Whichever descriptive words you may wish to use, these days do exist. And they are constantly slamming on your door with increased intensity threatening to break them off their hinges. Sometimes, they do. Sometimes, they come close. But the shattering reality is that you will be at war with them often.
For me, a cloudy day looks and starts like this;
Morning episode – I arouse heavy-hearted, I disrelish leaving my warm bed yet slumber has no room in my eyes. I have no desire to have my devotion, having a conversation with God doesn’t seem exciting. I’m simply lethargic. I don’t feel hungry. I even shudder at the idea of chewing food.
Afternoon Episode – I’m still not hungry; my energy levels have plummeted to negative. I have pending works but I have decided that it is never that serious and I’ll just sit there, deep in thought. Chewing cud. Ruminating.
And can I tell you what I’m focusing on?
Business challenges, low sales, my aging parents, bills et al.
I’m focusing on what isn’t going right in my life.
I’m focusing on unanswered prayer(s).
My focus slowly but steadily turns into inner grumbling and my heart grows heavier and heavier as my head spirals!
Late evening episode – The dark cloud above me has now thickened. It has taken over and it is firmly rooted, with its intimidating presence. I can’t shake it off, I feel alone, weak and crushing under its weight. I become unproductive, unmotivated and full of anxiety.
You probably and most likely can relate. Bad days are non-fictitious.
Here’s what I have learnt about these dark episodes in my life and how we can beat the blues;
- Play some loud music
Well, that is if you have the grand pleasure of living in your own compound and your next neighbor is 10km away. But if you are like me and your neighbor can hear your microwave beep or even worse, your token meter beep, then a little consideration won’t hurt. You don’t want to be The Grinch who steals people’s peace with your loud-banging, window-vibrating music.
Plug in some headphones, set the volume on high – ignore the warning that your eardrum may be in danger and dance your troubles and fears away. After all you can only sustain this level of high intensity madness for an hour tops! But the reward will be grandiose!
Plus, you will burn some calories in the process. You can switch to worship music for a cool down.
- Evaluate your perspective
A wise man once said that the problem is not the actual problem, but how you view that problem. Perspective, my friend.
Don’t over analyze the situation. Deal with the facts. This is easier said than done but with a little exercise you get better at it. While at it, check your thoughts. Consciously think about what is right, what is noble, what is praiseworthy…I suggest having a vertical perspective when trouble shakes the ground beneath you.
- Have some contact with nature
I especially love the evening breeze. There’s something so magically refreshing about it! Take an evening walk and clear your head.
The dim lights, the giggling voices of children playing, the soft touch of the breeze on your face, a warm hello to a neighbor or your guard, the alluring scents of simmering dishes as residents prepare dinner, will be the perfect blend for melting away your worry.
If you get an opportunity for a short road trip, whether work or family function, choose to intentionally suck in all the beauty from that trip.
I had an opportunity to travel to Naivasha for work last week. I had used the Mai-Mahiu route several times before. But this time round I chose to literally savor the beautiful but scary meanders of this particular road. The escarpment, the Longonot and its rising peaks covered in green lush. I was constantly fascinated at how creative God is.
The road had an interesting blend of impatient drivers pulling crazy stunts; and careful drivers – I salute them, tortoise trucks, people farming on the nearby plots, maize was being roasted amidst football conversations; the vitality of life was palpable. My heart came alive.
I recall lowering my window at some point and screaming my lungs out as my voice was quickly absorbed by the wind and trees. It was liberating! Try it! As crazy as it sounds, weird even, you’ll thank me for it.
- Be grateful
I know this is quite the old adage, but still very life-changing. A good friend of mine, in one of our very long phone conversations, put me up to a challenge and asked me to tell her two things I was grateful for in my past week.
I have to admit that I struggled. I was ashamed even. Thinking about it later that night, I discerned that I had become accustomed to taking many blessings for granted.
You too, I suppose? It is so easy to slip into the stinky habit of ingratitude. If you look intently, you will be cognitive of your innumerable blessings!
Life, salvation, good health, the few loyal friends who warm your heart with too much laughter, a warm meal, a warm bed, a roof that isn’t leaking, a job, a sale, a cute baby. The list is bottomless! A grateful heart has a firmer ground. And you can easily be assured, that this too, you shall conquer.
- Find comfort in knowing that the old saints experienced them too!
Yes, you heard me right! Elijah , Moses, Jonah and even Paul; these heroic men of God suffered discouragement, despair, despondency and depression. I like the fact that God includes this picture of His men and women. He doesn’t hide their weaknesses. How comforting is this?
- Talk to God about it
Be real with Him. He is your creator. There is nothing that catches Him by surprise. His promises are sure as much as you may grapple with this truth. His presence is a constant. He never loses sight of you, never! Ask Him for renewed strength and grace and know that you can trust Him. Surrender.
How do you beat your blues? I personally wouldn’t mind adding to my weapon list! Please share with us, please?
Originally published at ofdailyencounters.wordpress.com