ALERT: THIS BLOG POST IS LONG BUT I PROMISE IT WILL BE WORTH THE READ. Especially for those of you who are struggling and trying to get through hard times. If you’re too busy to read it now, click the link below to download the PDF version so you can come back to it later!
In my vlog I mentioned,
“Our circumstances do not alter God’s goodness and they do not hinder God’s provision. No matter how hard things get sometimes, we just have to keep going. Because those hard moments, those dark moments, THAT’S where faith comes into play. It’s in the moments that we can’t see our hand in front of our face, much less the light at the end of the tunnel, that we have to dig our heels in and we just have to believe that God is near, He’s not going anywhere, and He’s got a plan.”
God is so good, you guys. I don’t believe in coincidences. Nope. I believe, in everything, even the smallest details of our life, God is there. He is divinely organizing and arranging our daily paths and conversations to fit His will…to tell us things and remind us of what’s most important…to tangibly show us He is near, He hears us, and He loves us.
This wasn’t the original post I had planned for today. But, I felt it was important and something we all needed to hear.
Yesterday morning, we watched a video of Dr. Rick Rigsby’s commencement ceremony speech. If you don’t have time to watch it, HAVE NO FEAR! I summarize and provide bullet points below so feel free to scroll down if you need to!
The entire speech revolves around the lessons he learned from his dad, a third grade dropout and the wisest person he knows.
Here are my favorite lines from the video:
“My mother said for nearly 30 years, my father left the house at 3:45 in the morning. One day she asked him, ‘Why, Daddy?” and he said, ‘Maybe one of my boys will catch me in the act of excellence.'”
“Excellence ought to be a habit, not an act.”
“It takes knowledge and wisdom combined to grow your influence so that you’ll make an impact. You’ll be a shipmate that others can count on.”
“I know you’re tough, I know you’re seaworthy…but always remember to be kind. Don’t ever forget that.”
“John Wooden coached basketball at UCLA for a living, but his calling was to impact people. And with all those national championships, guess what he was found doing in the middle of the week? Going into the cupboard, grabbing a broom, and sweeping his own gym floor. You want to make an impact? Find your broom. Every day of your life, you find your broom.”
“Good enough isn’t good enough if it can be better, and better isn’t good enough if it can be best.”
“I’m not worried you won’t be successful. I’m worried that you won’t fail from time to time.”
At the end of the video, Rigsby shares a personal story to tie everything together. In doing so, he talks about hitting rock bottom and what happened when he lost his wife to breast cancer.
“For two years, my heart didn’t beat. If it wasn’t for my faith in God, I wouldn’t be standing here today…I was completely lost. That was rock bottom. You know what sustained me? The wisdom of a third grade dropout…we’re at the casket in College Station, TX. I’d never seen my dad cry…that was his daughter. Trina was his daughter, not his daughter-in-law…and I’m right behind my father about to see her for the last time on this earth and my father shared three words with me that changed my life right there at the casket. It would be the last lesson he would ever teach me.
He said, ‘Son, just stand…you keep standing. You keep standing. No matter how rough the sea, you keep standing…no matter what, you don’t give up. Boy, you keep standing. No matter what.'”
And that is where I lost it. I NEEDED TO HEAR THAT. There’s not a doubt in my mind God planned and knew I would be hearing these words yesterday morning…WHEN I NEEDED THEM MOST!
After the video, Mrs. Julee started talking to us about the Holy Spirit and how easy it is for us to forget about the power of the Holy Spirit when we’re trying to get through hard times.
And she’s exactly right.
We too often rely on our own strength to get through hard times rather than admitting our weaknesses and asking God to give us the strength we need to press on.
She challenged us to ask ourselves, “Why are we not asking and relying on that power?”
Tears filled my eyes as I started thinking about these past few weeks and how small my problems seemed in that moment. I’m guilty of trying to make things happen on *MY* time and in the way *I* want them to happen.
Handing everything to God is a constant battle because my human nature doesn’t want to. My first instinct is to try harder and work longer.
This isn’t something I’m proud of.
I bought a new book last week about marketing and would’ve stayed up all night to start/finish it had I not FORCED MYSELF to put it down. Seriously. It’s that bad. I try to do 18,000 things at once to make the process go faster…which is an actual joke.
WHY DO I DO THIS? WHY AM I LIKE THIS!?
Although I hand my blogging and motivational speaking and finances to God each morning, I still find myself trying to take them back.
I still find myself returning to those selfish, impatient hopes and wishes and desires.
I still find myself trying to rely on my own strength to get me through.
Again, this was exactly the reminder and challenge I’ve been needing!
I want to do better; I need to do better.
It’s not my responsibility to try and get through hard times on my own!
What about you? Is this something you struggle with, too?
If so…here are 3 things to help you get through hard times (in a addition to prayer and the grace of God, of course):
1. Keep standing.
Many of you responded to my Facebook post last week and several of you seem to be in the same boat.
Here’s the post in case you missed it:
When the journey hurts, I pull out my “dream journal” and read through all the times God proved Himself faithful. Sometimes it’s too easy for me to only see my circumstances and where I’m not rather than how far God has brought me.
But, knowing God is faithful does not necessarily always lessen the hurt or take it away.
It doesn’t make the frustration and weariness magically disappear.
But it does redirect my thoughts and mindset and helps me put my focus back on Him…because locking eyes with my Savior and His plans for me is the only thing that keeps me from drowning in the waves.
It has been a hard few weeks. I’m just tired…tired of working so hard from sunup to sundown and not seeing the results I long to see…tired of not being able to provide for myself financially in the way I want and need. This determined, ambitious, competitive, go-getter, goal-oriented, 24-year-old doesn’t like being told no, or to wait, or to be patient.
Not at all.
Because I want things to happen on my time, in my way.
That’s not faith, though.
That’s not trust.
I’m having to remind myself to just keep going and don’t stop and to work like it depends on me but pray like it depends on God (because it does).
Even though I feel like my prayers are going unanswered and I’m getting really, really worn out, I know God hears me and sees me. I’m confident He knows my greatest needs and He’s tending to them right now in ways I can’t see and understand.
I know God loves me and His plans are good.
I know He is faithful.
These are the things I’m hanging on to today.
These are the moments helping me push through.
If you feel tired, weary, and frustrated…keep standing. Even when you can’t see or understand what God is doing or what good could possibly come out of your situation, keep standing. If you think you’ve hit rock bottom, keep standing.
No matter what, keep standing.
Allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you as you relinquish control to God.
2. Look for ways to know God in a way you didn’t know Him before.
Mrs. Julee talked about an activity she did recently where the instructor provided them with a list of everything God is…here is a shortened version below:
She then challenged them to “circle all the ways [they] know God” and ask Him, “Help me to know you in a new and different way.”
I have honestly never thought of it that way.
Yes, I know God is constantly teaching us lessons and there is always something new to learn in everything we face.
However, I don’t think I have ever taken the time to acknowledge the different characteristics of God I have personally experienced when going through hard times…all the while challenging myself and asking God to reveal Himself to me in a new way.
I’m just blown away by this!
Why am I not taking the time to acknowledge all the ways I know God? What a beautiful, sweet, tangible, and POWERFUL reminder of His faithfulness and grace and mercy! This activity is so much more than simply looking for the lesson God is trying to teach us (which is still important to do!). It takes our circumstances to an entirely new level and helps us develop an even greater, more intimate understanding of God!
3. Grab a broom.
Mrs. Julee also talked about how everybody is struggling with something. It’s not just us. The best remedy to get through hard times is to “pick up a broom” and serve those around us.
When we serve others and put their needs before our own, we remember things aren’t so bad. Others are struggling, too. We’re all fighting our own battles…some are seen, some are unseen. Regardless, they all are challenging us to look beyond ourselves.
As my pal Kalee so graciously mentioned,
“In times where I start feeling overlooked, I like to focus on giving back. Serve at a shelter, go on a mission trip, etc…let God show you that your works are needed. And although it’s not exactly what you may have in mind, it’s normally what I don’t either, it shows me that I am needed and restores my cup when I’m filling empty.”
How powerful is that?
And you know what is so cool about everything I learned/was reminded of today? On the way there, I was thinking about how it may be better to go in the afternoons instead of the morning so I can take care of my own stuff first. I started worrying about my schedule and, to be honest, found myself wishing I had agreed to come in during the afternoon rather than the morning.
Thankfully, God knew better…He knew what was best for me.
In no way whatsoever did I regret choosing to go in the morning!
My only regret was having spent even 2 seconds wishing I had chosen the afternoon.
God, in His grace and mercy, knew I needed to be in that Bible study this morning and how much I needed to hear those words.
Because I did.
I needed to hear that.
And I felt you might have needed to, too.
By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can get through hard times. You and I both. We’re going to make it.
Keep standing, friends.
No matter how hard things get and no matter how much you want to quit.
Continue to stand and fight through the storms of life.
Make a list of who God is, circle what you already know about Him to be true, and then ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and different way.
Approach your circumstances ready to learn.
Even when we’re weary, even when we’re tired, even when we’re frustrated…God is working in our life and making all things new.
These are promises we can stand on to help us get through hard times.GET POSTS VIA EMAIL