I’m sure we’ve all pretty much either seen a meme, read a caption, or heard the quote:
“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.”
From this saying, I’ve adopted another short phrase that I tell myself whenever things start to get hard.
Don’t let the water in the boat.
I fully believe each of us are a vessel created to carry out a divine purpose. Sometimes, regardless of how purpose driven we intend to be, things are just flat out hard. There are so many aspects of life that can be overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, bothersome, or any combination of the four.
In those trying moments, it is important to remember a few things. The first being that trouble doesn’t last always. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are seasons for everything. The seasons in your life might change from year to year, month to month, or even from moment to moment. In the difficult seasons, it is crucial to remind yourself that this season is exactly that – a season. Something better is brewing; a change of season is inevitable.
Furthermore, you cannot always control what happens in your life, but you do have the power to control how you respond. Take the situation you’re in now and really consider if the way you’re responding to it is contributing to your life in a positive way or in a negative way. If your response is making you feel worse about the situation, it might be time to reevaluate what you could do differently. There are always going to be things that throw us off of our game, it’s the way of the world. We can (and will) drive ourselves crazy if we try to control every thing that happens. However, if we make a conscious decision to do our best to approach life in a way that allows us to be at peace regardless of the situation, we will be for the better.
Helen Keller said if you keep your face to the sunlight, you cannot see the shadows. It is not that the shadows do not exist, but rather that you choose to focus on the light. You will always get what you focus on.
If you are in a negative space, here are four things I do to help shift my mood:
- Exercise. I know you’ve probably heard it 100 times, but exercising releases endorphins in the brain that serve as a natural mood enhancement. These endorphins are said to have effects similar to that of morphine, and you can feel this effect start to take place within 10 minutes.
- Change the space you’re in. Literally get a change of scenery. Go outside, go inside, go to the store, go for a drive, do whatever you need to do to change your physical space. Again, even if you only have a few minutes to break away, do it. Don’t quote me on any research data, but based on my own observations, it is much easier to renew your mindset after you’ve been physically refreshed. Try it.
- Find a release. What positive activity can you engage in to allow yourself to separate from the negativity that is trying to seep in to your life? Write, draw, sing, read, dance, find someone to laugh with, help someone in need, do anything that will encourage you to focus on goodness.
- Pray. Praying reminds me that I was never in control to begin with. In my hardest moments, I know that I can lay it all out for God, and He will handle it. An old friend once told me that praying is like putting all of the things that are on your mind into a backpack and then handing the backpack over to Jesus. Much like you would feel lighter without a heavy backpack dragging you down, you will feel lighter without all of the burdens you are trying to carry on your own.
Water has the power to both cleanse and destroy; you have the power to choose which role it will have in your life.
When things get hard, remember to keep your face to the sunlight and most importantly,
don’t let the water in the boat.