Downtrodden is a word that you don’t really hear in every day conversation, but it’s the word that describes my mood of the day. No, the word that describes the season I thought I was in. Apparently when I feel downtrodden I also exaggerate. I was just driving to work, staring at the road through tear filled eyes and it just hit me, “Oh no, I’m downtrodden!” I’ve never even used that word in my life, but there it was. You know when you have a bad day and you just say “I HATE MY LIFE!” and really life is pretty darn good? That’s what it’s like when perceiving life through downtrodden colored glasses.
When visualizing the word downtrodden, picture a field of grass, a meadow, if you will. Here in the middle of this meadow, there’s an area where the grass has been stepped on over & over. Taking the weight of the daily happenings and it’s become so trampled that it’s now flat and discolored. It’s not like the surrounding grass, green and blowing all carefree in the breeze. It looks, for lack of a better word, sad. It’s sad grass. That’s what it feels like to be downtrodden. You feel stepped on, flat, and lifeless while everything else around you is bright, beautiful, & full of life.
Downtrodden is where pity parties happen. Down there at the bottom, in the muck, by yourself. Or at least you think you’re by yourself. You’re so caught up in being beat down, broken, and unsatisfied that you are only thinking about yourself and you don’t see everything else that’s going on around you. You lose sight of the bigger picture because you feel as though your spirit has been crushed.
When we’re in these times we have to stop focusing on what we FEEL and start focusing on what we KNOW. God has made us so many promises and the Bible tells us so many things about ourselves, and these are the moments when we need to recall every “cliché” Bible verse that we can think of. We only call those verses cliché because we hear them so often. The reality is that it’s usually the ones that we hear the most, the cliches, that are the ones we’re going to need later and they’re there right when you need them because you couldn’t forget them even if you tried. We will need to be reminded that God has a plan and a purpose for us. We’ll need to remember that God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Our feelings are what we often refer to as our heart… and the heart deceives. The heart grabs hold of whatever’s there at the moment, whatever our emotions are telling us we should be feeling. And feelings are good! They have a time, they have a place, and they let us know a lot about what’s going on around us. While these feelings are valid, we need to check where they’re coming from. Are we having these feelings because maybe we’ve lost our peace as a result of wandering outside of God’s will for us? Are we having these feelings because we’ve stopped communicating with God and we’re not on the same page, so it causes us to grow frustrated? Are we having these feelings because we’ve become stagnant and complacent and too comfortable where we’re at spiritually? Are we having these feelings because maybe we’re in a time of testing? Maybe the enemy is trying to discourage us in whatever particular season we are in. Perhaps the lesson we are learning is helping prepare us for something greater. That’s why we need to turn to what we know.
We have to remain secure in our identity. Being secure in our identity eliminates insecurities and the effects & influence they have on our emotions. It makes it easier to decipher where everything else is coming from. It makes it easier to actually search your heart and know where those feelings are coming from. It’s so much easier to search for something when there’s less clutter taking up space. I can find my car keys so much faster when I clean my purse out. It’s ridiculous. When we focus on what we know instead of what we feel it helps us get to the root of why we are feeling it. If it contradicts what we know, then we don’t need to spend too much time validating that feeling.
We need to be better at differentiating between the voice of the world, the voice of God, our own voice, and the voice of the enemy. We must make sure we’re taking those thoughts captive and sorting them out, deciding which ones we need to keep and which ones we need to dismiss because focusing on anything other than what we know about God and what He says about us is a waste of time and will not help us navigate our situation in a godly manner. If we don’t we’ll be stuck there at the bottom, in the muck, all downtrodden at our pity party for one. Or worse, we’ll sink lower and lower and then you’re just stuck in this deep, dark pit of despair at what’s referred to as “rock bottom.” But hey, at least there’s nowhere to go but up from there! You know… unless you just stay there, which won’t happen if you actually want out. Sometimes that’s what it takes: hitting rock bottom. To be completely out of control so that we can rely on the One who is in total control. But wouldn’t you rather just save yourself the pain & the heart ache and let Him help you where you’re at right now?
The point is that when you’re all downtrodden and focusing on “me,” it takes the focus off of God and everything that He’s going to accomplish through you. I understand sometimes we get spiritually frustrated because we feel like we’re not doing enough. We feel like we’re not doing what we’re called to do. But we’re called to wait on the Lord. We need to remember and we need to trust that everything will happen on His time. His watch may run faster or slower than ours, but it’s always on time. That’s the big picture. That’s what we don’t see when we’re down there focusing on us and the things we are dissatisfied with.
We need to realize that it’s OK to have those feelings sometimes. In fact, those times are necessary part of our Christian walk; to build strength & character & smooth out certain areas that need to be dealt with. That frustration shows us that we have a hunger to serve, we have a hunger to do more. It’s a passion and that’s a good thing! It shows us that we’re not satisfied with being complacent and stagnant. We need to make sure that we don’t misplace that dissatisfaction on God. He gives us what we need when we need it and He is always enough. So if we’re discontent we need to look at where that’s coming from. Are we discontent because we’re not doing what we’re called to do and He’s trying to get us moving in that direction? Like I said, we have feelings for reason. God doesn’t do anything without reason including blessing us with so many different emotions.
So we need to check our motives and check our heart, make sure they’re pure and hopefully that feeling of being downtrodden doesn’t last your “whole life,” that you don’t “hate your life,” that it’s just today: a bad day where maybe your emotions got the best of you. Or maybe you were focusing on what you feel more than what you know. Know who you are (your identity in Christ) & know Whose you are because when you know Who you belong to, it puts everything else in perspective.