Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Do You Escape Life's Problems?

Yesterday, I threw my arms up in defeat. I surrendered. I caved. I gave up. I did the unthinkable – called a medical specialist. The connotation surrounding this call is “I’m a failure.” I could not rid my body of pain. I could not figure out the problem and fix it. Add this mindset to escalating PMS (yes, it’s real) and my emotions launched into a tailspin – and landed on “depressed.”

Every ounce of me wanted to go face-down in a bag of tortilla chips and eat my way out of the pit of failure I had fallen in. (It didn’t help that we recently purchased the tastiest tortilla chips I’ve eaten in a long time, and they were staring at me from the counter.)

Have you experienced days like this? Maybe you’ve trudged through weeks or months or possibly years like this. Hopelessness and despair creep into our lives. If we don’t recognize them quickly, they grab hold and rapidly pull us down. To escape, we’re liable to turn to outside sources. Shopping, drugs, and sleeping are all options. But some of us use . . . food. We think food will mask the pain and hurt. We think food will distract us from the real issues. And it may. Temporarily. But when we lift our head out of the proverbial sand (or in my case, bag of tortilla chips), our problems still exist.

I’m sure cleansing my body of impurities last week was Holy Spirit led. But God never promised a positive outcome. He never said, “Cleanse your body, walk an hour each day, ice every four hours, and I’ll wave my magic wand and heal you.” I desired it. I sought it. I hoped and prayed for a happy ending. But the pain still plagues me. No amount of tortilla chips (or lack thereof) will change that fact.

But my perspective can change. So, today, I am again throwing my hands up and surrendering. But not in defeat. I am surrendering to God and His will. “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:1,4)

The truth is God never promised Christians would live a pain-free life. What he did say is, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:20,33) God promises, “He (or She) will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:15,16)

Today, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I raise my glass of water in a toast with the Apostle Paul who wrote, “. . . if we are [God’s] children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18) To God’s glory! Cheers!

How do you escape from life’s troubles?

What Scripture verse lifts your spirits?

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Keith Reynold Jennings said...

Hi Barb!

I would love to rattle off clever ways I escape life's troubles, but the reality is I'm a whiner. And, yes, I love me some tortilla chips. And chocolate chip cookies.

What I'm trying to do these days is weird. I'm trying to use my fears and doubts as guideposts. In other words, if something terrifies me and I feel myself pulling back, I force myself to lean into it.

You are so right in what you write. There are no guarantees. We're not protected under any contract. Faith can be quite an illogical, crazy ride.

Thank God for tortilla chips.

Barb Winters said...


Glad you chimed in!

What has really been reeling through my thoughts these past two day is that this is a tension I need to use for harmony! I suppose that is partly what you meant by leaning into the fears and doubts.

Excellent thoughts. Thanks.

Joyce said...

Thanks for your insight Barb! I tend to go to junkie food for comfort, although I am doing better realizing that it will only compound my decreased energy and excess fat that I don't like seeing....:)But lets face it - fatty food tastes good and we feel rewarded. My biggest thing is not getting enough exercise so that I can increase my energy. I am starting again today!

I love the verse 3 John:2 "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and that your body may keep well, even as I know your soul keeps well and prospers." God wants us to keep our minds on the Word of God and to speak the promises we find inside so that we can improve our thinking and attitudes. Then, John says that he wants our bodies to prosper as our soul, so we are healthier in soul and body alike!!

I also stand on healing scriptures when I am fighting something physical in my body, because Jesus not only bore our sins on the cross, but took stripes for our healing and I can speak TO my body to be healthy along with eating right, keeping a good attitude and exercise. One day I will succeed in all of this and get it right..:)

Keep encouraged and keep encouraging us!

Barb Winters said...


Thanks for your comment!

I love the verse you cited. I'm sure there is a link between our body and soul. Keeping our mind on God and His word will help us stay healthy spiritually and physically.

Thanks again.

Laura said...

For me, hitting a trail (or treadmill in the winter) with an MP3 filled with my favorite Contemporary Christian songs can go a long way to get me through a difficult time and help me remind myself that it's not enough to just SAY that I trust my life to God ... I have to actually DO it (trust that He is in control) - for a "Type A" personality like me, that's often much easier said than done ... but, I try again each new day! ;-)

The verse I find myself continually returning to is Isaiah 40:31 - "... but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint."

Barb Winters said...

Laura - I remember you used to drive for hours. Walking is much cheaper!

I also remember how much you love music! Not that we ever "fought" about it (I'm sure you gave in), but sharing an office was interesting since you worked best with music and I couldn't concentrate with music. ;-)

"it's not enough to just SAY that I trust my life to God ... I have to actually DO it" - Great point!

Thanks for your comments!

Jana said...

The verse I revert to often is Matthew 11:
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Ahh, I just love that.

You visited my site and left me a comment about my Peanut Chicken Skewers. I updated my recipe press to the new version and it wiped out all my ingredient lists. I have gone back to the old version which suits me just fine and the ingredients are now back up. Her is the link to the recipe:
My kids love these. Thanks for visiting. I am so glad you did as I love your blot and can't wait to peruse it further. God Bless You, Jana

Barb Winters said...

Jana -

Welcome and thanks for your comment!

Matthew 11:28-30 is one I turn to often. It helps keep things in proper perspective.

Thank you so much for updating your blog. I can't wait to try the recipe.

Tony Alicea said...

This may sound silly but hey, it works for me.

I just declare truth to myself. I literally just speak verses over myself. I remind myself that I am God's son and that He loves me and He is for me.

There is something about saying it out loud that encourages my heart and lifts my spirit.

Barb Winters said...

Tony -

Excellent! This is what we should all strive for. Declaring truth trumps tortilla chips any day.

Thanks for your comment - hope to hear from you again.