8 ways to overcome when you're feeling lost
Recently, I received a message from a girl who I met at one of my shows in Nashville. She told me that she's inspired by how I've been able to make my way out of the darkness, but she felt stuck and lost in her own darkness. She wants to have a good relationship with God, and prays every night, but she just can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I totally understand feeling completely lost, discouraged, and even numb. I've been there many times, so I can speak from experience on how to find your way out.
Without further ado, here are my 8 tips for when you're feeling lost:
♥ Faith is based on Truth, not on your feelings
The good news is that the Truth is the Truth - no matter how you're feeling! Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) - so that means that His promises don't change based on how good or bad you're feeling in a certain moment. There are times that we feel very on fire for the Lord and there are other times that it takes a little more (or a lot more) effort to "feel" His presence. I want to assure you that He is with you, no matter how you feel :) Isn't that great news?
Remember, "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it" (John 1:5).
♥ Put on the armor of Christ
Read Ephesians 6:10-18. You'll see that as Christians, we have a very real enemy and a very real war going on around us. Not in the physical, but in the spiritual. Our enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy. But more than that we have a victorious God who seeks to protect us, fight for us, and mold us into overcomers. Each morning, put on the full armor of God from head to toe. Before you get dressed, ask God to clothe you with each piece of His heavenly armor. When we step out into the battlefield unarmored, we are vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. If we aren't protected with the armor of God, then we are susceptible to the lies that create fear and anxiety. Ask God to cover you with His armor, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, sandals of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit. Now you can handle anything that comes in your path because you're armored up! Wahoo!
♥ Read the bible
I've heard people say that praying for direction without opening the bible is like trying to make a call without a phone! It's so simple and obvious, but sometimes we neglect to. Open the bible and read it daily, even if it's just a chapter or a couple verses. My boyfriend and I like to read one Proverb each day, there are 31, so it works well with the days of the month ;) You can also join a bible study program, there are tons of books and apps out there. I love She Reads Truth.
♥ Join a Bible based church
If there's one thing from this list that you should do first, it's this! Please find a church community to plug into in your area. "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). Being around other believers will give you a supportive community, a place to serve, and guidance. It's important to find a church that is based on biblical teachings, and that challenges you. If the pastor seems to just be giving motivational, "feel good" messages, then you might want to look elsewhere. Your church should be a place where you leave convicted, challenged, and even offended at times. I know, it sounds crazy! But, if you truly want a great relationship with God, then you're going to want to know about all of His teachings, not just the warm fuzzy ones. If a church is watering down the gospel just to sound more fun and motivational, then they are doing a great disservice. You should feel both inspired and challenged.
♥ Obedience increases our authority
I grew up in the Greek Orthodox and Catholic church, and was pretty much taught that if you're a good person then you're good to go. In all honesty, Jesus doesn't actually have much to do with this, because it's all about you being good. The more good deeds you did, the more good works, the friendlier, the more humble, the more pure, the better. It makes a lot of sense why "Catholic guilt" is such a common statement. I always considered nuns, priests and anyone working in the church to be holier than me because they were more pure and innocent. In college, I majored in Catholic theology, and read a ton of theology books. But you know what's crazy? In all of my classes, we never opened up the bible! As a theology major, I was completely clueless when it came to the bible. At the time, I didn't think there was anything weird about that because we were always taught that all we needed to do was become more loving because God is love. This sounds really really nice and pretty, very inclusive. I loved it.
And then I opened the bible and my world turned upside down. It is so clearly stated in the bible that our good works are like filthy rags in God's eyes (Isaiah 64:6). If we live trying and striving to be a good person then we're essentially saying that it's all about us, it's up to us to be strong and good. But, we aren't called to lift ourselves up, we're actually called to lift Jesus up. Our lives aren't actually about us at all, it's all about Jesus. So when we make it about our good works and our goodness / friendliness / purity / etc... then what does it have to do with Jesus? When it becomes about our good works, then Jesus is just like a mascot, not the King.
Why am I going into so much depth in this? To show you where being a "good person" comes into play. Your identity as God's child is not attached to your good works! Thank God! You literally couldn't do anything to make God love you more or less -- His love is for you cannot be removed. When I learned this, I truly relaxed for the first time in my life. I could take a deep breath and be at peace for the first time because I realized that no matter what, I am loved beyond measure. And then something funny happened...my external life began to show evidence of this love. Just like when you start eating healthy foods, the glow in your skin comes from the inside out. Instead of me trying to be a "good girl" from the outside in, or trying to push down my natural tendencies and desires to do things that "I shouldn't be doing," my heart, mind, mouth, and soul became cleansed from the inside out. I naturally became fearless, genuinely kind (not just trying to keep it together for the public and then being short with my loved ones), and I didn't feel as controlled by external temptations.
This was an amazing time. I felt so on fire for God! I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about if you've had a similar experience. Being saved doesn't mean that you never have any temptations or don't have sinful tendencies, far from it. When we really understand the gift of salvation, we naturally will feel called to obedience. When we're loved and in love, we want to become better and understand how to love the object of our affection - it doesn't take effort, it's exciting and fun - it becomes the greatest desire of your heart to be well-pleasing. It's kind of like that with God, when we understand how loved we are, we naturally will want to read the bible and see how it is that He has asked us to love Him back -- by becoming obedient to His teachings.
So, you can start by asking God to open any doors that He wants to open and close any doors in your life that are not leading you closer to Him. Take an honest look at your life and see the areas in which you aren't reflecting His design - some may be very obvious and others may be more subtle. This doesn't always happen over night, you'll see how God unravels you gently, piece by piece, until you reflect Him with your life. Obedience increases your authority! As believers, we have complete authority over our enemy - we do not need to be afraid. We are no longer slaves to fear - we have authority...
♥ Be fearless in your authority!
In Luke 10:19, we see that Jesus has given us authority over the enemy! That means that we can be fearless over the lies of the enemy. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you."
Just so you know, if your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the world don't line up with Biblical truth, then that's how you know it's a lie of the enemy. God will never call you "not enough." He will never tell you that He's not for you. He will never be distant from you, even if you believe that's true. You're never alone! Here is the evidence: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
♥ Pray out loud
Don't be afraid to pray out loud. If this is weird for you, try doing it in the security of your car when you're driving to work or to do errands. Be honest with God, tell Him how you're feeling - ask Him to intervene and make Himself known to you. Ask Him for direction...and expect an answer! If you're not getting an answer, open your bible and let Him guide you with scripture. :)
My roommate and I love to go on prayer walks. We walk around our neighborhood and pray out loud, proclaiming truth and speaking life over one another, our loved ones and the world. Each time, without fail, the atmosphere shifts! The air becomes lighter and the world looks brighter. In Matthew 18:20, we are told that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there! So join forces with a friend or loved one who loves Jesus and watch the atmosphere change!
♥ Singing is praying twice ;)
You probably won't hear this advice everywhere, but this is my personal tip! :) Sing, even when you don't feel like singing, sing :) Worship Him with your voice, even if it's just in the shower or in the car. We were created to worship Him, it's amazing what it does for our souls. Worship in the weight of your situation - shackles on or shackles off. No matter what - you can worship because, ultimately, as a believer, you are saved, you are eternally spoken for, you are as free as can be - for eternity. Our lives here are really just a blink in the eye in comparison to eternity. We can put up with the pain in this life because we have the promise of salvation and eternity with our Lord and Savior...that is the best. news. ever.
So there you have it! I hope that these tips have served you. I would love to hear if you have any additional tips - please let me know in the comments! :)