Needle In A Haystack

It has been one of those weeks where I feel like a fraud and although I do my best to ‘choose joy’ and win the battle in my mind on a daily basis, sometimes I let circumstances get the better of me and I want to quit and simply sulk. Often when I write and tackle topics, I am the one in need of the greatest help and meeting others like me through this journey has filled me with humility and gratitude. I have learnt that we all have a deep desire to know God and find fulfilment, but we let our appetite for feelings, experiences, material possessions and so on, get out of balance and take priority.

Finding peace and happiness this week, has been like searching for a needle in a haystack and instead of being still and asking God for help and strength, I end up seeking comfort by indulging in behaviours that are not good for me. Perhaps you can relate. Whether you switch off in front of the television for hours, max out the credit card or eat the whole tub of ice cream, these are merely short-term fixes that don’t satisfy for long.

When we end up giving in to excessive indulgence, it is usually followed by guilt and so the cycle begins again, only this time the void is deeper and it takes more to fill it. We use these quick fixes as buffers instead of asking ourselves what is the driving force behind these compulsive behaviours. What is the pain we are trying so hard to mask? I know for me a big trigger is my infertility struggle and with four pregnancies announced on social media this week, it set my already vulnerable soul into panic mode and all I wanted to do was numb the heartache, quickly.

I have always found it helpful to pursue challenging sporting goals as a way to cope with this pain. Recently I have been struggling to stick to a plan and am conflicted as to what I want to do going forward. Having this negative mind-set makes me feel more fatigued physically and it sets me on a downward spiral. I don’t want to force my training or have negative thoughts, so I need to nip them in the bud and not lose hope, despite the uncertainty I am facing.

I think there will have to be a ‘part two’ to this post, as it is going to take some time to let things settle and find my joy again. I challenge you to do the same if this is an area you are struggling with. Get to know yourself better and ask yourself what you are feeling before you indulge in a craving that will do you more harm than good. Rather feed your spirit and strengthen yourself from the inside out. This journey won’t be quick or easy but we need to persevere if we want to see change.

Take Responsibility (Part Two)

In the last blog post I mentioned how we can easily slip into the habit of doing everything in our power to avoid taking personal responsibility. A lesson we need to learn is that we need to start putting the blame where it belongs, on ourselves, if we ever want to have any hope of healing.

I think one of the best ways to use our pain, is by comforting someone else who is going through the same thing. In doing so, we can find a sense of purpose in contributing to society and making a difference in someone’s life. This creates a sense of belonging, as we all realize there is no need to face life’s problems on our own. I have found this satisfies me on the inside more than anything else. It is easy to become obsessed with ourselves and our wants and needs. By having others around it helps us avoid this trap of self-absorption.

Nurturing healthy relationships is important and often helps to satisfy our basic human need to be loved and accepted just as we are. I think this unmet need is often the root cause of so many of our struggles. Healthy companionship can also provide us with encouragement and accountability. We often use addictive behaviours (associated with food, work, shopping and so on) to medicate the pain we are experiencing, but again, we need to take responsibility, stop making excuses and commit to change.

It is so easy to be disappointed by our circumstances, upset by dreams that haven’t come to pass or frustrated by missed opportunities and goals we didn’t achieve. But we need to realize the work that God is doing within us every day and no experience is ever wasted. Change happens little by little, so don’t be discouraged. Be patient with yourself and keep moving forward.

Don’t Be A Slave To The Crave

Last week I watched two programs on drug addiction. It was quite unusual that on different days, when I happened to sit down in front of the television, I came across people talking about their struggles with drugs. I felt instant compassion for them, as they described being trapped in this prison, trying to desperately fulfill unmet needs with a temporary high. The images shown and the conversations exchanged between the addicts have remained with me since and although I have never personally struggled with drugs, I could relate to a lot of what was being shared by this group of young adults.

I could relate to them because below the surface of these harmful behaviours (in this case drug abuse, but there are many other examples) is often a single trait that all of us share: we are all searching to experience fulfillment. We may look for it in different ways and in different places, be it drugs, alcohol, food, work, relationships, but the fact remains we are all on the same journey.

We are searching for meaning and purpose. We want to love and be loved. We want to be satisfied with who we are. We spend a lot of time trying to meet our longing for fulfillment, often in our own strength, but we need to surrender our problem to God, as He is the one who made us with these appetites and ultimately is the only one who can help us satisfy them in the right way. We often don’t fill our appetites with what we really need and instead try put something else in their place. The one young man on the program mentioned he felt he lacked his father’s approval and affection and drugs became the substitute for this need of love and acceptance he craved from his dad.

We need to be aware and carefully examine the real story behind our choices to fulfill our appetites and do our best not to give in to our fleeting desires quite so easily by making the wrong choice. There is no simple solution and I am skimming the surface of a much deeper issue here, but I wanted to share my thoughts as these stories impacted me this week, and got me thinking. I hope it has given you something to think about too.