Fear, sadness, grief and despair are feelings that seem to be more and prevalent all the time. We have faced a difficult, challenging year and people are struggling.
My heart is aching. My soul is searching for words to comfort those in that pit of fear, sadness and grief. The pit where the light is shut out and the darkness feels so overwhelming.
I have slipped into that dark pit from time to time. Anyone can.
Anyone can fall prey to the schemes Satan uses to make us doubt God’s goodness. The darkness can seem so overwhelming and suffocating. The light is hidden and you begin to question if it’s even still there.
What do you do when you are in this pit of despair? When hope and light seem too far to grasp – what do you hold on to? How do you pull yourself up out of the darkness and back into the light?
I am so thankful that we do not have to rely on our own strength to pull ourselves out, back into the light.
5 Ways Out of the Dark and Into the Light
Can I share with you 5 ways God has gently and kindly taught me how to get out of this place of darkness and back into the light? Can I share how my joy has been renewed time and time again?
Please know, this may not replace counseling or other measures needed for the clinically depressed or those dealing with immense grief that requires extended time to heal. I am merely sharing with you how God has continued to restore my joy and hope when I find myself in a dark place.
1. Send a Prayer SOS
When drowning, no one expects you to rescue yourself. A line with a life preserver is thrown out to you. You grab onto it and hold tight as someone else pulls you in.
Another life-preserver, called prayer – is powerful, effective and essential when in that pit of despair. Asking someone to pray for you is like grabbing onto that raft.
I can pray for myself, but when the sadness creeps in or the despair and hopeless feelings settle upon me, sometimes prayer is hard. Sometimes words are difficult to come up with.
It is in these times I send an SOS to three friends. When any one of us is in this dark place or have any struggle big or small, we send out a quick text and can know for certain we are prayed up. We are confidentially and powerfully lifted up before our Father in Heaven.
Within minutes of knowing my friends are praying for me, I feel God’s peace come over me. He strengthens me. I am reminded over and over again of the power prayer has in overcoming the darkness.
If you don’t have a trusted friend to pray for you, can you please reach out to me? I would be privileged to be your life-preserver.
During the dark times, worshipping God might seem hard. Remember, Satan is working overtime to make you doubt God’s goodness. He is going to do all he can to keep you from doing this important act that will shift your focus from your struggle and onto the One that will hold you through your pain and grief and lift you to the light.
Worship defined is this: True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things. (More on that here from Desiring God).
When we put God in His proper place and we remember who He is, our focus shifts from our problems and difficulties back to our Sovereign, Mighty King.
Often when we think of worship, we think of singing and music. While this isn’t the only way, it is a powerful form of worship.
I have a few songs that really help remind me of God’s goodness and faithfulness when I begin to slip into that place of despair.
Here is a Spotify playlist that I pray would be helpful to you in your worship.
The songs I’ve chosen are ones that help me remember God’s goodness and faithfulness. He has carried me before and He will continue to do so. He will do the same for you.
(Spotify is a free app that allows you to choose songs and playlists. You can sign up for a free account. The free version has advertisements. There is also a paid version if you prefer no ads.)
3. Meditate on the Promises of God
God’s Word is powerful. His truth casts out the lies that pervade our thoughts.
I’ve highlighted many of God’s promises in my Bible. When the darkness creeps in, I can flip open my Bible and His promises wash over me. His goodness is revealed. The lies that tend to creep in are cast out, and the light begins to shine again.
I had a friend share with me that she highlights God’s promises in pink. I thought that was a great visual so I have begun doing that too.
Here are a few promises to get you started, but there are many, many more:
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 22:3
“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Psalm 51:4
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Take some time to go find these in your Bible. Highlight or underline them. There are so many more. You can go back with an easy flip of your Bible pages to remind you of who He is and what He promises to do in His good and perfect timing.
4. Diligent Study of God's Word
Not only does meditating on the promises of God help draw us out of the darkness, but the actual in-depth study and application of His Word allows more and more light to penetrate into our lives.
“Exposure without application is self-deception.” Chip Ingram
A quick read over a passage does little to help dispel the darkness. However, when we truly dig into the living, Holy scriptures and learn how to apply them to our life, true change and mindset shifts happen.
This can be a daunting task if you are new or unfamiliar to the Bible. I am planning to help those that need instruction on how to study and apply God’s Word. I will be offering this as we head into the New Year, so stay tuned to that.
In the meantime, if you are not currently in a Bible study or know how to begin to study the Bible on your own, please download and use these printable Bible Study and Prayer Journaling pages. Find a friend and discuss what you learn. Accountability is a huge part of getting into a consistent habit of Bible Study.
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” Psalm 119:24
Movement is medicine. Exercise has been shown to treat mild to moderate depression and anxiety as effectively as antidepressant medication, but without the negative side effects.
Exercise releases endorphins – the feel good hormones. A good goal to experience the benefits of this powerful depression fighter is 30-minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. It can be broken up into 2 sessions of 15 minutes or even 3 sessions of 10 minutes. (source)
Exercise fuels me and propels me to accomplish more than I would have if I had not found time for it. Whenever I think I just don’t have time for it, I am reminded that I don’t have time to not do it. I need to make it a priority.
It’s when I exercise that I am able to think, pray and process my thoughts. It is when I come up with ideas, work through problems and sort out conversations. It relieves tension, stress and energizes me for projects that I don’t want to do. It truly is the medicine my body needs.
You Don't Have to Stay in the Dark.
I pray that if you find yourself in a dark place, you will be comforted and healed by these important, life-saving actions – and ultimately by the One who offers Hope and Light.
He offers hope when our hearts have hopelessly lost our way.
He gives the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for.
(lyrics from Wonderful Merciful Savior – by Selah)
Perhaps you know someone struggling right now, please take the time to share this post with them.
May the Lord renew your JOY.