God is My Anchor in Times of the Storm.
|I stand at the beginning of a new year, and contemplate 2020, so far the most challenging and stressful year of the twenty-first century. I doubt that history of the twenty-second century will consider 2020 the most stressful year, but for the present it can retain that title. I firmly believe that the local, national, and global situation will get worse in the coming years and decades; however, that isn't something I have to worry about because God is my anchor in times of storm.
Twenty-twenty was a test of faith, especially for those of us living on a fixed income and experiencing chronic health issues. It was a year of epiphanies and increased trust in God. It was the year I accepted the fact that most of tests and difficulties I encountered were due to my inability to let go of the past. My unwillingness to forgive myself for mistakes I made in my youth and middle years, which in turn hindered my ability to forgive other people. This had an effect on my ability to accept God's forgiveness.
As 2020 progressed, I found myself praying and meditating more. I also found myself falling back into old and unproductive habits that I thought I had conquered. Three of those old habits were maladaptive daydreaming, repeating the mantra "I messed up again!", and chronic procrastination. All of which engendered depression. I started one thing that has helped me begin to forgive myself and others, that was the book Letters From My Soul. I have 8 more letters to finish the original 30 I planned to write. After I finish those, I want to continue until I complete a total of 95.
I found four things that helped me overcome my depression and increase my faith in God. Those were (1) praying, (2) reading the sacred scriptures, (3) meditating on the scriptures, and writing. Prayer and writing helped me decrease the time I spent in maladaptive daydreaming, because these activities helped me focus. I noticed that when I focused on a prayer, a blog entry, or composing a poem my I didn't have the inclination to daydream irresponsibly (daydreaming that doesn't end in writing a story or poem).
A habit I got out of for a few years was having three or four specific times I pray each day. These times were morning after I woke up, at noon, in the evening before I went to sleep, and if I woke up at midnight. I've gotten back into that habit. When I pray, at these times, I read or recite prayer from my prayer book or from the prayer app I have on my smartphone. Having the prayer app on my smartphone helps when I wake up in the middle of the night, because I don't have to turn on the light to read a prayer.
Another thing I've found myself doing again is addressing the Lord mentally--in my thoughts--at random times during the day. This is something I never learned when I was a child going to Sunday school or church. This is something I started doing after I moved to Las Vegas, and which I stopped doing around the time my mother passed. I think that was because I was in mourning for her. I've gotten back into the habit and it helps.
One lesson I have learned from 2020 is that I have to make an effort to keep the connection with the Lord. I have to reach out each day in prayer, even if it is difficult. God is always there waiting for me to reach out and ask for help. God wants communion with every believer in the world. However, that encounter won't happen if the believer doesn't initiate it and keep the connection open.