S.T.O.P. for God

coping mechanisms

I have had some bumps in the road called life: grew up in an alcoholic home; watched as my dad died at 55 due to his alcohol addiction; a year into my marriage, I was diagnosed with bipolar; and I had to give up a career due to the stress that was aggravating my bipolar. I know many of you reading this post can top this list with the pain that you have experienced or are experiencing in your life.

It does not matter what you are going through, life can be hard. When life’s hardships wants to swallow me up and spit me out, I sometimes have a tendency to catastrophize the situation no matter what the issue may be. I might begin to worry needlessly and think of all kinds of situational outcomes. It would usually be something overdramatic and involve someone dying, getting a divorce, losing a limb or losing something valuable. I know this may sound a little silly to you, but in my mind, it was real. You may not catastrophize your situation, but instead you worry or press the panic button.

In the moments of a panic-infused moment, I have to S.T.O.P. before all of the catastrophizing gets started.

Ssilence – get to a place where you can silence your brain, your environment, your phone, the people around you, etc. This way, you will be at a better place to hear from God. Psalm 46:10

Ttalk – talk to God. It does not have to be a formal prayer. It can be “Lord, help me!” Go to Him and tell Him what is on your heart. Psalm 4:1

Oobserve – the great holiness of God by praising Him for who He is. Nothing is too hard for Him to handle. Jeremiah 32:27

Pponder – on scripture that will help you through your difficult time. Matthew 4:1-11

I have used the S.T.O.P. method in my life when my bipolar brain starts racing and my thoughts become a runaway train. I have used S.T.O.P. when I have self-esteem issues due to a childhood in an alcoholic home. This method always helps to set my mind at ease and gives me a stable ground to walk on. When I feel the peace which surpasses all understanding, I know He is with me.

Does Jesus ever leave us when the going gets tuff? The Bible promises that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). I may be an adult child of an alcoholic who has bipolar, but I know that I am not alone and that will get me through anything.