Do you ever feel like you’re barely hanging on by your fingernails? All might even look right when people look at you, but you’re really enduring a great struggle? I think that is true of many people. In this case, knowing you’re not alone doesn’t help the current situation.
What leads to this situation?
Wow, the number of ways someone can find him/herself in this situation is large and diverse. Here are a few:
- Loss of a loved one, friend, dear colleague
- Loss of a job
- Major life transition
- Financial pressures
- Unrealistic expectations
- Constant negativity
- Not finding a source of hope
- Situation that seems endless
What are the signs?
Sometimes people find themselves at this point and are surprised. The loss or life change might have come out of nowhere. Or, the slope to hanging by a thread might have been gradual and barely noticeable.
Some of the signs I hear clients talk about include:
- Waking up with anxiety during the night
- Loss of energy
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts that are hard to quiet
- Decreased sense of self worth
There are physical effects of being in this dark place. Blood pressure and blood sugar are harder to control. When sleep patterns change, risk of depression, pain, and anxiety go up. Productivity declines, so there are lost days of work or decreased work getting done (and that can further increase the stress). Relationships can suffer.
Taking the next steps forward
The first step in recovery is to recognize the signs. Realize you are in this place.
The next step is to realize you don’t need to walk this path alone. If you have trusted family or friends, let them help you. Call your doctor and explain the situation and how you are feeling. Reach out!
The step that is most important is to find your source of hope and meaning.
Finding and focusing on hope and things beyond yourself
Life contains many struggles. That is true for everyone no matter their occupation, the country where they live, their religion, their political beliefs, or their hair color.
People really struggle to handle the ups and downs of life alone. The tendency is to get more and more focused on yourself and your situation. This is a deep, dark, downward spiral. We have probably all found ourselves on that dark path at least once. Some people live in this vicious cyclone of self.
If you’re there now, make a real effort to reach out the do something for someone else today. It can be something as simple as holding a door or giving them a place in front of you in line. Small and large acts of kindness toward other people is one of the best remedies for our own difficult times. Try it and see!
The other is finding your source of hope. Hope is what gets us through the tough times. It is what changes our perspective beyond ourselves and our current situations. It is liberating!
Hope through Christ is central in the Christian beliefs.
Hope is a critical element of the Jewish tradition.
Hope is integral in the Muslim faith.
Hope is a common theme in Buddhism.
If you aren’t sure of your source of hope, I encourage you to invest some time to reflect on this area of your life.
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A growing number of retirees are finding themselves disgruntled, disillusioned, and hanging by a thread. Startlingly, the suicide rate is rapidly escalating. One of the primary purposes of Retirement Wellness Strategies is to facilitate finding meaning, relevance, and peace in retirement.
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When have you last been, or why are you now ‘hanging by a thread’? We’ve all been there. Throughout the Bible, we are assured we will have trouble.
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
These verses tell us trouble is just going to happen. You are definitely not the only one enduring trouble. You are not being specifically punished while the rest of the world goes on their merry way.
[Side note, the world you see people portray on social media is not all reality. Those are the super great moments of people’s lives. They have ugly, messy, stinky, troubling moment, too – just like you.]
These verses also tell us God knows we are living through difficult times. God knows we struggle. And, God has not left us alone. He loves us! He is looking out for us! He is here to help us!
James 1:12 ESV
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 John 5:14 ESV
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Jesus was born to offer the ultimate sacrifice to save us. It is in this HOPE that we can endure difficult times and rest assured of His unconditional love!
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
I’m praying you take the time in your busy-ness and struggles to reach for God and His promises. May you find that peace that surpasses understanding!