There is one common truth that applies to every single living being on the planet. No matter how smart, beautiful, talented, successful or popular you are, we all have to navigate life’s peaks and valleys. The ups and downs are just part of the package. The phrase money can’t buy happiness really just means that rich people deal with the same trials and tribulations as the rest of us, minus the debt. No matter what we all grieve, we all experience the hurt of betrayal, we are all let down by the person we trusted with our heart, we are all knocked down by life from time to time. The sun can’t always shine, it will eventually rain. Whether it’s a light sprinkle or a hurricane, if you keep living long enough you will most certainly get wet. Some people cope with this by hiding from the rain. They seek out distractions like food, drugs, alcohol, sex, anything to replace the pain. We immerse ourselves in pleasure – overindulge our senses just to smother out the thoughts and feelings that we don’t want to think and feel. The problem is that none of these things work. No matter how much you drink, that horrible, horrible thing is right there waiting for you in the morning! It allows itself right back into your head along with all the pain it causes.
So that’s the problem with life, but what’s the solution? I recently found myself in a valley. I seemed to be hitting one brick wall after the other. The issues began to compound and grow until I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. Eventually I began to expect the worst. I started to think that the thing had me in a perpetual strangle hold. Before long my thoughts were infected with defeat, then my words and my actions followed. I speak for myself of course, because spiritual maturity will take you down a different path entirely. More specifically, the Holy Spirit will redirect your path from one that leads to despair and depression to one that leads to victory. Once I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I began to pray. I asked God for wisdom, discernment and revelation. My prayers and daily time talking to Him enlightened me. While I don’t have all the answers, God did revealed something very important to me. One of my challenges is allowing the wrong people into my life. People I call “takers” because they come for what they can take and never give anything in return. He told me that being in the valley is when you most vulnerable and most likely to attract takers. Carrying a heavy burden is hard and often others detect our pain. When someone enters into your valley they have one of three possible goals. They are either there to lend support and walk with you, help you climb out or take all they can get while the gettins good! Think about the people in your life. Who can you call for a ride to the airport to catch a 6am flight? Who would welcome you with open arms if your home burned to the ground? Now make the opposite list, who would you not even bother to call? You see, it turns out that we already know what the character of the people around us, we just pretend not to. We simply enjoy their company and disregard everything else. The problem with takers doesn’t surface during the peaks. Everyone comes around to celebrate good times. The problem with takers is that when we descend into the valley, they spring into action compounding your problems and making matters worse. With a strong support system and enough time, the human spirit is capable of overcoming anything! If we surround ourselves with people who show us love (which the bible defines as preference) then we can endure what ever life brings. God wants us to love and encourage one another through life’s ups and downs. This is why it’s our job to encourage someone else because everyone you know is fighting a battle. But be cautious, God also wants us to guard our hearts. Proverbs:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.