Setbacks and Relapses

LonelinessOne step forward, two steps back.

That’s the way it seems to go sometimes, doesn’t it? I’ve just recently been there, and it is so frustrating. The encouraging buildup to change becomes short lived. Progress is fleeting, and patience is in short supply.

So, what do we do when our slow movement forward quickly slides backwards?

Remember the positive change we did see. Change takes time. Whether we’re waiting for emotional healing, improvement in a health condition, a job offer, changed attitudes, an ease in difficult finances, or whatever it might be, it often usually takes more time than we would like.

Remembering that it did get better once, means it can get better again.

Remembering helps us appreciate and be thankful for the small improvements when they come. Life may never be what it once was, but a two-step slide backwards makes the one step forward look a whole lot better.

Look for the good in the bad. It’s really hard to be optimistic, when faced with discouragement and disappointment.

But if we lose hope, then all is lost.

There will be bad days…and really bad days. But there will also be good days…and they can be easy to miss when we’re solely concentrated on the hardships. What we focus on tends to grow in size until it becomes all we can think about—and it’s our choice what we center on.

Know that it’s okay to be sad for the setback. But try not to get lost in the sadness. Our feelings are not always trustworthy, but they are real. Pretending everything is all right when it’s not usually doesn’t help the situation.

When we recognize and acknowledge our emotions, we give ourselves the time we need to feel what we feel.

We give ourselves permission to feel frustrated, sad, or annoyed…and then we can move forward with hope for the future.

Trust God’s timing. Sometimes we can’t see past what we’re facing right then, and when we don’t like what we see, we want something different—sooner, rather than later. But God sees past our limited view. He knows what our future holds.

What’s best for us—the very thing we need the most—may be right outside of our view.

Waiting feels impossible, but whether He brings His plan into our view tomorrow, the next day, or not for quite some time, trusting God and His timing eases the anxiety and inner turmoil we can’t extinguish ourselves.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Photo credit: Stock photo: all alone

5 Responses to Setbacks and Relapses
  1. Barbie
    September 5, 2014 | 2:06 pm

    So timely for me today, in the midst of a layoff. Thank you!

    • Laura Rath
      September 5, 2014 | 2:33 pm

      Barbie, I’m so sorry to hear that! I’ll be praying for you and your family!

  2. Kathy
    September 5, 2014 | 3:56 pm

    I have to keep learning this lesson over and over that things take time!

    When I walk in God’s peace though, I can handle the process of time with so much more ease.

    I love Philippians 4:6-7! So rich and powerful!

    I really did enjoy the thoughtfulness of your post today, Laura, have a good weekend,


    • Laura Rath
      September 8, 2014 | 5:19 pm

      Thanks Kathy. Have a great week!

  3. Cassandra M. Stewart
    September 8, 2014 | 3:15 pm

    Hi Laura!

    I’m visiting from Barbie’s Weekend Brew. This was an on-time post for me as I have been frustrated with the two-steps back in my life recently. It was very encouraging. Thank you.

    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women