The doldrums are those parts of the great oceans near the equator where the winds are frequently calm. Sailing ships relying solely on wind power could languish here for days or weeks. Time spent here could push sailors to the brink of insanity.
If mortality is a voyage across a vast ocean in a leaky boat, then each of us are sure to encounter the doldrums.
Some possess coping strategies enabling them to recover quickly from these times of discouragement. Others, for whatever reason, languish in hopelessness so that even the joy that comes from discipleship is sucked from their sails.
None of us is immune from the doldrums. But I offer three tools that may help improve coping strategies for when the wind is taken from the sails of our already leaky boats.
These are tools, not cures.
- Reach down
- Reach out
- Reach up
No one needs a calling to serve.
No one needs to be assigned to help another.
There is no act too small or attempt to insignificant while serving others.
A kind and sincere note, a smile, a phone call, or even a prayer are all acts of reaching down.
No act of pure love will ever be wasted.
Reaching down may be the tool we need to cope.
Too many of us have misguided notions of self-reliance. When we face despair, we retreat and shut people out. Besides, all I need is faith and all my problems will disappear, right?
Isolation from others is one of Satan’s favorite tools to block our happiness. We need the courage to reach out for help. We do not reach out so others can solve our problems. But a burden shared is a burden lifted.
Reaching out is a vital tool to cope. Please, allow us to help.
I have learned that when I exhaust all avenues for relief, including reaching down and reaching out, there are times when my burdens are so heavy my only option is to reach up to God and say: “I can’t do it. I need Your help.”
Why is this so hard?
Perhaps we view this act of submission as weakness. Maybe we fear that there really is more we could do and we don’t want to burden God.
Yet, such myopic thinking denies us God’s greatest gift — the pure joy that comes from knowing He loves you.
Again, reaching up may not solve the problem.
By yoking yourself with God, allowing Him to show His love, realizing you are never alone can lighten your burden.
Reaching down, reaching out, and reaching up are not cures. But they can be effective tools enabling us to endure.
If we can endure, we have eternal life within our grasps.