A way out of despair
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Have you ever had a day or string of days when life seemed pretty bleak? Maybe it had to do with family or money or relationship problems. Maybe you wondered whether or not you'll ever feel comfortable in your own shoes. Maybe you've longed to escape for a while through mind-altering substances, or, worse, to end it all.
There is a better way to lift the curtain of despair to discover tangible answers, success, and a feeling of being watched over and cared for.
My young Navajo friend Kileen is a great example of this. She is one of the most joyful, kind, and fun people I know. But it wasn't always that way.
Several years ago, she felt pretty hopeless about her life. She found herself caught in the middle of some family challenges and didn't see a way out. No matter which way she turned, she was sure to offend someone, and besides, she wondered if she had the ability or the obligation to try to fix everyone else's problems. This family dispute literally put a halt to Ky's activities. As a high school student, she had enough on her own plate without taking on the whole family. She found herself overwhelmed, angry, discouraged, and disappointed.
Today, it's a different story. She's quick to laugh and animated in her conversation about the exciting things she's involved in. What made the difference?
Ky would say that she needed a spiritual and emotional overhaul.
Instead of focusing on all of the dysfunction in her family, she sought to see what was right in everyone around her and in the promise for her future. What impresses me about the way Ky discovered her answer and how she continues to handle the situation is the kindness she shows everyone involved, and her basic understanding that there is a higher power she can lean on to guide her and everyone else.
This led her to find a greater sense of peace about her family and opened the door to new opportunities for success in her own life. She knows that she doesn't have to fix the problems in other people's lives, but can trust that God will show them what they need to know in a way that they can understand.
Who doesn't need to learn that the best alternative in any situation is to turn to this higher power and to know that it can correct anything that troubles us? Getting to know God as a caring Parent, full of mercy and grace, is a big step toward trusting Him to take care of everyone, including ourselves. Sometimes we all feel that we don't have sufficient understanding of a problem or of how others are thinking in order to tangibly help. At these times, it's useful to discover that God's nature is wholly good and that He has charge over everyone. In fact, no one can be beyond His care.
The Bible is a great resource for finding answers to every kind of problem. We can learn how others handled difficult situations and came out on top. Their examples give us new ways to deal with challenges.
In the book of Proverbs, I find this counsel to be very helpful: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6).
My friend, Ky, learned that, when she leaned on her limited understanding of the problems, they seemed overwhelming. Instead, she had to penetrate the mask of dysfunction to see things as God sees them. Once she did that, she saw everyone's good qualities, including her own. She recognized that these qualities are from God and identify each of us as God's children. By then, she was home free.
It's easy to trust in God once we see His infinite good and His ability to govern us all. So, Ky could then be at peace and allow God to direct everyone's paths, especially her own.
With that, her whole life changed. In this same way, everyone can lift the curtain of heaviness and live more joyfully and freely, which is exactly where we find Ky today.
Step by step
will those who trust Him find that
"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble."
Mary Baker Eddy
(Founder of Christian Science)