By Kristin B. Sizemore
We all have those seasons in our lives when we can’t exactly explain how we feel, except to attribute our feelings to the “blues”. Sometimes, nothing in particular is wrong. Other times, everything is wrong all at the same time. Either way, God’s plan is for us to live a victorious life and that means it’s time to beat the blues.
16. Count Your Blessings!
This may seem cliché’, but try it. Even if everything is going wrong, you are alive, God loves you, He sent His only begotten son to die for you, and He has a plan for you. Think about all the blessings you have and allow yourself to be truly thankful.
15. Help Someone Else.
When you’re at a low point, it’s easy to lose perspective. Also, that’s exactly what the enemy would love for you to do, so there’s that thrown into the mix. You’re blue and probably in spiritual warfare, if you’ve lingered in this area for very long. Find someone who needs your help. Go to a nursing home, an outreach ministry, or find a friend or a loved one that could use words of encouragement, a pie, or just some time to talk with someone. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to put your needs aside and be there for someone else. You may also realize that some of the feelings you face seem bigger than they actually are.
14. Go Shopping!
Even if you can only scrape up five dollars and you have to go to a Dollar Tree, retail therapy can work wonders. Go out, by yourself, and pick something out just for you; a nail polish, an ink pin, a necklace.
13. Have Some Silly Fun!
You don’t feel like having fun. The thought of fun makes your skin crawl. Still, if you will force yourself to engage in a little silliness, you’ll feel remarkably better. Enlist your kids. Have a dance off, a silly face contest, make a harmless prank call (always my go to), play Twister. Choose whatever forces you to take a little break from the blues and just be silly and carefree, even if just for a few minutes.
12. Do Your Thing!
Whatever your “thing” of action is, do that. Maybe you sing, run, play ball, or play an instrument. Whatever it is that you do, do that. Find some time to sing, play, run your heart out. It will be more of a release than you anticipate and it will stir up that passion within you that has taken a leave of absence while you’ve had the blues. P. S. Writers, this can be a slippery slope. If you have the down-and-out-but-best-writing-material-of-my-life-blues, work on lyrics or your novel. If you have the down-and-out-with-writer’s-block-blues, write in your journal.
11. Set Boundaries.
When troubles pile in on you all at once, life keeps going and often gets even more hectic than usual, right at the moment when you are least able to extend yourself an inch further. It’s time to set some boundaries. Recognize your non-negotiable priorities, the things you shouldn’t and can’t let slide. For example, this is not the time to take a step back from your work for the Lord, your calling, your reading, your praying, your personal worship time, or your church’s worship services. You can’t stop being a mom or a wife or a daughter. You can, however, learn to say no when it counts. If your phone won’t stop chirping, turn off some of those needless notifications, turn the volume down if you can’t turn it off all together, let your voicemail screen calls that are not family and likely not emergent. Take a break from the noise of social media. If you’re best friend’s mom passes away, you’ll need to attend the funeral services and probably bake a casserole. If someone is organizing a pot luck at your job that you would rather skip, however, you can politely let them know that you are just not able to participate. Take your life back and cut out the things that add unnecessary stress or drama.
10. Find Some Alone Time. Now.
When is the last time you had a few hours all to yourself? For many of us, that may be hard to remember. Guess what? Everyone needs a little alone time. If you’re married, discuss this with your spouse. They’ll likely be more supportive than you think. If you’re the wife and mom of the household, your husband will probably be especially glad to help, unless he’s an idiot. After all, when Momma’s not happy, no one is happy. Your whole family is probably ready to cooperate. If you’re someone who loves home, clear out the house for a few hours. Turn the televisions off. Take a hot bath. Do some reading. Just relax. If you are more of a go-getter, take a few hours alone and get out of the house. Drive around, window shop, or visit a museum. When you’re alone, there’s no one to please or accommodate. You get to do what you want to do. Although we love and cherish our families, everyone needs a break here and there. Don’t feel guilty. You can do a better job taking care of others once you’ve taken care of yourself.
9. Be Selective When Listening to Music.
Here’s the deal. I love Merle Haggard. I love his tone, his lyrics, his delivery. Guess what? When I have the blues, I don’t need to hear “Today I Started Loving You Again”, “Sing Me Back Home”, or “Silver Wings.” I already have the blues and I’m over it. I want to feel better. I get selective about my listening selection. I even have a “Happy” playlist. I don’t have to give Merle up all together, but when I’m in a classic country mood, and I also have the blues, I may listen to “Rainbow Stew” instead. Better yet, I’ll fill my ears and my heart with the happiest tunes of all; the songs that remind me of the victory I have been given through Christ. This applies to what you watch and read also. Put joy in! Be vigilant about what you listen to. It can pull you out of the blues or transform your blues into depression.
8. Make a List.
Whether you know exactly what’s bringing you down or you can’t quite put your finger on it, pull out the pencil and paper. Try to determine what is causing you to feel down and overwhelmed and write it down. Be honest with yourself. Now, look at what you’ve written and tackle your list, an item at a time. What will it take to improve that area of your life? What can you do to change things? Get a plan of action together for each item. Prayer and surrender may be your plan of action for a lot of your list. That’s even better. We know that all that God handles will be handled well. Now, instead of a dark, gray cloud hanging over your head, you have a game plan.
7. Have a Heart-to-Heart With Your Person.
Everyone needs a person. Yours might be your spouse, your mom, your best friend, your sister, your brother, your mother-in-law, your aunt, or your cousin. Seek your person out and ask for a heart-to-heart. Vent, scream, cry, rant, and rave. Get it out to the person with which it is safe to do so. You’ll feel much better and, chances are, you may even be able to laugh at yourself by the end. Sometimes, when you say it out loud, whatever it is that seems so big, shrinks a little.
6. Get Yourself Together.
Get up. Put your makeup on. Finish it off with a bold shade of lipstick. If you’ve been combatting the blues for a while, go for red. Curl your hair and jack it up to Jesus. Put on a flattering outfit and a pair of pumps. Square your shoulders and face the day. You’ve wallered (yes, again, wallered) in your problems long enough. Get yourself together and act like somebody.
5. Get Your Behind To Church!
As a pastor’s wife, I often see a troubling phenomenon. People start struggling. They need a breakthrough. They need the Lord’s guidance more than ever. They need to claim a victory through faith. But, they stop coming to church. They have a group full of believers to get behind them, an environment of worship, an opportunity to be faithful to God, regardless of their circumstances. I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense. It’s selfish. It’s counterproductive. Don’t do it. Take every opportunity to go to God’s house and worship, not because of your need, but because God is worthy of your faithfulness. The strength that you will receive in the Father’s house will be enough to keep you going and to conquer the blues.
Just because you’ve got the blues, you don’t have a right to stop praising God! He’s still God! Praise through the bad times. When you’re at your lowest, find a private place, lift your hands and just glorify the Lord of Hosts! You’ll usher in His presence. When you praise during the hard times, you’re trusting God and His plan. You’re rejoicing in the fact that He is bigger than your need. You’re putting your faith to action. You’re submitting your wants and needs in favor of trusting Him. The change that surprises you most, may just be your own heart.
3. Pray and Listen!
Take your problems to the Lord. Be honest with yourself and be honest with Him. He already knows, but He wants to hear from you. He knows the deepest, darkest recesses of your heart. He knows you better than you know yourself. Lay your problems at His feet, leave them there, and don’t forget to listen for that still, small voice.
2. Walk Forward in Faith!
You can’t change what’s behind. Don’t look back. You’re not going that way. Set your eyes on the road ahead and walk, placing your confidence in the Lord, allowing Him to guide your path, especially when His answer defies your own logic and reasoning. Take a step toward your future, even if you’re stepping out on faith alone. In fact, take your steps with the most confidence when you’re walking in faith alone, because God is in control. God is better at being in control than you are. One of my favorite Jesus quotes is, “Remember Lot’s wife.”* That simple sentence holds a whole world of meaning. Don’t look back. Looking back will destroy you. Obey me. Follow my plan. Have faith in who I am. Trust me. Keep your eyes and your steps in a forward direction.
1. Know Whom You Serve!
We all go through periods when we pray for help building our faith, when we try to believe. Get beyond that. Know who He is. He’s the Alpha, the beginning. He’s the Omega, the end. He’s not bound by time or space. He’s bigger. He’s omnipresent, omnipotent, omnificent, and omniscient. He’s Jehovah-Elohim, the Lord, Eternal Creator. He’s Adonai-Jehovah, the Lord our Sovereign. He’s Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord, our Provider. He is Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner. He is Jehovah-Ropheka, the Lord, our Healer. He is Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord, our Peace. He is Jehovah-Tsidkeenu, the Lord, our Righteousness. He is Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, the Lord, our Sanctifier. He is Jehovah-Saboath, the Lord of Hosts. He is Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is present. He is Jehovah-Elyo, the Lord most high. He is Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord our Shepherd. He is Jehovah-Hoseenu, the Lord, our Maker. He is Jehovah-Eloheenu, the Lord, our God. He is Jehovah-Elohay, the Lord my God.** This is who God tells us that He is in His Word. What was your problem again? We all get weighed down from time to time, but when we truly know who He is, it’s easy to trust Him and cast aside those weights that so easily beset us.*** If you don’t know the Lord, if you haven’t accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, today is the day of salvation! He’ll give you beauty for ashes. He’ll give you the oil of joy in exchange for your mourning. He’ll take the spirit of heaviness you feel and give you a garment of praise in its place. He’ll transform the grief-stricken into trees of righteousness.**** Turn it all over to Him and watch Him turn your blues into joy!
**16 Jehovah Titles. Dake, Finis Jennings. Dake Annotated Reference Bible. Old Testament, Pg. 52. 1963 Edition. 1979 printing.