HOW ARE YOU? - 'Fix Your Eyes'

Hi, how are you?... Now tell me, how are you really?
If you’re anything like me you may find yourself bottling up your feelings - whether that be stress, anxiety, or sadness to name a few.  I’m someone that when asked how I am my automatic response is to say ‘oh I’m fine’ or ‘awk I’m ok, same old, not much changes;’ painting a picture of perfect situations, being confident and completely put together.  However, in reality it can be a totally different scenario going on; you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re just going through each day like you’re lost, and your head, well, if it’s anything like mine it can really wreak havoc and make what you feel is already a bad or stressful situation even worse. You may look around at other people and see them moving on with life when you feel stuck, some getting perfect grades, some getting the job they wanted or some falling in love and getting married, yet you feel like you’re being left behind in it all, nothing seems to be going you’re way, the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you just don’t know where to turn.
I can tell you that I’ve found myself in some of these situations just like you have and the people you see with the so-called perfect life situations, they aren’t perfect, they’re just like you and I, they have their ups and downs, their success, and failures. Just because things don’t seem right at the moment doesn’t mean it will always be this way.
When we find ourselves in these places this is where God draws closest to us, He’s right there like He always is, with His arms outstretched, we just need to look beyond what’s going on in our head and fix our eyes on God.  Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you.  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock”.  This verse has been highlighted in my Bible from I was in school; I liked school and exams didn’t stress me out too much until I was in sixth form.  I became someone overwhelmed with worry about every tiny little detail and was terrified of failing, then my Mum quoted this verse to me one night while I was revising, not because I told her I was stressed but because she cares for me and could see beyond my fake exterior of being okay - so how much more so does God see and understand and want to help us when we feel helpless.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit you’re struggling in the situation you find yourself in, maybe you don’t want to be judged or feel like you’ll be talked about or simply feel embarrassed.
Tell it all to God.  Break down the barriers you built up.
I have found that talking things out with someone you trust is the best way to clear your head - so who better to go to than God and there are different ways we can do this.  I have found comfort in reading my Bible more during these types of times, focusing on something other than what’s worrying or stressing you out.  I like to turn to the back of my Bible where there is a “Life choices index” and look for the word to describe how I’m feeling and turn to the suggested passages.  You should look at your Bible and see if it has something like this or even google Bible passages for … and insert your feelings.  I always set time aside each morning for my devotions, so this is something extra I do when I feel I need an extra helping hand.
Prayer is so powerful, and I can’t emphasise that enough! It is something so so simple that anyone can do, anywhere.  Tell God how you feel, ask for strength, ask for encouragement, ask for help, ask for direction, ask for concentration.  Do not be afraid to literally cry onto God, being honest I don’t know how many times I’ve done that especially over the past lot of years - feeling weighed down by university, having a degree but never seeming to get the job, and the most fearful time in my life, becoming paralysed.  God has been there through it all and has brought me through, so He can, and He will do the same for you if you ask!
Go into your room; shut the door and worship.  Turn on some music and sit in His presence, it is the most peaceful and beautiful place to be and don’t be afraid to fully submit yourself and sing along and mean what you’re singing.  My two favourite songs are Oceans by Hillsongs and Praise you in this storm by Casting Crowns, the words are so powerful and remind me of what I need to do when the storms of life get too much for me to handle.
To finish I have six points that have helped me, you don’t have to call yourself a Christian to do them all.  God loves each of us and wants us to come to Him, maybe through doing some of these you’ll find yourself wanting to know God more.
  1. Break down the barriers you’ve created
  2. Read your Bible daily (Look for an index)
  3. Pray (lay it all on the table)
  4. Worship (put your heart behind it)
  5. Talk to someone you trust
  6. Do some exercise or something you enjoy
  7. Give yourself a break
And always remember Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

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