One of the best feelings we can experience is the sound of an applause. You’ve done your job, you’ve done it well, whatever it may be. And after all of the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve put into it, you finally get that vindication of a job well done. Whether it’s getting up on a stage and having a standing ovation or the roar of a crowd, or having countless likes and comments from people on line. It feels amazing when you feel encouraged in your efforts. And in a way we all crave that, to some degree. Anyone who says they don’t is lying. It’s the natural human condition to want to receive praise for our work and accomplishments. Plain and simple.
I’ve experienced seasons of this myself as I’m sure you all have at some point in your life. But what happens when the crowd is silent? Or worse, when there is no crowd at all? When there are little to no “likes”. When you go through seasons of loneliness and very few people to offer encouragement, love or praise.
Over the last few years I’ve gone through some pretty dark seasons. Depression and anxiety being a few of the culprits. And even though I’m on the other side of certain circumstances, I still can go through bouts of it here and there. It’s a constant process of learning how to deal with it as it comes and goes. It’s kind of like being in a deep dark pit and not being able to figure out how to crawl out. During those times the mind plays tricks on you and lies to you. It’s in those moments that I can feel and think things like:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’ll never accomplish anything in this life.”
“I’ve made too many mistakes.”
“I’m an old woman in my 40’s with “nothing” to show for it.”
“I’m not really loved, only liked or even tolerated at most.”
“Everyone and everything good just leaves in the end.”
And the list goes on and on. You get the point. It’s a general feeling of feeling very overwhelmed, overthinking everything, thinking of the worst case scenario, and even when things are going great, thinking that it’s too good to be true and it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.
I had one of those moments a few weeks ago. My mind went to the darkest places. It was also in that moment that I realized I had to encourage myself. Even when it felt like I was the only one. You know that saying, ‘sometimes you gotta clap for yourself’? That’s what I needed. I had to be intentional about what I was thinking and what was really important. Getting yourself out of a dark season begins in the mind.
It begins with thankfulness. Once you start listing off the things that you DO have and focusing on that, you immediately begin to crawl your way out of the deep pit you find yourself in. You start to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. Sometimes that means listing the things you're thankful for in your head, but saying them out loud or even writing them down can be even more beneficial. Thankfulness is a weapon that can often be overlooked but it is powerful. I know this because I have often overlooked it myself many times and every time I come back to it, it begins to set my mind right again.
A second way to get out of a dark season is to focus on the call on your life. Which simply means the reason and the purpose as to why you are here on earth. I believe that mine is music and writing. Every single person has a purpose here on earth. There is a reason you are here. Our job, for you and I, is to find out what that is and then to go after it and pursue it. It’s taken me forty years to finally fully be comfortable in my own and to have the guts to get out there and pursue it. It’s also taken forty years to finally have something to say. Having anything of substance takes time and preparation. I didn’t “waste” forty years of my life as I sometimes have thought. God was giving me a story and a message to be able to share with others. Music and writing is the platform on which to be able to do that.
Finally being able to go into a studio and begin recording an album, and actually having something of substance to say is both something to be thankful for AND is apart of the call and purpose of my life. Also, getting paid to play live music at a couple of venues in the area lately has also been a huge blessing and another way God has granted opportunity for me in pursuing purpose.
I say all of this simply to emphasize that the call and purpose on your life is the most important thing. When you find that, nothing else matters. When you step into that and are living in that, it doesn’t matter who is clapping for you and who isn’t. If they walked away from you, let them walk. If a door was shut in your face, quit trying to force it open. What will matter at the end of your life is fulfilling the purpose you were put on this earth to do. God will fill in the rest. He will fill those spaces with the people and the opportunities that are FOR YOU. Once you get used to clapping for yourself, the roar of the crowd, the love and acceptance of others, is simply a huge bonus.
Thankfulness and Purpose.
These are the things that have helped me in getting through dark seasons. Thankful for the things you DO have rather than focusing on what you don’t. Discovering and then walking out your purpose on this earth. Doing what you were created to do. These are the things that have kept me going and have helped me to stay focused and have helped me crawl my way out of some pretty heavy seasons.
I hope this has helped you and encouraged you as well. I hope you know that you have value, that you are deeply loved, that you matter, and that you have a story to tell. However God has created you to tell it.
Live on Purpose and WITH purpose.
Do the work.
God will take care of the rest.