Here's some great questions that have helped me personally and helped me help others in times of trial!
1 What new name of God could I experience in this valley?
God reveals Who He is to us through experiences. We can read about or study about Him as Provider or Healer, but when we have experienced Him as such there is a whole new level of understanding added to our knowledge. Who might God be wanting to reveal Himself as in your situation? Comforter, Guide, Friend, Hope,… The list is endless, but you can be sure He is constantly there for you. You are not alone and He is always working toward greater revelation of Himself to mankind.
2 What can I do to fix my eyes on Jesus?
The waves were real around Peter as he walked on the water. The danger was legitimate, the fear was founded, but when he fixed his eyes on “reality” he sunk, when he fixed his eyes on Jesus he experienced the miraculous. It can be easy to feel a need to rant about reality. There is tricky, difficult and even nasty stuff all around us, but take heart He has overcome the world!
What do you need to do to remind yourself not to fixate, expound on, and talk about what you see around you and instead lean into what is unseen? For me that means a ready response to the fiery thought darts that come my way. When I feel I am sinking I picture Him lifting my chin to a new focus. I often pick a song or verse to go along with the particular valley I am in and recite that to my soul as needed. Perspective changes things.
3 How can I be nice to myself in this season?
When I see others in transition or trauma I want to be kind to them – offer them an extended level of grace etc. However, when I am in such a season myself I tend to either be hard on myself or comfort myself in unhealthy ways. Judging myself and recounting things I should have done differently holds my focus in the past – when that happens, if there really is an offense, I need to ask for forgiveness from or extend forgiveness to the others involved and rejoice that salvation is not a one-time deal.
I also need to take time to feed my soul instead of my stomach. While a good Starbucks run might suffice for both soul and body feeding, when I turn to excess in food or drink (or shopping or any other addiction) as a comfort I miss out on The Comforter. What I really need might be a good walk alone or a chat with a good friend – extra time in the prayer room or some new music. Being kind to yourself in valleys is tricky business but who better to accept God’s love for you than you yourself.
4 What word picture does He have for my situation?
Jesus often used stories to teach. (Matt 13:3+10) Just think of the wealth of wisdom that is associated with these words: The Prodigal, The Pearl of Great Price, The Lost Coin, The Talents and many more. Receiving a word picture for your situation can give you the hope you need to get through. Here’s some ideas – a Bridge, a Pathway, a Healing process(like a broken bone), a Hallway with doors, a plant growing, a Sailboat in the wind… When you can see yourself in the midst of a story it can be easier to envision getting through.
5 What lies and corresponding truthes do I need to be aware of?
A good lie is kind of like a good poison. It tastes good, and it may be 95% true but that last bit will kill you! Slowly or quickly, if you keep ingesting that nastiness it's going to be your demise. Let me explain. If your lie is something like, "This wasn't supposed to happen" it may be 95% true, but since there is sin in the world bad stuff does happen so we need to learn to counteract it with the truth. In this case the truth could be something like, "Nothing that happens to me in this life can seperate me from God's love or keep me from His plan in my life." Make Sense?
No one owns your life but you. God always offers a plan! If you are in a valley season, you don’t just have to endure, you can overcome!
What Question do you need to ask God or yourself today?