Finding Joy in Adversity
Our tools and tips come directly from our podcast episodes. To fully understand the context of our tools & tips, please listen to each podcast episode (88. A New You: E50 – Finding Joy in the Journey, 89. A New You: E51 – Finding Joy in the Journey Pt. 2 (Overcoming Anxiety), 90. A New You: E52 – Overcoming to Find Joy (Tools & Tips)). You may consider listening to the episode (87. A New You: E49 - Overcoming Tough Times) which introduces this podcast segment. Lastly, we recommend picking one or two items to start focusing on. Jot down how you want to put these things into practice as well as your progression in them. When you are proactive in taking small steps, before you know it, you would have walked a mile, or two, or three.
1. In the first interview of Finding Joy in the Journey, Sindhu Jefferson, MA, LPC went into great detail about us connecting with God. She talked about our identity and belonging to God. In this position with God, we become anchored and centered in Christ but also His love for us. As she was speaking, my heart lit up. I say this because, over the summer, this was my season. God continually placed me in circumstances where I pursued Him and developed as well as maintained my identity through Him. He allowed my interaction in relationships to bring about my understanding in this area. I am constantly growing with my people-pleasing. I change the course of my direction to make sure that the other person’s needs are met. I may start by going right. However, I see the other person going left and I jump up to start going left. In this moment of trying to please the person, I become clingy. As I do this, I realize that I am trying to find a place or person to which I belong. The people-pleasing and belonging always lead me down the path of more hurt with a big sting of disappointment. Why?! Because God wants to be this for me. He wants me to set my eyes on Him. My decisions and behavior should be about pleasing Him. He also wants me to know that I belong to Him first! God placed me on a journey to discover this essential piece in my walk and relationship with HIM! I am not cured of people-pleasing and wanting to belong. When my fleshy human side returns, I go back to HIM through prayer, meditation, and reading His word. I request His help and strength to maintain my identity and belonging with HIM. Therefore, back to this tip, discover for yourself what hinders you from maintaining your identity and sense of belonging in Christ. This is a self-reflection time. You may need to get to a quiet place, get some coffee, tea, remove distractions, and pray for God’s revelation in your life. In His revelation, you may discover that you too are bottled up with people-pleasing, attempting to belong to things or people that ought not to be having your time. You may discover that your identity has nothing to do with people whatsoever. Instead, it is wrapped up in being perfect or performing.
2. When you do self-reflection work, I always request that you present these items back to the Lord through prayer. You are asking the supernatural to take on what the natural cannot handle on its own. I am requesting that you present these items to God. I also am asking that you discover your grace, love, and trust in the scriptures. This is so important. Replace the inner critical voice with God’s care over your spirit while you continue to grow in Him.
3. Any time you are doing identity, self-worth, and security work, we all know that it requires a little extra strength. Why? Because this work stretches us outside of our comfort zone. Our tools and tips derive from the principles in Philippians. Philippians is small and easy to read with great information. Please refer to chapter four as groundwork for how Christ will overflow out of you. Sindhu noted that Paul was anchored and centered in Christ. His whole identity was wrapped up in Jesus. The natural overflow of his identity birthed joy. He experienced joy while being in prison. Chapter four discusses joy, not being anxious, thanksgiving, setting your mind on good things, peace, and much more. Chapter four represents a blueprint for possessing joy in adversity. I also want to highlight that sometimes; we are not ready for Philippians 4. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and just focus on our faith in Christ. Therefore, if you are not ready for chapter four, it is okay. I request; however, that you spend time building your faith muscles. Honestly, with 2020, this has been a necessity. I began reading John in my times with God. I needed to get back to the basics of Christ and my identity in Him. I will admit, I have been challenged by reading it. I noticed how so many times, I acted like the unbelieving Jews who argued with themselves and questioned Jesus’ authority. You will see chapter after chapter pretty much the same dialogue. However, Jesus did not flint and He held on to what was true. He embraced what His Father told Him. Thus, feel free to go back and build those muscles.
4. While you taking time to connect with God, also come up with a plan to connect with others. Discover connections with safe people. We provided a great criterion for safe people. Sindhu extended this understanding by expressing who we need to be for others. She discussed extending grace, forgiving one another, and being united in Christ. As we look for others to have these characteristics to deem them as safe people, we too must extend the same qualities to them. In this tip of connecting with others, Sindhu also expressed saying no to the busyness of our schedules, while saying yes to connecting with others.
5. Let’s talk about self-care. Sindhu indicated the value of taking care of our bodies. In this area, she said move it. Sindhu re-iterated the value of moving our bodies. She also stated that we were built to move and not be stagnant. So move! Also, in the physical realm, be cognizant of what you are eating. Eat healthy food for the body.
6. Self-care for your mental and emotional state. Sindhu discussed being aware of what we feed our minds. Turn off the tv, social media, and background noises. Instead, pursue healthy conversations and reading. Do not excessively read the news and local events. Rather find something fun to read. Thus, self-care your mind by engaging in experiences that foster healthy emotional releases.
7. Pay attention when you are anxious. In those moments, take time to self-reflect to determine what your anger or anxiety is telling you to address. Get to the root of your anxiety by self-reflecting. Sindhu shared a great analogy about medicating the symptoms instead of allowing time for your body to heal. You want to get to the root and not medicate the outward behavior. When you take the extra time to do this, you are allowing yourself to address the items in your life that require healing.
8. After you have spent time self-reflecting and getting to the root of your anxiety, write down what you discovered. Sindhu requested setting time aside during the day for this self-reflection work. The best part of this tip is that once you identified these items, only allow yourself 15 minutes to ponder over them. After 15 minutes, you are done with the day. You can return to those items the following day for only 15 minutes. Please know that I tried this tip. It works extremely well!
9. Complete your anxiety work during the day. Sindhu noted that daytime is most effective as you are the most alert. Also, the evening should be the time where you are winding down. When you wait for the evening, you risk carrying your anxieties and being unable to rest through the night.
10. When you are connecting, resting (self and godly care), and working through your anxiety, you establish peace which fosters maintaining your hope and joy.