Quite a few people asked me for the five insights from the Sunday message. They are only five of the many more insights we need when times are hard, but they are a good start. Read all of them in light of Romans 8:28-39 and Romans 5:3-4.
ONE: Expect the Expected.
(See yesterday’s post for more on this.)
TWO: Accept Responsibility to do what YOU must do about your hard times. When hard times happen, don’t make them harder through irresponsible responses.
Don’t withdraw, isolate, shut down, or avoid problems. Those responses NEVER help you, they only make it worse.
Don’t get angry and retaliate. Don’t deny or blame-shift or rationalize or justify, etc. Those responses NEVER help you in hard times, they only make it worse.
Take ownership, act promptly, choose your next step wisely, and realize there are consequences for all your responses.
What matters most is NOT what happens to you. What matters most is what you DO about what happens to you.
Read stories like that of John O’Leary in On Fire to find inspiration for being responsible.
THREE: Connect with God.
Don’t withdraw from God or avoid God. And don’t get angry at God. Getting angry at God NEVER helps you. Getting angry, blowing up in anger, affirming the rightness of anger is NEVER a solution for anger. It is a myth to think those things work as a steam value to alleviate anger. Anger acted upon in those ways just gets stronger and more toxic.
Reading scripture (like the verses suggested above), doing devotional reflections (like we provide with the weekly messages in print and on line), worshipping our God—all this helps you draw near to God.
Pray the Serenity Prayer every day.
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FOUR: Get the help you need.
Once you are taking responsibility for your hard time, once you have decided to fight this good fight of faith, then God will send all sorts of remarkable people your way to help you. When you are fighting the good fight, it is much easier for others to fight with you, fight for you, and fight alongside you.
FIVE: Maintain hope.
I give the same suggestions as I said under point three. For it is as you connect with God that hope grows. Remember the words of Julian of Norwich. She said, “All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manners of things shall be well.” Look up the old hymn It is Well With My Soul. You can listen to a nice version of it here on YouTube. Let those words and the melody linger in your heart and mind.
May it be well with our souls,