Have you ever told someone about something you’re struggling with and they responded with, “It isn’t that bad.”
It’s like a punch in the gut. Because to you, it IS that bad.
It might be that your cat died or your debit card got stolen or you ran out of gas… or whatever. The point is – to you, in that moment, it was a bad feeling.
You may have a bad day or week or month, and to someone else who is going through something horrible, your problem probably seems like a drop in the bucket, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough and you aren’t experiencing self-doubt and anxiety and a whole list of other things.
Recently, I have been going through a career change. I quit my current job as a news reporter without having another job lined up, and I never in my life imagined quitting a job and finding a new one would be so hard – mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s very draining and it’s very tiring and hearing “no” a million times can really crush a person’s confidence.
It has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life and my pride and ego and worldly desires have been torn down one small piece at a time, and every piece stings a little more.
So you can imagine that I have had a few breakdowns here and there – and I know I’m not alone in that. Change is scary, and sometimes, we let our emotions control our reaction.
I know many of you have been there – maybe on a smaller scale or maybe on a much bigger scale.
Maybe you are changing positions at your current job or maybe you are changing from “in a relationship” to “single” or maybe you are accepting the change of no longer having a loved one here on earth. No matter the change, “small” or “big,” it can be hard and can wear you down… if you let it.
In the midst of all the stress and anxiety I have had about this change, I have been taking it out on people closest to me. One night after finding out I didn’t get a job I had applied for that I really wanted (and really thought I would get), I had a meltdown and just poured my heart out to my fiance – my anger, frustration, doubt, insecurity, fear, confusion, etc.
And out of all the kind, encouraging, positive things he said to me, one thing stood out and made me so mad: “It’s not that bad.”
It’s not that bad? Ok that’s fine that you don’t care about my problems AT ALL.
I mean I went totally 14-year-old “you don’t care about my life” mode. I was furious that I had completely poured my heart out and explained my frustration and he had the nerve to tell me “it’s not that bad.”
He wasn’t being mean, of course. He was just trying to tell me that other people are going through worse things, and at the end of the day, a job is not the most important thing in the world and should not cause me so much stress. Not when God has already handled it.
And he was right.
But in that moment, I was focused on my problem, my life, my worries, my stress, and my situation. I wasn’t focused on the reality that it really wasn’t so bad and that God was going to handle it without a doubt.
I think a lot of us do that all the time. We want people to listen to our problems and feel sorry for us – we want them to tell us what we WANT to hear, not what we NEED to hear. But listen when I say, you NEED those people who will set you straight and point you back to God in those dark situations. And we have the chance to really exercise our faith when we truly hand it over to God and watch Him work while we finally relax and do our part in a stress-free manner.
And no, a job change/a job search is NOT that bad, but at the time, it has been the most important thing on my mind. However, I’ve had so many opportunities to really trust God and let Him show out for me AND others to see.
I have a friend I reference often who had colon cancer, and he has been in and out of the hospital for the past year and a half. Every time he gets out, he goes back. And not only is he strong, his fiance is the strongest woman I know. They have held on to their faith in God the entire time. Of course they have had some very rough days, but they have oozed with peace and the mentality that “it’s not that bad.”
They know it could be worse. He is thankful to be alive and she is thankful to have him, no matter what that might look like right now. Because they KNOW God is going to come through and they know that have to trust Him through the process and grow in the meantime.
That’s what it should look like for me and you, too.
Whether a job, a relationship, relocation, tragedy, heartbreak, struggle – you name it – “it’s not that bad.”
This is NOT to downplay what some people are going through right now. There are people in the world right now who just lost a child or both parents or a spouse or their entire family or their best friend. There are people who have seen murders or fatal car wrecks or mass shootings. There are A LOT of bad things going on in the world. And those things remind me that the things that seem so huge to me really aren’t that bad.
However, so many of those people experiencing those things think and say the same thing as my friends! They are living through their own personal hell and are still able to find the bright side and recognize that maybe someone, somewhere else is in more pain. They recognize that “this too shall pass” and that EVERYTHING will pass, good or bad, but God won’t. And that’s what they cling to.
If that’s not encouragement, I don’t know what is. I’m encouraged by those people I don’t know who do it, people I briefly cross paths with who do it, and people I love, like my dear friends I mentioned, who do it right in front of me.
It encourages me to take my struggle and hand it over. It encourages me to have the mentality that “it’s not that bad” and I will get through. It may not look the way I always thought it would, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t using it and using me for a much bigger, more beautiful purpose.
So, my fiance was right. (Don’t tell him I said that). It’s not that bad and it never will be, even on days my world comes crashing down, because I have faith and a God who is bigger and has promised to deliver me. He has promised me the PROMISED LAND. He has promised me eternal life. So, I refuse to let “this life” be that bad because I am setting my sights on things above.
I encourage you to do the same. I know I’m speaking to someone right now who is in a low, low valley. Lower than they’ve ever been. Friend, whatever it is, I PROMISE you WILL be OK. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but God is working and He will pull you up on to the mountain.
And on a lighter note, when you spill your coffee or get a flat tire, laugh it off and remember, “it’s not that bad.”
God provided me with a new job, by the way. It wasn’t when I thought he would. It wasn’t where I thought he would. It wasn’t what I thought he would. It was nothing I expected or really wanted, but it’s what He wanted for me. I called out, and He answered. He took care of me. And maybe it was to remind me that it really just isn’t that bad and I really just need to have faith. Because He will. He always does.
Trust His timing,