcast ALL THAT TO SAY for more encouragement.
You and your ministry are on my list of things I am thankful for, Elisabeth!
Well that was the sweetest thing ever, Andrea! Thank you!
I was just saying to myself today and silently to Jesus that I Hate Myself
due to finding again today inappropriate sites of women on my husbands cell phone. Unknown women that is and no way will I confront him because he would just lie of course about it.
Oh Deborah, I’m so deeply sorry.