Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.Psalm 42:5 NIV
In the lovely, upside-down world of motherhood, there are countless moments with our littles (and not-so-littles) that ignite fear or worry. In my own mom-journey, ongoing anxiety has often led to a downcast soul.
As women with endless to-do lists, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, sad, or simply heavy. This melancholy can range in severity—from feeling, “blue,” and being unable to pinpoint the exact cause, to feeling the crushing weight of life events like sickness, job loss, strained relationships, loss of a loved one, and more.
When faced with hardships, our sadness may deepen and linger because we often react like Peter when he saw his beloved Jesus walking on the water. In joy, Peter jumped from the fishing boat and walked on water to meet Jesus, but he began to sink as he focused on the surrounding storm instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus (Matthew 14:22-34).
Isn’t this how we feel in the difficulties of life? Like we’re sinking? Oh, how we focus on the storms of life—analyzing each aspect of what is wrong—instead of keeping our gaze fixed on our Savior.
Thankfully, scripture reminds us that God is aware of our burdens—that He knows, and He cares.
All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.Psalm 38:9 NIV
Also, for believers in Christ, the Bible says that our journey of faith is purpose-filled (Romans 8:28), and that God allows hardships to strengthen and sanctify us for service (James 1:2-4). Keeping an eternal perspective helps us to remember that difficulties in this life are temporary (Thank you, Lord!), but God’s faithfulness is forever.
Keeping an eternal perspective helps us to remember that difficulties in this life are temporary, but God’s faithfulness is forever. @lthomaswrites #faith #parenthood #parentsTweet
In my own times of sadness or heaviness—though I’m tempted to stay mired in the sludge of my feelings—God works in this stubborn heart to show me the path of renewed hope, comfort, and joy. In the little trials that drain me, or the big events that rock my world, I’ve learned that the only safe place to run is straight to the heart of Jesus.
When Your Soul is Downcast: 5 Ways to Restore Joy
- Come before God to wait and to pray. In Psalm 40, David modeled this as He sought God’s heart. I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. We can’t underestimate what our Lord will do in these times of waiting. As we draw near to Him, He teaches us more of Himself and we grow to know our Heavenly Father as the Comforter and Counselor who is familiar with all our ways (Psalm 139:3).
- Ask God to reveal any unconfessed sin. Approaching our Creator with an open and repentant heart is vital. As we ask the Holy Spirit to shine light in every corner of our inner being, He will reveal anything not in line with God’s holiness. Impure motives, buried resentments, and traces of unforgiveness—if not confronted with the light of Christ—will eventually overshadow our best attempts to live with joy, and will lead to a heavy spirit.
- Focus on worship, praise, and thanksgiving. When we have troubles, we don’t always feel like praising God—but it’s a crucial part of our restoration. Philippians 4:6-7 provides a comforting, life-giving reminder: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. As we worship—even in our heartaches—we take our gaze off the present storm and lift our eyes to our Creator and Sustainer. In our praise and thanksgiving, God calms our troubled spirits and restores our perspective.
- Saturate your heart and mind in God’s Word. Once again, even if we don’t feel the motivation to open God’s Word, this discipline will be our lifeline and anchor in each storm we face. God’s power provides everything needed to live His calling on our lives (2 Peter 1:3). He heals our brokenness (Psalm 147:3), and He offers peace to still our inner turmoil (John 14:27). Scripture reminds us that God works our circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28), and that fear has no place in our lives because He will uphold and strengthen us (Isaiah 41:10).
- Engage with other believers in Christ. As Christ-followers, we need each other for encouragement, accountability, fellowship, and more. Praying with and for each other is one of the greatest joys of Christian friendship. A Christ-centered companion can help us find focus and perspective in difficulties by pointing us to Jesus (Galatians 6:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ecclesiastes 4:10).
Laying our anxiety at the feet of Jesus will give us a full measure of life-giving hope and perspective. Our Savior is aware of our need and will respond to our cries with compassion, even keeping our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).
In humility and reverence, may our testimony echo the heart of the psalmist:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.Psalm 40:1-3 NIV
When Your Soul is Downcast: 5 Ways to Restore Joy @lthomaswrites #hope #parenthoodTweet