Encouragement for the gloomy seasons of life
By: Lekeisha Maldon
I couldn't wait. This trip was long overdue. Stressful work days, a full calendar, and a tired spirit left me feeling depleted. It was time to get away. The drive to the airport was gloomy. The clouds were making their presence known not only through the weather but my countenance. For weeks, I had been feeling low, unable to shake off the sense of gloom that followed me everywhere. My thoughts were muddled, and I struggled to concentrate. Have you ever experienced this? I made my way through the security checkpoint. Grabbed some breakfast and waited to board my flight. Finally, it was time.
I stored my bag in the overhead bin, made myself comfortable, and prepared for takeoff. After the usual safety announcements from the flight attendants, we were ready to go. As the plane ascended through the air, I took a deep breath and gazed out the window. Within a few moments, the plane made its way through the thick clouds. As I continued looking out the window, several thousand feet above the ground, I gradually began to see a glimmer of light. There above the clouds was the bright shining sun. At that moment, I realized that this was more than just a trip to recharge; it was the shift I needed to change my perspective. To learn how to see beyond the clouds. If you ever find yourself in a similar season, here are a few things that helped me, and I pray it will help you too.
B- Be honest about what you're experiencing. The one thing that helps me in the "cloudy"
seasons of life is acknowledging how I am feeling. Life be lifeing. We are learning how to
rebuild after dealing with the impact of a global pandemic. News feeds are overwhelming with headlines that break my heart. Our calendars feel like there is no room to breathe. Family concerns trouble us. The list could go on. Moving beyond the clouds is to be honest about how we are feeling with ourselves and with God. Denial may be a temporary safeguard, but it doesn't help us. "Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8
E- Expect God to guide you. We're not meant to walk through tough seasons alone. Depending on our strength or logic to figure things out can lead to more frustration. Just as I trusted the pilot to guide the plane to its destination despite the cloudy forecast, we must expect God to guide us in the ebbs and flows of life. In Psalm 32:8, God promises that He "will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." And this is even in those times when we can't see our way through. He is faithful to His promise, an nothing can change that. Nothing.
Y- Yield to the moment. To yield means to give up, relinquish or surrender to. As someone who often craves control, the thought of that is daunting. But it is also necessary. Keeping a tight grip on our circumstances hinders progress and robs us of our peace. Storms are inevitable. But they are not permanent. Because they can sometimes be shaky, takeoff and landing are usually my least favorite part of the flights, especially in cloudy or stormy weather. The turbulence is unnerving and something I can't control. Yet I must surrender at that moment, recognizing that the pilot is skilled at getting us through. How can yielding help you at this moment?
O- Open your heart to receive the goodness and comfort of God. I tend to shut down when I am going through a tough time. I'm naturally introverted, so it's easier to deal with things (or at least try to) on my own and close everyone out, including sometimes God. However, in doing so, I miss out on the lavish love of the Father, who can provide me the encouragement my soul so desperately needs.
N- Navigate the season with peace. Isaiah 26:3 promises that "He will keep in perfect peace
the mind that is stayed on Him." Focusing on the clouds of our life causes undue stress, anxiety, and worry that distract us from focusing on the gift of peace. The enemy would have no greater joy but to try to barrage our thoughts with what isn't right instead of the many blessings that have been given to us by God and what He will continue to give. The peace covers and carries us through. Consider what would happen if the pilot focused more on the clouds than the destination they were headed.
D- Declare and dare to hope again. When it seems like a cloud is hanging over you, it can be
hard to believe that things will change. Despair and hopelessness can set in. But I encourage
you to DECLARE and DARE that you will hope again! Remember, seasons are just that. A
fixed time. They will change. When I can't say. But we can hold on to our hope- the anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:18) As the psalmist declares, "I would have lost heart unless I had
believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living." Psalms 27:13 NKJV
Just as the SUN is always shining even when it's cloudy, the SON (Jesus) is always there
through the clouds of our lives.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
He will never leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He is unchanging. (Malachi 3:6)
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
Choose today to move B.E.Y.O.N.D the clouds.
A quick note: Sometimes, the clouds in life require that we seek extra assistance. Mental health challenges such as depression are real. So please know that professional counseling and support groups are tools to help you move beyond a tough season.
About the Author:
Lekeisha Maldon is an author, speaker and biblical counselor. Her mission is to inspire women to live transformed lives through the transforming power of Christ. She is grateful for God's redeeming grace and desires that all experience what it truly means to have an authentic relationship with her Savior. To learn more about her and her ministry visit www.walkthenarrowway.com or follow her on Instagram @lekeishamaldon.