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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Breaking out of the Valley of Despair ..

Recently, I have heard of a few people who've committed suicide. Male and female, 20's - 50's, what was shared by all of them was the belief that life was no longer worth living and ending it was the only way out.

I call this state of dark hopeless bleakness, the taking up of permanent residence in the valley of despair.

Now it's not like many of us haven't come across this 'landmark destination'. I challenge anyone to tell me they haven't visited, been imprisoned in, been trapped by, been unable to get out of, the Valley of Despair for even a short while. It is simply a period or time in your life when everything seems hopeless, when the odds facing you seem insurrmountable, when you can see no way out, when winter holds your life in an icy cold grip and all around you, everything is withering and slowly being frozen under layers of hard cold ice.

Finances dry up, bills come flooding in, loved ones die, childlessness strikes, redundancy comes as a bolt outta the blue, you are demoted, your new boss is a bully who makes work hell, ill-health squeezes the bloom out of your cheeks, children fail or begin acting up, relationships fail, your spouse has an affair, friends let you down, family turns its back, the one you trusted the most betrays you etc. It is amazing how these litany of woes that we think are so special to us alone, strike everyone in different ways. GOD forbid that anyone has the whole gamut of problems but life has this amazing pick and mix of crappy things, where we all get our own share, whether little or large. *rolling-my-eyes*

Sooooo, we find that life begins blowing sand in our eyes. When we close em and thrust on our sunglasses, we are hit by a shower of annoying pebbles! At first, we are strong, we raise a shield and fight them off, but soon, the little pebbles become stones, the stones become rocks and very soon we have a hailstorm, raining hard, frozen, painful hailstones down upon our unprotected heads and limbs. Finally sinking down under the weight of the battering, we drop to the ground and the warrior becomes a child.

Now, sinking to the ground isn't really the problem - the issue is how long you stay down there on the ground. Do you stay on the ground for 5 minutes to regroup, adust your shield and get yourself back on your feet? Or do we stay down there for weeks, months, years, wallowing in self-pity? What do we allow to drive us to our knees and keep us there? Some are lugging around the scars of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, rape, incest, physical abuse, parental favouritism, failed marriages, the pain of an adulterous marriage, the trauma of infertility etc .. and so we lug and drag these heavy burdens around for years, sometimes decades. Instead of rushing by and whizzing through the valley of despair, a permanent campsite is set up, log cabins are built but worst of all, is when we find ourselves moulding bricks and blocks to build permanent 'homes' in this dark depressing lonely valley.

When despair has wrapped chains around you, is clinging to your feet and tenanciously refuses to let go, how do you break out and shake it off? Well, I am no expert but having been an unwilling day-tripper to this valley in the past, I'll suggest a few tips. First involve GOD. He says, He will never leave or forsake us; therefore it means right in the deepest darkest night of your stay in the valley, GOD is right there by your side. He is holding your hand, keeping your tiny candle of hope alive. He is simply waiting for you to say 'LORD, break me outta here!' Secondly, be thankful for what you actually do have. It is amazing how self-pity will blind our eyes to all that is actually going great in our lives and we will only focus upon, and see that one area where we have an issue. Take your eyes off that singular area and reflect upon the many wonderful areas where your life is going totally great. Third - speak to someone yo trust. Don't try to get through the valley of despair alone. You need human support. You need a friend you can depend upon, one who will listen to you rant and rave and foam at the mouth, one who will not make judgements but will love, care and listen, one who will stay up until 4am to keep you from sinking into a total black swamp, a trustworthy friend who will never ever discuss what you have shared with anyone else. Fourth - care about others. Take your focus off yourself for one moment (yeah, totally difficult I know!! LOL), and reach out to others to see what they are going through. How can you help? How can you be supportive? Fifth - eat well, sleep well, exercise and dress nicely - it is amazing how our physical appearance can impact and help lift our mood or conversely, help to depress us even further. Now t
here are loads of other things that can help but I am simply throwing in a few - prayer, thanksgiving/praise, reach out to a friend, care about others, take care of yourself. Other people mention having a happiness index (a list of things that make you happy - going on a date, having a glass of wine, exercise, etc and regularly scheduling them into your life).

If however you find yourself having regular dark moods, being lethargic, feeling totally hopeless and you don't bounce back within a day or two, then please RUN to see your doctor - you might be suffering from stress and/or depression. 

Above all, do not stay in this crappy valley a day longer than you have to. If you are there right now, begin climbing out today. Crawl, walk, shuffle, stumble, run, skate, bike, fly - whatever you have to do to get outta there, please do it asap. It is time to begin to climb the mountain of victory, to reach the peaks of contentment, to rest in the meadows of peace and grace. 

Victory does not mean that everything is going right for you (or that it will ever do so). Victory is knowing that your life is fine because it is in the hands of a GOD who cares for you totally and absolutely. We are safe in His hands. Storms may rage, winds may blow, earthquakes might rock our very foundations but hold on tight to the ONE who keeps the universe steady. He can be trusted to keep your life and course steady.

It is time to begin to walk upon your high places ...


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