Caregiver, how does your day typically begin?
The way you begin your day will determine your entire day.
What is on your mind when the morning begins?
If you did not sleep well, experienced a bad dream, woke up sick, have too much to do that day, or if you are in pain, you might feel as though you are starting off the morning behind the proverbial eight ball.
How can you begin your day happily when it seems as if there is nothing to be happy about?
Try this simple tip: As soon as you wake, begin thinking about God instead of rehearsing your situation. Psalm 17:15 says, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”
For caregivers, it may seem a bit of a stretch to think of being satisfied when you wake. Most days you probably groan, roll out of bed, and start mentally contemplating all the dreaded chores for the day.
It can be difficult to get excited about getting up when:
- your sleep was poor
- you have nothing to look forward to that day
Your feelings are not atypical. Many caregivers, all over the world, are dragging lifelessly and hopelessly through their days.
you are not alone:
Even David felt discouraged. For instance, if you read only verse 15, of Psalm 17, you might be disillusioned into thinking that David joyfully sprang from bed each morning without a care in the world. However, you will find David actually began the Psalm crying out to God. In verse 9, David is oppressed and surrounded by his enemies.
According to Webster’s dictionary, some meanings of the word oppress are “to weigh heavily on”, “worry”, “trouble”, “to keep down”…
Is this where you see yourself today?
- weighed down
Worried and oppressed:
When I hear the word oppress, I realize that worldwide there are people who are fighting for their lives. In the area where David once lived, the schools and playgrounds have bomb shelters because the people do not know when the next rocket is going to be fired on them.
A news show I watched recently was entirely dedicated to the harsh reality the people there live in. They are truly surrounded on every side. Daily they must be prepared in case of an attack. Parents do not know when they send their children to school if they will see their children again.
I imagine David knew the severity of simply trying to stay alive. Yet, after Psalm 17, we see David choosing to praise God throughout Psalm 18:
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust: My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice…”
God “heard my voice”:
Do you agree that David’s words are beautiful? God hears. In the times when you think God does not hear, He does. When you think God is not listening, He is. Perhaps your situation is not turning out like you wished or your prayers are not being answered as you requested.
God still hears you. He sees your tears. The Lord weeps when you weep. When your heart is breaking, so is His heart. Our Heavenly Father is not purposefully causing the problems that you face.
God did not create the evil in this sinful world, but He can use the problems that you are going through. The Lord is not in the thing that is hurting you, but He can be in you when you are hurting.
David chose to praise God when he was surrounded, when his life was threatened, when he lost his infant son, when another son tried to usurp him, when he was hunted/ hungry/ cold and tired. David encouraged himself in the Lord and you can too.
Psalm 63:5 says, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” You can do the same thing.
Your morning routine:
The mornings that you can come up with nothing to be grateful for, try reading some of the Psalms and praising God for His attributes. Offer praise and Thanksgiving even in the middle of your storm.
Try making a short, uncomplicated list of things you have to be thankful for. Keep the gratitude list next to your bed, so you can read over it every morning before you crawl out of bed. While reminding yourself of the things you had to be thankful for in the past, you will be filling your soul with joy for the future.
A simple list might include:
- indoor plumbing
- running water
- blankets to cover up with
- jackets for the cold weather (even if your clothes are worn or outdated, you can still be thankful for something to cover up with)
- the ability to read (or hear) the Bible
- access to a Bible
- waste disposal and sanitation
Each day add to your list. As the days go by, get more specific in the things you are grateful for. An example of this might be:
- My mailbox door stayed shut during the rain so my mail was not wet today.
- The dog went to the bathroom outside today, instead of inside.
- I saw the broken glass on the floor before someone stepped on it.
- Even though we went to the ER today, we were able to come home in less than 24 hours.
(Yes, the above items have all made my list at one point or another.) If you need a bit of motivation to help get your creative juices flowing, click here. Or, click here if you feel too discouraged to know where to begin.
Why is it important to keep a list? You will forget some of the smaller details in life that seemed so daunting at the time. Trust me on this. When I look back at my list from a few weeks ago, I surprise myself with the things that have been forgotten already due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Some things I have quickly forgotten are: lost car keys that were found, people who helped me get heavy bags of dog food into my shopping cart, the compliment someone made in passing, the midnight text from a friend when I was still awake, the cat’s funny antics, etc…
Maybe you do not think you have any of these things. If all you can see are the friends who dumped you when you became a caregiver and the things you lost, then perhaps you have forgotten some blessings as well.
As you go through your day today, make a concerted effort to concentrate on all the things you have to be thankful for. Your challenge, at some point today is this- come up with a written list of a few things you have to be thankful for.
To get us started, I want to pose the question to everyone… what is one specific thing you can thank God for today?
Do you know someone who needs some joy in their life? Feel free to pass this along to your friends by using the social share buttons.