I Hate my Job!

Linda Evans Shepherd:

I once met a woman who told me, “I hate my job,” and expressed that she wanted to die.  But as we began to talk, what  happened next was so remarkable that I wrote about it in my book, When You Don’t Know What to Pray – How to Talk to God About Anything.

See the excerpted story below:

After speaking at an event in Iowa, I was chatting with the soloist when a grandmother in her early sixties approached us. Her conference nametag read “Barb” and she said, “Linda, I appreciated your talk today on joy but it didn’t help me.”

Startled, I stared as she continued, “I can’t go on. I’m no good to anyone. It’s like I’m already dead.”

My friend Jackie’s eyebrows shot into her hairline and she looked to me as if to say, “Yikes! What do we do?”

I studied the woman before me. Her eyes were dull and her face hard. She was in incredible emotional pain. “What’s happened to you, Barb?” I asked softly.

Barb frowned, then in one long breath she said, “My husband died last year of a heart attack. I hate my job. I was left to raise my granddaughters and I’m doing a terrible job. My son-in-law committed suicide and I think he had the right idea. I’ve decided I should kill myself too.”

I asked, “Who are you mad at?”

Her blue eyes locked with mine. With a trembling voice she answered, “I loathe myself and I’m mad at God.”

I nodded slowly, comprehending her fury and replied, “That’s okay. God’s big enough to handle your anger. Do you want to let go of it? Do you want to give God your anger?”

She nodded her head and together we knelt on the carpet. There on the hotel conference room floor, with conference attendees milling around us and Jackie looking on, Barb let go. She not only gave God her anger, she also gave Him her burdens, hurts, and disappointments with a simple prayer, “I give it all to you Lord, the anger, the burdens, everything.”

When we finished, Jackie and I witnessed an amazing transformation. Color returned to Barb’s cheeks. Her eyes glistened. The hardness in her face evaporated as if she’d received an instant facelift. It was a stunning moment as we witnessed Barb’s return from the dead.

Barb and I stood up and hugged. I said, “Barb, this is what it feels like to be free.”

Barb jumped and clapped her hands. “Oh, I didn’t know this could happen. I am free. I’m free. I’m free!”

If you are finding yourself in the same situation as this woman, why not pray a prayer of your own.

Dear Lord,

I’m so angry about my job situation, and all the people who have contributed to my difficulties, including my boss, my co-workers, me and even You!  But I’m willing to give you my anger, to lay it at your feet, and to say to you, I give my anger over my job to you, Lord, it’s now your problem.  Help turn this situation around into a miracle.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

 Speaking of miracles, Zig Ziglar, who passed a few days ago , was a man who spent his 86 years living life with zest as he helped others find their purpose.  Watch him tell about a woman he met who also hated her job, and how he helped her turn her situation around.  His solution is brilliant and I think it might also work for you.

Stop the Pain: Doesn’t God Understand Physical Pain?

By Lisa Copen

God does understand how you feel when you want the pain to stop.

 

Physical pain is one of the most difficult things I believe any human being can cope with. Over seventy percent of suicides are said to have been because of physical pain.* And as far back as Biblical times, even the greatest burden God allowed Job to be given by Satan–the one that hurt the most– was boils on his skin (Job 2:7).

Many people have heard the story about how Jesus went up to the desert for forty days and fasted and prayed and Satan showed up for a bit with a few temptations (Luke 4:1-2). It is easy to start interpreting this time as some kind of endurance test; the challenge Jesus takes can sound more like someone we might see on a combined show of “The Biggest Loser” meets “The Amazing Race.”

When we cry out–literally–day after day, asking God to please stop the pain, it can be easy to question, does God really understand what long-term physical pain is like?

Look more closely at this scripture, “for forty days He was tempted by the devil.” Forty days! Satan was hanging around many hours–every day. Just a snippet of conversation is in the Bible between Satan and Jesus, but I would imagine their many words between each other could easily have filled an entire book on its own.

And yes, Jesus is God, but sitting on that mountain side He was also fully human. Verse 2 says, “He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Hungry, just like you or I would be.

He didn’t fast as a human being, but then make His stomach feel all full as God had the power to do. He was hungry for food, tired, I am sure His back hurt, perhaps he suffered from a sunburn, yet was freezing cold at night. His stomach was growling and He thirsty. I am sure He dealt with great physical pain and kept His eyes out for scorpions. It was likely the weakest He had ever been in His lifetime, and this is when Satan kept appearing and trying to entice Him to make Himself more comfortable.

And when the forty days was up, Satan gave up, right? Nope. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)

Physical pain is weakening. It weakens our body, our ability to process information in our brain, and it is can tarnish the sparkle in our relationship with Christ. Jesus has walked in your shoes. I know some days it doesn’t feel like it, but don’t base your reality on your feelings. Believe God truly does understand.

It can be easy to become bitter when it feels like no one understands your pain, but there is no situation, no feeling, that we will encounter that someone in the Bible has not already experienced. And God always understands.

I hope the video below, song by Phil Wickham, reminds you of just how much God does hear your pleas for relief and cares about you. Many who are suicidal have shared that this song came on the radio just when they need reminded that God still had a plan for their life.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

* Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: “Suicide in the medical patient.”. Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987

Why Not End My Life If I Have Nothing Left to Give?

By Lisa Copen

“I am exhausted. I am in so much pain. No one knows how hard it is to just get through each day. I am of no value to anyone. . . Why choose to live?

Have you ever felt that way? It can be hard to see value in life when you don’t feel productive, but even when we don’t have a list of accomplishments, we are still cherished by God. And you never know how your situation may actually be encouraging someone when you don’t even realize it.

When my grandfather was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, my grandmother basically couldn’t see the need for him to keep living. She was–coldly–ready to move on and felt like he was holding her back. As she complained about him for the umpteenth time I looked her firmly in the eye and spoke my mind.

“Grandma, he may not know what is going on, but he is joyful. Every day, every single person that comes into his room has their day brightened by his joy. They love him. You don’t know what those people may have been going through. A nurse could have been beaten by her spouse last night; an attendant may be losing his own father to this disease but he lives across the country and he can’t be with him. Grandpa may be the only person in their life who makes them smile. You don’t know how God is still using him.”

I am not certain she understood. But even as I said the words, I realized just how true they were. Even while he was suffering and not completely aware of who people were, he radiated joy and passed that on.

I have heard the saying, “It all works out in the end and if it has not worked out, then it is not the end.” Perhaps you have asked, “Why choose to live when I have nothing left to give?” Maybe you wonder if you are of use because of your disabilities, mental health challenges, financial struggles, etc. But whatever it is, these are just your circumstances–not you.

We all have something to give, even though some days we can only give our tears. What? How can crying help someone? Each day I see people who are discouraged and downtrodden who live with physical chronic pain, and even as they share their discouragement, their needs, their depression, others step up and encourage them. Not only do people who woke up feeling useless feel needed, they also have their own sufferings validated.

Yes, inspirational, encouraging videos and words are always welcome, but some days we just need to know that someone else is suffering too and and it is not all rainbows and smiley faces. We are all in this thing called life together. You are always valuable to the Lord, but your willingness to be vulnerable, to share the real you, can make you vessel to reach someone else who feels unneeded, when no one else can.

In 2011, following a discouraging appointment with my rheumatologist and frustrated with the circumstances of my illness, I came home and made a “real” video. Instead of my typical “Latte with Lisa” this one was called “Lisa: Unfiltered“. . . And I cried. If you feel up to seeing a gal fall apart, but still see God in it, you may want to take a listen. It’s not pretty, but it is honest.

To date, this is the highest watched video I have ever done, but even as I pressed that publish button I wondered, “what have I done?” What I had done was just allow people to see me–the real me that gets discouraged sometimes like everyone else. If you ever wonder if your tears can encourage someone else, this video may help you see how that happens.

You may think: Why not end my life if I have nothing left to give? But that’s not true: your life itself is a gift, and there is hope.

Your life has value because you are you. Suicide is never the answer. You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have it all together, you don’t need to be happy-go-lucky all the time. God loves you. . . just the way you are.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Why Do I Suffer?

By Deborah Lovett :

 Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22, NIV Bible)

 

If you are thinking about suicide today, wondering”Why do I suffer so much?”  I welcome you to think differently with me.

I believe God allows certain things in our lives so that we can share in the revelations of His love and suffering that we receive through our own hardships. Many times we only want to share in the ‘good’ things He allows into our lives, and don’t understand the other things He allows.

Many times people help feed fear, guilt and shame that may come from suffering. Granted, some suffering is a result of our own choices, some the choices of others: but some is neither.

Let me share a few of the insights God has been showing me:

  • He is the Redeemer of Suffering. He redeemed Jesus’ suffering and He will redeem ours, in His time. It is not called the “Death, Burial and Resurrection” for nothing!
  • The bigger the suffering, the bigger the plan, the bigger His glory and grace will be showcased!
  • God’s mission for us includes seeing things from an eternal perspective, and being available to Him. Therein lies our joy.
  • Many trials bring spiritual maturity–if we are listening.
  • There is a method to His madness!  It is spelled: LOVE.

Then as I sat there listening to Him intently; He asked me a question I didn’t want to hear, for I was asking just the opposite:

I was asking Him: “When do the trials end?”

He was asking me: “Even if the trials never end, will you trust Me?”

Remember not to live in your pain, as much as you do in the plan that God sets before you in that pain. Try to set aside your circumstances from your spirituality for a moment and find the purpose. It is equally important to remember that all of our suffering is not the result of some sin or failure. Job suffered because he was a righteous man. He was chosen to suffer, much like Jesus was the Chosen One.

Are you going through many trials? James 1:2 tells us:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

How can you rejoice, you might ask? Well, if you are going through hardships “in Him” the book of John tells us we will bear much fruit. But apart from Him, we can do nothing. (15:4,5) So we can rejoice in Him, and the fruit that is waiting.

The enemy is on full force attack. But God promises in Deuteronomy 1:30 “The Lord your God who is going before you, will fight for you…before your very eyes and in the desert.” The next time you cry out, “Why do I suffer!”, choose to trust the Lord, and His purposes for you. Hang on to your hope and trust, God knows your hearts and will prove Himself faithful.