Are you dreading the days ahead?

by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Do you have days you don’t look forward to? Or do you have days you dread with every fiber of your being? Today is one of those days for me. Actually, the entire week ahead consists of days I don’t want to face.

My husband left for a week-long fishing trip. In fact, in our twenty-eight-year-old marriage, this was his first commercial airline flight without me. Actually, we’ve spent relatively few days apart since the day we met.

Although I can handle my fear of being alone and of being separated from him fairly well, I still don’t like it. And I certainly don’t relish time apart from him.

Recently, I heard someone quote a favorite Bible passage in a way that has me thinking about my days ahead in a fresh light. It was the way he accented the very first word, with a big lift in his voice, which grabbed my attention.

He said, “This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)

This is the day? Today — the day I’ve been dreading for weeks? How could that be? How could today — of all days — be a day to be happy about?

I concede that every day is ordered by the Lord. And if the Lord — who is good, who is Love — made each day, then every day must surely have something good about it. I reluctantly reasoned this must also include today, even though when this morning arrived, I thought it was going to be anything but a good one.

And yet when I think of each day as a day the Lord has created for His beloved children, I realize that this day and every day must have purpose, potential and promise.

I know it’s probably normal to be sad when I’m separated from the man I dearly love. But I really don’t want to spend my next few days doing nothing but counting down the days until he returns.

I came across a compelling quote that was attributed to Muhammad Ali: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” And that is exactly what I would like to do this week. I want to make the most of every hour of each day. So I’ve set a variety of goals that I hope to accomplish. In fact, I’m getting excited about reaching each goal!

I love that Paul tells us, “Now is the day….” And I love the line in The Lord’s Prayer that says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This day — today — the Lord is going to give us everything we need to survive. That’s comforting! And I can’t help but recall a favorite quote by Mary Baker Eddy that my step-dad recited to me every morning when he drove me to school: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.”

There seems to be great import placed upon valuing each day. When we look forward only to what some future date potentially has to offer, we are probably missing all the possibilities that today is bringing to us. We may even lose or miss out on a great opportunity.

The Children of Israel learned to trust that day by day manna would be supplied to them. And they were instructed to pick up only the manna they needed for each day. They didn’t need to worry about gathering and saving bread for tomorrow because tomorrow there would be new bread for them to eat.

Do you find it hard to trust that the Lord will give you whatever you need each day? Oh but you can!

No doubt every day will make its demands of us — some more than others. But we have God’s promise of daily bread. I believe we can lean on our Father-Mother God when we’re down and depressed, when we’re struggling and worried, or when we’re uncertain and anxious, and He will feed us with exactly what we need. I’ve experienced God’s good grace in the past, and my faith assures me that I can trust and count on it to help me this week.

So I’m not going to fret about a whole week apart from my hubby. I’m going to focus on one day at a time and watch God reveal His days to me one by one.

Have a fabulous day, my friends, and may you make each and every day the best it can be. God will help you!

You’re not alone!

by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.

Do you feel like you’ve been abandoned and no one has your back? Do you feel alone, even when you’re in a room full of people? Loneliness can consume our body and soul and confuse and distort our perceptions. But “one” is not necessarily the loneliest number!

Everyone has times when they are alone, either by circumstances or choice. Actually, it’s essential to have times when we choose to be alone.

I cherish my moments of solitude. Sometimes my alone time is sipping a cup of hot tea while studying my Bible lesson or perusing a magazine, or taking a walk, or sitting in a comfy chair writing in my journal, or relaxing on the sofa reading a book. My alone time might even be just sitting quietly at my desk meditating, reflecting, praying.

Time alone in spiritual reflection can help bring balance and perspective to our lives. And such holy moments can refresh a troubled heart with reasons for hope and point toward solutions. These alone-with-God moments can be a wonderful gift to ourselves, moments that enable us to feel the embrace of our Father-Mother God and be reminded that we’re loved and wanted.

Sometimes people avoid being alone, hoping to escape from having to be alone with their thoughts, their fears or their insecurities. But being alone with God enables one to confront whatever would cause us to be troubled, afraid or insecure. God is an almighty power, conquering any evil and overcoming any disease of mind, body or spirit.

I’ve had times when I’ve struggled with being home alone, particularly when my husband goes out of town for a few days on a hunting trip. Even if I have friends or family staying with me, I still struggle with the feeling of loneliness. The only thing that helps me in these times is pondering the love that God has for us both and thinking of the love we share with each other as a natural expression of the love that God has instilled in each of us. This helps me feel united with my husband in God’s love, and I realize that no matter where I am or my husband is, I can still feel his love and he can feel mine. Love knows no boundaries and is not confined by time and space.

When we struggle with loneliness, we may feel that nobody else has ever been in our shoes, which, by the way, is never true. We may believe we’re not understood and that there is no one to turn to. We may fear being cut off, disconnected and alienated from other people and then generally behave in such a way that forces our worst fears to become true. Some call this a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I can’t help but be reminded of Harry in the movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Increasingly being faced with crisis situations, Harry insists his friends could never understand his turmoil and begins to push them away, lamenting that he must endure and face the enemy, Lord Voldemort, alone.

His emotional struggle with feelings of separation and isolation becomes possibly his most difficult battle and one that perhaps was part of his enemy’s battle plan against him. As Luna Lovegood wisely concludes and advises Harry, “Well, if I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else. ‘Cause if it’s just you alone, you’re not as much of a threat.” Harry eventually discovered and learned the strength and power of having his friends at his side.

Each of us, as a child of God, has the companionship of our divine Parent and Friend forever at our side — ready, willing and able to help us in any situation. God is ever present, ever ready to be “our refuge and strength” and is truly “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

We need not feel we must tackle life’s challenges by ourselves. Divine help is at hand.

Loneliness is nothing but a state of thought. And thought can be changed, uplifted, inspired and encouraged. Whether we’re struggling with feelings of abandonment, rejection, depression, insecurity, anxiety, hopelessness or unworthiness, a spiritual outlook can lift our mental state above our limited human perception. A good dose of “heavenly inspiration” is the only cure I’ve found for overcoming feelings of loneliness. And I get my best inspiration when I’m alone with God.

Still think you’re alone? Well, you’re not! ” … the God of love and peace shall be with you” always! (2 Corinthians 13:11)