How to Live by Faith (on the hard days)

I absolutely hate romantic comedies. Actually, I hate any kind of movie or show that tries to get me to feel something. 

People who don’t know me very well assume it’s because of my appearance of confidence and unshakeable resolve that I find these pieces of emotional media annoying because of how emotional  they are. 

That’s almost true. The real reason is that I am such a sensitive and emotional person in the real world, I don’t need more things to feel about in a fictitious world. I have enough to obsess over, thankyouverymuch! My feelings are overwhelming as is; I don’t need more things and people and situations to feel about. 

As I write this, I think I’m going through the next stage of that low-grade depression I mentioned a few weeks ago. This stage is more of the quintessential depression: abject apathy. I just really don’t feel like doing anything, least of all write this post, hah. I don’t even want to watch a particular show or eat anything special. I kinda just want to sleep, maybe play some Sudoku. And that’s….kinda it. 

I don’t share this to garner sympathy: I share it to say it’s rough out here. And in times like these, it’s hard for me to envision let alone live that abundant live that Jesus seemed so keen on for us (John 10). How am I supposed to stay connected with Him when I just feel so…blah?

This is not going to be a theological post — instead, it’s just a list of things that I find practical and helpful in getting through these kinds of days. If you look hard enough, I’m sure each of these items have already been mentioned in my blog somewhere; but they bear repeating. Especially on days like today. 

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Recognize that this won’t last forever

When the dark days drag on, it’s easy to forget happier days, happier times, better moods, and just generally feeling better. But there have been days like that, and those days will come again. Don’t allow the darkness of the present to make you forget that glorious light does exist.

Be intentional about where you put your mind

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:2

So we do not lose heart…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16, 18

On these days it seems impossible, but we do have some control over where we put our minds. On days like today, I think, “If I felt 100% great, how would I spend my time? How would I approach this day?” And then I seek to do that by faith. Do I succeed 100% of the time? Hah, for sure not. But It puts me on the right path, going the right direction, and I end up accomplishing and enjoying more than if I let my mood set the direction for the day. 

Do things that actually make you feel better

It doesn’t have to be productive, but it does have to boost your mood. And I don’t mean in that very temporary fleeting way. I mean something that actually helps. 

For example, on days like today, I feel like I want to mindlessly scroll. But I know (from hours and days and weeks of experience!) that scrolling on days like today only bums me out more and makes the darkness thicker. So I log out of everything, clear it from all of my history (so it’s harder to access), and focus on other things. 

Things that make me feel better are writing two articles instead of one today. Productivity boosts my mood so much. Another things that makes me feel better is working on coding exercises, so once I’m done writing for today, that’s what I’ll do. I also might take a nap. They really help. I’ll also exercise, because endorphins are life. I’ll also ask my husband for all the hugs today because they have a healing power, I tell you. 

Through lots of experience of days like today, I’ve found what helps and what doesn’t. So by faith, I will choose to do the things that are medicine to my soul and choose to avoid that which only harms me. It takes intentionality and a very large portion of help from the Holy Spirit; but my, does it do wonders. 

Do something for someone else

I don’t have to understand the science of this to know that it works. I know we can’t get out too much right now, but what about doing someone else’s chore today? Or writing a letter of gratitude to someone. Or giving meaningful compliments, hoping for nothing in return. There’s always a way to give. It is better to give than to receive (Acts 10:35), and it brings so many blessings in its train. 

Ask God for help incessantly

I try to make days like today be the most prayerful instead of the least (which is my natural tendency). Lord, please help me focus. Lord, please help me to see the point. Lord, please help me to keep trying. Lord, please help me to live beyond my feelings. Lord, please give me the energy and creativity to write. Lord, please help me to glorify You today. Show me how. 

Give yourself grace

Today will likely not be your most productive or your best. You might only be able to accomplish eating and getting out of bed for a bit. That’s okay. Jesus does not censure human weakness; He gets it (Matthew 26:41). So do what you can with the day, and then leave it at that. No guilt. No censure. Allow yourself to sleep well tonight and try again tomorrow. Jesus gives us enough grace for each day — even to cover the difficulties of the hardest days. Walk in His all-sufficient grace. 

Writing this helped some. Preaching to myself over here. I pray that you, dear reader, and I will truly live by faith today; not faith in ourselves, but faith in the Christ who gave His life for us and can carry us through even on the hard days.