Christian Living

Do You Make This Mistake In Hard Times?

Sad and tired old lady
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I’m convinced there’s one mistake we can make in difficult times that trip us up almost more than any other. I’m talking about complete self-sabotage. Do you make this mistake in hard times like I often find myself doing?

During challenging times, what concerns me most are some of the thoughts that tend to run through my head:

What is God thinking?

How am I supposed to cope with this situation? 

I feel so alone!

MY MISTAKE

That’s not to say that my thoughts about whatever situation I find myself in are bad, invalid, or wrong in themselves. A tough time is a tough time, and sharing your feelings is no harm. However, I am concerned about the lack of thoughts about God in this self-talk that runs around in my head.

My big mistake in such scenarios is completely leaving God out of the picture. Except when it came to questioning his wisdom!

Here’s the wild thing: I write in this space daily to encourage others in their faith, especially in hard times.

In fact, recently, I wrote about how the story the prophet Elijah told about his problems left God out of the picture completely. This likely contributed to his despondency and depression.

Yet the stories I tell myself about my own difficult situation left God completely out of the picture, too—at least in any positive way. It was exactly like the story Elijah told about his difficult circumstances!

Which brings me to two conclusions.

The first is that I should listen more to my own advice!

The second is that maybe it’s shockingly easy for us as Believers in Christ to leave God out of the picture completely, especially in the stories we tell ourselves about our hard circumstances.

Oh, sure. We might know the Bible verses (or at least know how to look them up). We might even add an encouraging word or two about God seeing us through when we tell our stories to others.

But what happens when the busyness of the day lets up a bit and we get a little time alone to think? What are the stories we tell ourselves like then?

DO YOU MAKE THIS MISTAKE IN HARD TIMES?

Is it just me, or do you make this mistake in hard times, too?

Maybe you’ve lost a loved one. Or your partner walked out. Or you’re dealing with problems with one of your kids you never could have imagined. 

Maybe you’re not so much in a crisis situation as facing a long road that stretches on endlessly: caring for a difficult family member or working at a job you hate because you have to pay the bills.

No matter what situation you might face today, what stories are you telling yourself? Does your self-talk about your circumstances include God?

Or, do you keep leaving him out like I do sometimes? 

It’s good to be honest with ourselves about our thoughts and emotions when we’re faced with challenging circumstances. Yet leaving God out of the picture can lead to hopelessness and despair faster than we might believe.

BIBLICAL TRUTHS TO INCLUDE IN OUR STORIES

Here are some thoughts I could have included in the story I kept telling myself. May I gently suggest that you might consider including some of them in your own story, friend.

I don’t understand why God allowed this, but his Word says he loves me and I can trust him (Psalm 37:7).

This situation is an enormous challenge, but God says I can do all things in the strength he provides (Philippians 4:13).

I can’t imagine how all of this is going to work, but God has a plan to provide for our needs (Jeremiah 29:11).

I don’t have to face a single second of my problems alone because God says he’ll always be with me (Isaiah 43:2).

Okay. I get it. Your heart may not be in any of these positive affirmations about God being in your tough situation.

Mine isn’t always either.

It can feel a little forced to deliberately include faith-filled affirmations in the stories we tell ourselves, right?

But this is God’s truth—not some fluffy positive thinking. His truth is rock-solid and holds up under the worst circumstances, even if we don’t feel like it right now.

And the thing is, I know it’s a giant mistake to leave God out of my self-talk.

I know that can only lead to one place: The Valley of Hopelessness and Despair.

Because the problems I’m facing right now are way bigger than I am, they’re way past my comfort zone and out of my realm altogether. So, if I need to deliberately and even forcefully include God in the stories I tell myself right now, then so be it. My thoughts and emotions will catch up in time.

I can’t afford to make the one mistake in hard times that can do me in maybe more than any other.

And if you’ve been making the mistake of leaving God out of the stories you tell yourself about your hard situations, then you can’t afford it either, friend!

We’re going to get through this.

In Jesus.

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Susan is a mother of four beautiful babies and a born-again Christian. She took over Hope No Matter What in 2024 and enjoys sharing her knowledge of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Her passion is to bring hope and encouragement to others, and she prays that by sharing her knowledge and personal story, she can inspire others to find enlightenment in God's word.