A (Potential) Way To Stabilize Yourself During The Bad Days

photo-1427694012323-fb5e8b0c165bOver the past few weeks I’ve been working on my self-talk, trying to be more positive about work in particular: that forty-plus-hour block of time that I somehow have to deal with, one way or another.

Every day I have a few choices, and I’ve always been told that this is a binary thing: I can expect the good, or expect the bad.

I may have found a third choice that works. We shall see. It’s still in the experimental phase, and I might drop it if it doesn’t work. This choice goes like this:

It’s going to be a good day, whether it is or not.

I tell myself this strange little phrase several times in the morning and often throughout the day, depending on how hard the day actually is. I don’t know why this helps, but it seems to help keep me neutral during the day: bad stuff will come, good stuff will come, whatever, but it’s still a good day.

This approach takes the good and the bad into account. I’m going to get easy calls, I’m going to get terrible ones, but I don’t have to let outside circumstances destabilize me–at least not at work.

I wouldn’t say I’m a happier person because of this, but happiness is not the goal. Stability, evenness, and a sense of well-being, that’s more important than happiness to me.

Try it out and see what you think. If you’re having problems keeping stable, this might trick your mind into being able to deal with things a little easier. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if it worked for you. Thanks.


something’s wrong

[looks around] Why do I feel bad? What’s wrong with me?

something’s wrong – something’s wrong – something’s wrong

Ugh, what is this?

all your failures – all your failures – all your failures in sequential order


failures – failures – failures

Wait. [checks pockets]

doom – doom – it’s over – this is the end

Crap, I forgot to take my meds.

failure – doom – something’s wrong – something’s wr… [silence]

That’s a little better.

Life In The Midlife

It was a dark and stormy life.
It was a dark and stormy life.

As stated in the previous post, I’ve been working through a midlife crisis. I’m approaching 40 and longing for work that’s significant instead of just money-making.

It’s a really challenging time because I’m seeking advice from books and from a life coach. I have to do something different with my life–but I feel a little powerless at times. In order to do anything different in my career, I would either need to go back to college or trade school, and both ideas are something I am having a hard time dealing with.

I need to learn something else. I need different skills to not only pay the bills, but a different life situation where I am using the talents God has given me in a role that feels significant.

The reason I haven’t written much on this is that this season is also one of an identity crisis. When a book asks me to ask myself, ‘Who am I?’ and I don’t have a ready answer, that’s when things get painful. I’ve come up with a million Twitter bios over the years, listing whatever I’m into right now: learning Japanese, lover of progressive rock, World of Warcraft player, a lot of things. I can easily tell you what I do, and what I like, but I can’t tell you who I am.

Here are a few other questions that the book I’m reading, Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation, asks:

  • What on earth is God doing?
  • Who are you?
  • What is your stage of life?
  • What are your circumstances?
  • What is the cross you will have to bear?
  • What are you afraid of?

Some of these I don’t have very positive answers for, or don’t have any answer. I have a life coach also asking me a lot of questions, and it’s easy to get discouraged during this process of internal probing and intense prayer asking God to make things clear.

I’m sure that good will come out of this time soon, but it’s been painful.

Reaching The Other Side of Pain With Music

Today’s song is the ever-so-smooth Gospel track, I Want My Destiny by Fred Hammond, off of one of his greatest albums, Purpose By Design.

The other day someone I follow on Twitter mentioned that music is like a drug. He dismissed it as it was like any other psychiatric medication. I disagree that it’s ‘just a drug’–but maybe that’s because I’m a ‘user’.

For many years, silence was painful for me. Without something in my ears, I was terrified that ‘demons’ would overtake my mind, and the pressure cooker would explode. Music was often a comfort, especially when I was in private and could cry as much as I needed to. There are so many comforting albums that I relied on during the hard times that it’d be hard to list them all here. The aforementioned Fred Hammond album is one–most of the songs speak directly to things I faced, and sometimes still face, in my life: the desire to see my destiny fulfilled, to have a clean, unencumbered heart–all of it.

For a while I couldn’t come back to the music that helped me get through the pain. Some music I was listening to during profound times of deception, such as during my ‘Messianic Jewish/Torah Movement’ or ‘Drunken Glory’ kicks, I would never return to–but the albums that helped me through the generally hopeless and heartbroken times, when I come back to them, sometimes they don’t hurt any more. That’s how I know I’ve grown up a bit–that God has worked in my life to heal the hurts. I’m still a work in progress–it’s an everyday thing, believe me!–but I am thankful to God that he hasn’t given up on me–and indeed, has promised never to, Phil. 1:4-6:

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

unsplash-kitsune-4If you’re someone for whom music plays a fundamental part, and you’ve gone through a long time of healing, you might occasionally test your progress by trying some of the older music that you listened to while you were healing. If it brings back old hurts, then there’s no shame! You’re still a work in progress and it’s totally OK. If the hurt has dissipated, mark that down–God has healed you, and you’ve made progress.

Think of this as if you’ve broken your leg and someone prayed for it to be healed. Most folks praying for you will ask you to test it out. With mental and emotional healing, it’s invisible and there’s nothing to test. Results may occur right away, but you won’t know for weeks or months exactly what the impact was. Music is a quick test for that. Does it still hurt? That’s OK, just rejoice that God’s helped you make progress elsewhere and then come back to it later. You’re on your way.

When My World Is Collapsing and I Need You To Help Me

It’s vital to have friends and family around you who understand you when you’re going through hard times.

I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have a wife who, when I tell her to pray for me because ‘everything hurts’, she does.

She doesn’t pepper me with questions when I say that I’m hurting. I’ll usually tell her if I’m depressed, anxious, or completely eaten up inside–where my emotions are so totally raw I can’t sort up from down. The really, really bad days happen less than before, but they still happen.

Luke 22:31-32 came to mind for some reason while I was typing this.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

I haven’t outright betrayed Jesus today, to my knowledge, but I think that’s interesting where Jesus tells Peter, when (not if) he turns back, to strengthen his brothers.

Maybe that ‘when’ applies to me, too.

Maybe I’ll be able to strengthen my brothers and sisters in Christ, who also struggle with anxiety and depression like I do.


Something Helpful

I have been deeply discouraged all week, so I don’t have anything for you. But this guy does.

Don’t Call Me Broken

I’ve read through that post several times and it’s helped me.

How To Succeed In Life When Your Grasp On Reality Is Tenuous

Today’s song is Anything Is Possible by Anointed, a ‘blast from the past’ (1999)–or maybe not, if you abhor late-90’s radio-friendly gospel/CCM. This song helped me, maybe it will help you too.

Disclaimer: This post talks about mental health. I am not a medical doctor or a psychiatrist. Do not take any of this as medical advice. If you are severely depressed, have severe anxiety, or any of the other conditions I am describing, get medical help, or schedule a doctor’s appointment with a reliable local psychologist or psychiatrist. Do it today. 

Probably you know this already, but I am still recovering from a nervous breakdown I had several years ago. The ups and downs I talk about on this blog come as I am still trying to sort through what is reality and what is not.  Continue reading “How To Succeed In Life When Your Grasp On Reality Is Tenuous”