Recently, my daughter, Sarah, and I went on a coffee run and sat in the cafe talking about life. She brought up COVID-19 and how some of the challenges she faced made her feel like a “shaken-up soda can.”
I encouraged her to go back and write about it, as I was sure many could relate. When I shared it with my team, I was shocked by how many could identify with her.
What you read below was written and edited by my daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Cutchins.
I hope you are encouraged by her story (and her first public blog). 🙂
from the teenage life of sarah elizabeth cutchins…
I’ve found myself thinking bad thoughts on many happy occasions, just because my brain is so fit to think negatively or in a “glass-half-empty” mindset. My emotions get the best of me many times, and not all of them are positive.
The past year has taken an enormous mental toll on me, which is hard to forget when most of my thoughts circle back to terrible things that happened last year. But I find that it helps to have a single thought when those things come back to mind. It’s really simple, but it’s effective. It’s changed a lot about me and a lot about the way I think.
“There’s no use in thinking over things that have already happened. It’s better to focus on the moment and keep moving forward.”
It states that it’s better to think happy thoughts at happy times because, let’s be honest, this world isn’t always happy. It’s a dying and deteriorating world without God. I spent a lot of time alone during quarantine, which led to me having trouble connecting with people. I felt lonely and depressed; I fell into a routine I hated. It was terrible. The worst part was that I wasn’t connecting with God, and I knew it but did nothing.
I hated myself for it, which caused even more negative thoughts about myself to arise. I suffered in silence because I knew that thousands of other people were going through way worse, including my parents and my sister. It caused a lot of pent-up emotions, and in turn, caused me to hide what I felt a lot of times.
When happy things came around, like church events or fun things, at the smallest moments, I found myself going, “At the end of this, I have to go straight back to what was happening before,” and I felt depressed and angry.
I focused more on the negatives than the positives during even the joyous times. I wasn’t connected with God as I am now, so everything I felt was sitting inside me like a shaken-up soda can. I didn’t know what to do to get relief, and it was so frustrating I felt like I couldn’t breathe sometimes. Even when I think of it now, I feel terrible, and I want to sit on my bed and let everything out.
The relief and the joy I found when I realized God was there the entire time overwhelmed me in the best way. I started listening more to sermons, getting more involved in church, finding God, investing time in Him, the list goes on.
I slowly began to feel happier, and the negative emotions just lessened. I’ll admit, they’re not all gone, that’s for sure, but focusing on God made a big chunk of it melt away. Focusing on happy things when you’re not exactly feeling happy can be extremely difficult, and I speak from experience.
When you take a moment to realize that all the stuff happening is only temporary and that God is ALWAYS there for you, a lot of your burdens will lift. It may not all go away, but at least it’s an improvement.
In a world full of negativity and hate and depression and anxiety and just, everything, it’s so easy to be sidetracked and focus on that stuff instead of keeping your eyes on God, and what He wants, and what kind of relief and joy He will bring you.
This Christmas season, I implore you to give more attention to God and what He has to offer instead of what this selfish and human world can make you bear.