What to Do When You are Paralyzed by Your Problems

(Note: I wrote this post in 2017 and never published it. Maybe too personal at the time? But perhaps it could encourage someone reading now, so I decided to publish it.)

It was night and you know problems loom larger at night. But this wasn’t just any problem. It was an ongoing, keep-you-up-at-night, “I don’t know if I have any fight left in me problem”, met suddenly with a Mt. Everest kind of problem on top. It was the kind that literally hurts your heart, creates a physical, aching pit in your stomach. It was a paralyzing problem.

My husband and I just sat in darkness, both of us crying, neither of us with enough resolve to so much as speak or encourage each other.

Have you ever wanted to just quit?

Women, especially, who are deeply sensitive and struggle not to be led by their emotions, face an intense struggle with the trials of life. They cannot separate the pain from the rest of their duties and often find it nearly impossible to carry out the day.

I’ve lived long enough to know that more people than not are facing these kinds of crippling problems, often alone with no one to share the burden, and not really knowing what to do.

And I know one reason God allows His children to suffer: so they can be a comfort to others who suffer in their time. So I wanted to share with you what the Lord is teaching me through probably the most difficult season of my life:

What to Do

  • Insist on dwelling on the truth, not emotions. The VERY best place to go to help get your frame of mind centered on the truth is the book of Job. Here is a man who has not only suffered well, but has left a legacy and comfort for the rest of us. He kept his integrity in tact and did not sin under the weight of his enormous trial.

 

  • Verbally give thanks. There have been times where my heart hurt so deeply I couldn’t utter a prayer. And I remember feeling urged in my spirit, during one of those times, to “give thanks in everything.” So I forced it. Through streaming tears and cracking voice, I made my lips utter, “Thank you.” It changed me somehow though it’s difficult to describe.

 

  • Share with others who are safe. I share too much and with too many people. It is a great fault of transparency. But some fault the other way and carry burdens alone and we were never meant to do that. Find someone with who you can share your burden.

 

  • Remember what you’ve learned from heroes of the faith. Remember Joseph’s story? Can you imagine being in his shoes? We have the benefit of seeing God’s glorious plan unfold in his life through his difficult trials. But he didn’t. Yet, he didn’t become a victim. He trusted God and kept moving forward in obedience. Let’s trust that same God to be working all things in our lives for His glory and our good.

 

  • Then here’s the biggie: Do what you know to do that is front of you. It really is profound.

Thomas Carlyle said it best:

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

It’s just doing the next thing. Eating the elephant one bite at a time. Refusing to be dismayed by the large, looming thing, and just plugging away where we are.

The Lord walks with us, even when we feel alone. Our faith and obedience will be what gets us through the most trying of circumstances.

2 Responses to “What to Do When You are Paralyzed by Your Problems”

  1. 6 arrows says:

    I got a huge dose of perspective last month, if I may share, hoping that it doesn’t minimize anyone’s very real and painful suffering.

    I will skip most of the details, but my best friend was diagnosed with cancer in early May and given an estimated 6-12 months to live.

    By early June, after unsuccessful chemo, that estimate was changed to 2-4 weeks.

    She passed 14 days later, just hours before you published this post.

    What I have learned from Karen: many of the things you wrote here, Kelly.

    Dwell on truth. If you’re believing lies, replace those thoughts with the truth of God.

    Praise God in everything. He never stops loving us. His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23, probably the passage of Scripture that was her favorite.)

    Keep talking. Don’t bottle up your emotions. Let your loved ones know. Let God know.

    My problems seem very small now. They are all temporary. Heaven is our home, by the grace of God.

    In her last email to family and friends, Karen wrote, among other things:

    Our world is rapidly changing. Our greatest problem is universal. We were born in sin. Our Creator has given us the solution: Jesus Christ, True God and True man died on the cross and was resurrected to restore our relationship with the one True God.

    I am a day’s march nearer home. May you also recognize that our Heavenly Father will bring us HOME in His timing. …

    But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57

    “The Lord walks with us, even when we feel alone.” Indeed He does. He never leaves nor forsakes us.

    What a blessed truth and comfort.

  2. Oh how very sorry I am for this! I will pray God’s peace and comfort for your heart. But what a beautiful message your friend left, and how true it is.

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