Our lives are filled with boundless triumphs and difficult trials. If you look back at the past 10, 15, or even 20 years of your life, there were extended periods of time when you flourished and had a deep sense of peace. You’ll also see periods of extended difficulties, perhaps compounded by multiple negative life events. This is the rhythm of life, and no matter which season you’re experiencing today, it doesn’t change the one immovable truth: you were meant to live with a peace that surpasses understanding.
It’s definitely more difficult to recognize, or even achieve this deep sense of peace, when you are in the midst of negative life events. Let’s face it, we’re more heavily influenced by negative life events than we are by positive life events. Death, serious illness, troubles at work, and even relational problems easily overtake our minds. We succumb to extended periods of negative thoughts and that negativity affects our whole worldview. It becomes the lens through which we see the world, at least for a time.
Life is temporary, and one day, all of this will be over. So when we’re in a downturn, how do we maintain perspective? How do we cope with extremely negative events, especially those outside of our control, or those that we won’t have resolution to for months?
It’s important to start with the realization that negativity is a huge wall to climb. Death in the family is not easily overcome. Strained relationships with your spouse or with your children won’t heal overnight. We can’t simply will change and then immediately see the effect. That shouldn’t stop us, however, from making immediate positive changes to help reshape our environment.
The best way to take on negativity is to attack it head-on. We’ve got to take away some of the power it has, and that power is coming mainly from the lies that we let it tell us. Negativity will try to tell us that you’ll never get over a loss, that your relationship won’t heal, and that your work problems will end up with you unemployed.
The truth is, relationships have cycles. There are good times, there are bad times. So if you’re in a downturn, with a little work, you’ll turn the corner on this thing. Your spiritual life will have ruts. There are times when you feel really close in your relationship with God and there are times when you feel distant and alone. Whatever negativity you face, one day, it will break. You’ll have resolution and a spring will bloom in your life. All will be well.
When you face negativity, you can never surrender. Surrender will leave you stuck in perpetual negativity. Perpetual negativity robs you of the peace that you deserve, the peace that Jesus’ passion and death bought for you.
Never give up. Never surrender. This, too, shall pass.
Do you have a particular prayer you use when things get especially difficult?