Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fighting the Downward Spiral

For caregivers, emotions can run on edge. Oh, eventually we adjust to the hectic life and can hold it together through all the basic stuff. We really don't have much of a choice so we get used to aides not showing up, not getting enough supplies, and advocating for our loved one on a daily basis. The daily chores become routine as do all the things we have to get done to care for another person. For some of us that basically means you do everything twice because they need total care. We adjust, figure out we are still alive, and we even learn to laugh again. And then something happens.

We get used to the craziness and then a vehicle breaks down, the hot water heater malfunctions or we get sick. It really doesn't take too much because we run on overload. For me personally it can mean the emotions go toward that downward spiral. Even though there are some strategies that I've learned to use to help prevent me from bottoming out - it is a difficult fight and each step "back up" takes every bit of energy that can be mustered.

In times like these I think of David and of one scripture in particular: David encouraged himself in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6) And like the caregiver, he had to -- no one else was around! David had been anointed king but had instead faced a multitude of troubles. He had a lot on his plate at this time since his own had rejected him, he was running from Saul, had joined in with "the enemy" (Philistines), and they didn't trust him to fight with them. THEN the Amalekites came in and tore up Ziklag and took all the women and children. David was just a little bit upset. Like the overloaded caregiver, he already had enough on his plate. But he stopped the downward spiral and encouraged himself in the Lord. 

If my sources are correct, David wrote Psalm 16 while facing the struggle at Ziklag. He starts out with a prayer for God to preserve him  and then declares that he will trust the Lord. I'd say that's a great place to start each day. He says things like:

You are my portion
I will bless the Lord
I have set the Lord always before me
I will not be moved (because He is at my right hand)

It sounds to me like David knew how to reach down, up or around and find his source and supply in God. I think two things that stick out to me today as I fight the strong pull of the downward spiral are in verses 9 and 10. In verse 9 David says My flesh will rest in hope.  I really like that! And in the next verse he says You will not leave my soul in Sheol. I'm going to take that to mean for me that God will not leave my soul in turmoil and anguish. To encourage himself, David looked toward God first and then reminded himself of the role God played in his life. Verses 7-8 line that out pretty well. Here David says:

I will bless the Lord
I will set Him before me
I will not be moved

Then in verse 9 he says therefore my heart is glad and my  glory rejoices - and  I will rest in hope.

Today I will meditate on who God is to me and I will rest in hope. I will set my mind on the truth that He is with me and He has not and will not abandon my soul (mind, will, emotions). I will try to see myself in His hand; in His heart today. I will also be reading this psalm over and over today. Will you join me?

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