Shake Off the Spirit of Heaviness

A Funny Girl’s Guide to Overcome Despair

And Finally, Laugh Again

I am a woman of faith. You may know me as the woman who laughs a lot, openly talks about chin whiskers and peeing her pants in public. I’m the girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously. So, it may surprise you to know, that I’ve had seasons of deep despair. The most recent left me with a heart so heavy, my thoughts frightened me. Realizing that God did not give us the spirit of heaviness but of joy seems an impossibility when we’re under what feels like the weight of the world.

But that’s just it; we don’t need to carry the world’s stuff. We have to pick up God’s thing to overcome despair. So, I’m sharing the basics to “shake it off” God’s way. Sorry, Taylor!  More than that, I’m telling you exactly what that looks like in my real life. Weak spots and all.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”  Isaiah 61:3

Smiles can be decieving. They can hide hurt and despair. I'm sharing how I break free from a spirit of heaviness and found my smile again. || dimplesonmywhat.com

Annie Shirt (Plum): Aventura Clothing (plus)  ||  Spencer Reversible Vest: Aventura Clothing || Watch: Viable Harvest via Amazon

An Imperfect  Reality

I think I have started this post a hundred times and just couldn’t get my thoughts together enough to share them. Will I be able to tell you enough of my story convey to you how broken and hurt I’ve been without giving you details that could exacerbate my situation? Even for a transparent person, putting myself out there for possible judgment is scary.  But once again I thought, what good is my story unless it can help someone else. 

I also want to be an authentic voice for the real women, but especially women in midlife. We might look around and think that other women have it all together. You may look at the pictures I share of smiles and laughter and think that I’m one of those peeps who’s got it all figured out. Nope! 

Did you know that some of the best photos I’ve had taken are total fake-outs? Not all of them of course. But nothing gets me laughing faster than saying to myself or even out loud, “My life is so perfect. I don’t have any problems at all. My kids are great. My marriage is amazing… and so on.”  My good friend, who is often my photographer will even say to me, “Do your ‘my life is perfect’ thing.'” 

So, welcome into the sarcastic hilarity which is my perfectly imperfect life. I pray you’ll walk away from here with new hope for your less than ideal life situations that might have you on the brink of a breakdown or feelings of desperation. I may not be perfect, but I know someone who is. And together with Him, we can both overcome despair

When The Spirit of Heaviness Sets In

I have a recurring situation in my life that rocks me to my core. It’s not a one-time explosive event. It’s more like water torture. Behaviors that are like slow drips of someone else’s emotional crap dropped on me until it feels like one more will leave me drowning in a pool of it. But then, the infested waters recede, and I get lulled into thinking maybe things have changed, only to feel and smell the poo all over again.

While I can’t spill the deets for fear of alienating myself from this person who’s important to me, trust me when I tell you, it’s hurtful. In the past, I have been reduced to a sobbing heap on my basement floor. I have cried at some point every day for months on end. But the latest season of jabs and digs had me, for one split second, thinking of doing myself harm. This is NOT a highlight in a Jesus girls life.

You can overcome dispair. How a funny girl finds her laugh again. || Inspirational || Find Joy || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

Give yourself some grace and a timeout. Cozy up on the couch with Netflix and a cozy blanket (I like this one!) ||  Fleece Lounge Pants

These disturbing thoughts came in an instant, like seeing your life before your eyes when you’re about to get into a car crash. I couldn’t change the person or situation. But what I could change was if I was still here and in their lives. It scared me even to have a thought like that enter my mind. But at that moment my heart and soul were weary and burdened down to the max.

It took me a couple of days to start tunneling out of the hopeless valley I found myself in. This funny girl had to remember how to fight like a Jesus girl to be able to find her laugh again.

How to Overcome Despair

Identify The Oppressor

The truth is, we CAN’T change people or situations. Period. We also can’t fight them. It wouldn’t do any good and only exacerbate the situation. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a fight to engage in. I had to battle my way out from under the spirit of heaviness that was suffocating me. That fight is not here on earth. There’s a war in the heavens for our hearts and minds.

The enemy wants nothing more than to get his claws into us. He will use whatever means he can. This time in my case he’s using personal relationships. But he might use your marriage, your job, your finances, your mind or maybe your vices and addictions.

What he wants, is to get us to look away from God for other solutions that are even poorer choices than Ben & Jerrys or Cheetos. But, God lays out an action plan to help us. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

You CAN overcome dispair. It isn't easy, but the principles are simple. || Find joy || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

Step 1: Pray. Duh!

God said that all of us who are weary should come to Him. (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Just after my desperate thought, I prayed. Isn’t that what Jesus girls are supposed to do in these situations, pray? But, it wasn’t easy! At that second, I couldn’t even tell Mr. Dimples what I was thinking. I don’t remember what I said to God, but I don’t think it was full of hope and vigor.

In Real Life:

Honestly, my prayer was most likely tearful, wordless, disjointed and shallow. I didn’t have the emotional strength to talk to God in that way.  But He made way for situations just like this.

The scripture tells us:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26 NIV

The point is; turn away from the burden or grief and turn toward God. He’ll do the rest. Yay!

When you can pray coherently, pray specifically. Remember, Satan is not only trying to get you, but he wants or may already have your adversary. Pray for THEM too!

Prayer is just talking. We don’t have to sound like scripture. So talk it out. 

Step 2: Praise!

Oh man, it’s getting harder! If you’re a Christian, you already know that there are a ton of scriptures that tell us to praise God in all situations.

But seriously, how is this possible? Because, we’re a sobbing mess and can barely even pray (aka talk), remember? But there’s a keyword absent from every single text; for.

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thess. 5:18

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Ps. 34:1

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, a]giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

Right now we only need to praise God. That’s it! Nothing more. Phew.

We aren’t going to praise Him for the situation. Obviously! That would be like turning around and thanking your dad for your brother slapping you across the face because it must be teaching you something. That would be sort of ridiculous.

And guess what? We don’t even have to think of anything to be thankful for. You can certainly create a gratitude list if that helps you. But come on. When you’re grieving and heaving, you’re probably not gonna come up with much. But God!

In Real Life:

Here’s what that looks like for me. I keep it simple. “Thank you, God. Thank you for being God. I praise you for being my creator, savior, and friend. Thanks for loving me.”

Step 3: Find a Song

When I’m dealing with smaller challenges finding a song is step one for me. When grief or pain is so heavy I can barely swallow, I can’t “do the work” by myself. An inspirational song will often start the unlocking process for me. Even if it just causes me to cry and release. 

In Real Life:

I had and have been obsessed with the Michael W. Smith’s song, Surrounded (Fight My Battles). You can at the bottom of this post. It’s only 18 words sung repetitively.

It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you… This is how I fight my battles…

 

On that particularly lonely night, these words were NOT running around my head. But once they started reverberating is when I began to see hope for real victory over my oppression. A visual of Joshua’s army marching around the walls of Jericho blowing trumpets forms in my head. (Joshua 6)

Do you get that they were tooting horns? They weren’t singing, fighting, praying or commanding their foes to drop their weapons. I wonder if they felt silly. This was an army for goodness sake. Maybe they thought they were playing their own funeral song. Could they have started tentatively but then grown louder, stronger and finally, fearless? The only action they needed to take was to walk around the wall playing music in the name of the Lord. And they were victorious because they did it God’s way!

Other Songs You Might Like

Tauren Wells – Hills and Valleys

Scott Krippayne – Sometimes He Calms the Storm

Tamela Mann – Take Me to the King

Gary Oliver – Cast All Your Care 

Know This Strategy By Heart

As if on cue, while I’ve been working on this post, my husband lost his job. Guys, right now there’s a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach while I’m sitting in a beautiful home with a considerably higher mortgage than the house before it. Talk about a spirit of heaviness!

However, I believe in everything I’ve just told you. But it never gets easier. Does that mean I’m a sucky Christian? I hope not.  

I do hope that I will be a real life and in real time example of a Jesus Girl. One who admits she’s weak. A woman of faith who still feels fear and gets IBS and reaches for the Cheetos in a crisis. But I’m also a funny girl who finds her laugh again because she prays, praises and sings her way to joy. Joy in the Lord!

Other Practical Things To Do:

The above three steps are the very first course of action to take in a crisis. But once you’re out of the danger zone, so to speak here are a few other ideas for getting out of the funk.

  • Now, you can make that gratitude list.
  • Exercise. Even if it’s just an evening walk after dinner or with a friend.
  • Pray for other people. This gets you looking outside of yourself.
  • Do the things that fulfill you. DIY projects, antiquing, shopping, reading, etc.

Can You Relate?

Are you up against your own walls? Are they like gut punches or cumulative like and Jenga tower that’s teetering? Whether it’s people, job stresses, illness, emotional or spiritual strongholds, I hope you find inspiration in these resources. If you allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength, you won’t stay cloaked in heaviness for long.

It’s is said we fight spiritual battles on our knees. I get that. But like a tangible war, there are stages to battle. The first is strategizing. Prayer is us, going to our commander, giving him the scouting report and getting the game plan.

But then, we have to get up and raise our horns, voices or hands and dig out.

What can I pray for you?

It helps me to pray for you too. It allows me to look outside of myself. If you’re struggling, I’d love to pray for you. Drop a note in the comments or send me an email. www.dimplesonmywhat@gmail.com

Be encouraged!

With Love,

Paula


Want to remember all the scriptures and song resources in this post? PIN IT below.

Overcome despair || Sometimes life gut punches you. Sometimes it's a slow like water torture, but your joy is gone. I'm sharing how this girl who loves to laugh, found herself in a very dark place and how I get my smile back. || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

 


If you are clinically depressed and/or have a serious thought of harming yourself, there is no shame in seeking professional help and medication. I believe God offers solutions and healing in multiple ways. Please seek help.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Online Chat: Suicide Prevention Lifeline

How to overcome dispair and break free from a spirit of heaviness. It's not easy but it's a simple plan. You CAN be victorious with the right strategy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

60 Comments

  1. Maggie Fieger
    /

    Hi Paula,
    Thank you for tackling this. It can’t have been easy. I’ll not go into details either but I also have a person or two that hurt me, probably without intention. Also the world isn’t pleasant and that tends to activate my depression. You are right. Jesus is the best place to start.

    I’m praying He will help me through

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      You’re very welcome Maggie. With the exception of bullies and truly evil people, most people don’t hurt us intentionally. Most are acting out of their own dysfunction, lack of communication skills and unhappiness. Thinking of it like that helps me to have more empathy for my oppressor. We also have to realize they are allowing Satan to use them for his purpose, which is to destroy us.

      As for the world activating your depression consider that as a child of God we are not of this world. We are part of the kingdom of God. Take your eyes off of what’s going on here and focus on what you can do for the Kingdom. A book you might find encouraging is Kingdom Woman by Dr. Tony Evans. I’ve only just started it, but I’m already feeling empowered for what I can do to further the Kingdom.

  2. /

    Well…you’re definitely not alone…the last few years have been the hardest of my life and I felt the same emotions you did. Still do, at times. But I’ve learned there is purpose in our pain AND pain in our purpose! I’ve learned we (as in WOMEN) can do really hard near impossible things and come out STRONGER, filled with more grace and mercy and compassion than we ever thought we could experience. THAT is the gift of the journey and the pain. That’s where we meet JESUS…the raw, all accepting, all loving, real creator! If it takes deep pain…guttural aching to meet Jesus like you’ve never known him before…BRING IT ON! We are in this together and I thank you for your truth and transparency…you are loved…🙌🏻❤️

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      What a great testimony Melody! You have encouraged me with it and I urge you to use that to encourage other women as well. I so appreciate your love and prayers.

      Prayers for continued blessing and strength in your life.
      Paula

  3. PJ
    /

    Thank you for your honesty. I can’t remember how I found your Instagram feed, but as soon as I did I thought ‘here is my spirit sister!’ This topic is something I struggle with and the sad part is no one knows the true depths. Like you, I have a smile plastered on my face so the world doesn’t know. So thank you for this and sharing your steps for coping. You are in my prayers and I hope you know you made a difference.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      PJ, I encourage you to reach out to God. He’s ready to come to your aid, we just have to show up and talk. Beyond that, reach out to other people. I failed to mention in this post that I did talk to my husband, a friend and both of my sisters. It was important to me that someone else knew what I was feeling. It was like accountability for me and a safety net.

      If you don’t have anyone, I will be that person. Just let me know.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  4. Gina D from Texas
    /

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. So often blog readers think the bloggers they read have perfect lives which may cause them to wonder why their own life is in disarray. We all have a common enemy who is roaming to and fro seeking whom he may devour. That enemy does not care for us but only wants to destroy us in whatever way possible. But more importantly thank you for encouraging readers to follow the One an only God who loves us and wants to carry our burdens – we just have to go to Him! I love the song by 7eventh Time Down – Just Say Jesus. Sometimes all we can do is just say Jesus. But the power and comfort and love in that name … oh my! Bless you for sharing your heart and for sharing Jesus. ❤️

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thank you for your encouragement Gina. Writing a post like this is a little like giving birth. It’s hard, painful and ugly and you only hope it was worth it. The number of women who have already reached out to me with their own struggles and prayer requests has me feeling like my mission was accomplished.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  5. Patrice
    /

    Thank you for your transparency. I pray that you and your family be blessed beyond measure.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I appreciate your support and prayers, Patrice.

      Thanks,
      Paula

  6. /

    What a Post!!!! I have to re-read this again and again. There is always a way out. . .He knows best. Thanks Mucho!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I’m glad you took something positive away from this Neti!

      Hugs,
      Paula

  7. /

    Take Me To the King has been with me through more than one season of despair. As has that old Gaither song Because He Lives. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to take our pain to the Lord in real life.

  8. /

    I loved your post it was amazing so real. That is what we need to hear as women that we are real no matter what. We all have issues with our body our hair but we are all here for each other. Women like myself needs to know that when they want to reach out to someone that we are there for each other.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I agree Dianne. Not everyone needs to tell everything, but the more transparent more women with a public platform are, the further along we will be in connecting on a deeper personal level. All of us might be less likely to compare ourselves unfairly with other women too.

      XO,
      Paula

  9. Another step: call your sister. She might need you to need her too. Love you so much 😘

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      You know it. I did!

      Love ya BUNCHES!

  10. Thanks for this real and honest look at dealing with the storms of life. It is easy to think others have the perfect life, are the perfect Christians, have it all together, etc., etc. But honestly we all struggle and when we accept the fact that no matter what, we cannot change another person we can focus on ourselves. Scripture is comforting and praying is just simply speaking to God – when I start there I feel better. It’s good to know we don’t have to shoulder the burden alone; we have hope and faith in the only One we can truly count on.
    xo,
    Kellyann

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      That will preach Kellyann! 😉

      Blessings,
      Paula

  11. Jan
    /

    Exactly what I needed to read right now with my struggles. We often forget to take it to Him when we are trying to make sense of our problems. Thank you for showing your imperfect human side!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Most of my sides are imperfectly human Jan. 😉 I hope you will continue to be blessed by the scriptures and songs I’ve shared. It’s a journey.

      XO,
      Paula

  12. Heide V
    /

    💜❤️🧡💛💚💙

  13. jodie filogomo
    /

    You are always so real, and it’s so encouraging. It’s life and anyone who says different is lying.
    Sending hugs and love, and especially prayers
    Jodie

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks for saying that Jodie. A post like this is often like giving birth. It’s hard, painful and ugly. But I can only hope what comes out is beautiful and has a purpose.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  14. Jan Fusco
    /

    Thank you for sharing. You will be in my prayers. We all have struggles, wars, battles…it is comforting to know that we can turn to our Father for strength, comfort, answers.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Yessssss and AMEN, Jan! Thanks for the prayers.

      Paula

  15. /

    Hugs to you! Thanks for sharing that! I often feel overwhelmed with some this right now that I can chat…it’s helpful to know I’m not the only one ❤️ Love you girl!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I’ll take all the hugs and lovin’ I can get. I’m as close as a DM or phone call if you ever need. I’m also a good prayer for other people… just sayin’. 😉

      XO,
      Paula

  16. Robin
    /

    You are such a blessing! I knew you were a ‘kindred spirit’.😉
    The Lord is faithful.🦋
    Thank you for your vulnerability, being real and sharing it.
    With many prayers and hugs.🤗🙏🏻🌼

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thank you, thank you, and thanks again Robin. I believe like you and the Lord will be faithful to those who love Him.

      XO,
      Paula

  17. Awesome post Paula. My husband is fighting gastric cancer so I have the days that you speak of. If not for my faith and trust in the Lord I would never make it through my days. God is good.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I had no idea of this Victoria. Prayers for you and your tribe too!

      Hugs,
      Paula

  18. Jeannie
    /

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your real life. We have gone through being laid off. I will keep you in my prayers.

  19. Mikki
    /

    Thank you for sharing your raw feelings!!! Your words were comforting.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I’m so glad to hear you found this post helpful, Mikki. No matter how open of a person you are, sharing certain things are hard.

  20. Wonderfully written. You definitely have the gift of writing/sharing/relating. I’ve been depressed and full of despair. I thought of ending my life when my only child (my son) died 11 years ago. I’m happy to report that I haven’t been that down since I got out of that depression. It took over a year, as I prayed, attended grief counseling, read books, got outside and kept the work schedule going. I never lost my faith in God and I believe there is a bigger picture that I’ll learn more about one day. I also hold to the faith that I’ll see my son again. Despair and depression are very scary. I actually fear it. I can’t watch my son’s videos or look at pictures too long and not by myself even after 11 years. Tear come and go but anguish and the depths of despair are not welcomed any more. I am a happy person naturally and I’m thankful that I’m back to being that! Thank you for sharing! Much love and prayers for your husband.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      I cannot even imagine your grief, Cindy. But praise the good Lord and the Holy Spirit for COMFORT! I am so glad you’re in a better place today. I believe you are right and you will one day know the how God intends to use this for His glory. But I have an inkling that He already is through your testimony.

      Much love my FRIEND!
      Paula

  21. Diane Sundberg
    /

    Paula, thank you for your honesty. I will pray for you. I love the fact that you’re so real, and enjoy your blog. May He give you peace and healing.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Oh Girl, your prayers are so appreciated.

      XO,
      Paula

  22. Such a beautifully written testimony about the power of prayer. I think sometimes we forget that we are to praise Him through the tough times because, oh my word, it’s just so hard to do. But I’m so happy to know that He’s patient with us and that He offers guidance through His word. Keep your head up. Sending love your way.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      You are right Daenel. Praise is one of the most incredibly hard things when we’re in the trenches, but so necessary.

      I can feel your love from here.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  23. Kimbee
    /

    Social media is so full of “perfect people”. Your honesty and transparency is a welcome gift and blessing to those of us who are IMperfect. Prayers for your husband’s re-employment. Where man closes a door, God opens a window.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Kimbee,

      Are you a Sound of Music fan? I think Maria or the Reverend Mother use a similar quote. And I totally agree! I know God sees the big picture. But it’s keeping faith in the moments in between that I find the most challenging.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  24. Paula,

    You have a truly authentic voice when you write from your heart.
    I know your heart is heavy and you have dark thoughts but your faith will help you get through this.
    I have been challenged recently by someone who has been bullying me with threats which have caused me to have sleepless nights but I stop and say a little prayer to ask for guidance.
    Sometimes we need to sit quietly and wait for the answers, but they will come.
    I am sorry that your husband has lost his job during this sad time for you.
    I will light a candle and keep you in my prayers, sweet friend.

    Robin

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Oh, I hate that for you Robin. Why do people think it’s okay to bully anyone. Especially if we’re adults. I’ll be praying that things will calm so you can get some sleep. 😉 Thanks for the love and the prayers.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  25. Kristin
    /

    You inspire me. ❤️ Thank you for your raw, honest, beautifully written post. I needed every word. God is using your gifts and talents! You are making a difference. Praying now for you and your hubs. 🙏

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks for the prayers Kristin. We will NEVER turn that down. I also know God uses intercessors when we can’t pray ourselves.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  26. Lisa C in Dallas
    /

    Thank you for your honesty. We all struggle. It’s hard to remember we’re Children of the King when our husband loses his job, yet another bill comes in the mail, someone’s sick, etc. I put it in God’s hands knowing he loves me more than I can imagine and then I too often do the snatch and grab – and take that worry right back. Music helps me as does sewing. My husband’s parents used to be an “interesting” part of our lives until I heard a sermon on the 10 Commandments. The pastor said we needed to honor their position in our lives, not necessary honor them (their actions). What a huge turnaround for me. I was able to serve them (my husband also) in this capacity without thought of their reaction or spirit. We do what we can! Good luck!

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Amen Sister!

      I’ve had to employ a similar help as your pastor suggested in many other relationships in my life, including clients I used to work with as a manicurist. There are always people we struggle to get along with, but when I looked at why those particular people might have their idiosyncrasies that bothered me it helped me understand them better. And, ultimately have more tolerance for them.

      Thanks for the love Lisa.

  27. Malisa Thacker
    /

    Thanks for being so raw & honest…prayers for you & your family 😍

  28. Corina Rodriguez
    /

    Oh beautiful Paula, you are truly a glistening gem in Gods crown of glory! What a gift you have been given! May God continue to bless others through you and may you receive an over abundance of blessings in return. I feel your pain sister and I share in your prayers for you and your hubby. I know what its like when you are at a point of feeling so weary that you can not take one more blow then what a gut punch it is to receive the news of the loss of your husbands job. I know one of the most difficult times for a man is to feel the inability to provide for his family. I also know God will use this time to bring you both closer to Him (and to each other) and to give you sweet, sumptuous moments to savor for a lifetime. Love you sister! ❤

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words, Corina. God is providing and we will see how He uses this situation to further the Kingdom.

      Hugs,
      Paula

  29. Lorie
    /

    I have been there! These are the exact things that God has used to get me out of the pit(more than once). You’re ability to put it all in words is amazing to me. Thank you! I have emailed this to myself for future reference and reminder. I am so excited to have discovered your blog and Instagram feed. God is using you to minister to me. I just wish I had all day to go back and read all of your posts. Praying today is a day of victory for you.

    • Paula
      Author
      /

      Lorie,

      You can’t know how much I appreciate your words and of course, the prayers. Hubs started a job this week. The money isn’t all there, but we are thanking God for the provision even if it’s just to tide us over until he lands somewhere else or this grows into something else.

      Hugs,
      Paula

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap