As my feet were hitting the dirt path, a butterfly flittered in front of me. It seemed to be leading the way for me to follow. Throughout my run, a butterfly floated effortlessly in front of me and just as one left, another would replace it.
Lately it seems as if my family is floating from crisis to crisis like the butterfly. We are flitting from difficulty to difficulty without a moment to stop and reflect on where we came from or where we are going.
I find myself comfortable in crisis. I hardly know what to do with the quiet that comes after the storm. An underlying fear of more crisis bubbles to the surface for the next several weeks. I find myself looking for the next possible catastrophe, because that is all my body has known recently. I wonder if you can relate.
An adrenaline seems to carry me through the worst of a difficult circumstance. I find myself functioning on overdrive. When I finally have time to slow down, I realize that I either can’t slow down or I completely crash. It’s as if my body only knows how to live in either extreme. The comfortable middle of the road pace alludes me.
Through the years I’ve discovered a few helpful tips that have helped me function after a crisis. I want to share them with you today with the hope that they will help you as well.
1. Look Up
Often when I am in crisis, time is hard to find. I bounce from task to task with barely a moment to breathe, let alone time to sit in God’s presence. So when that time is over, I struggle to sit still. I especially struggle to quiet my brain enough to spend time with God. But that is the very thing that feeds my weary and worn out soul.
If I take time to stop and look to God, my soul can find the food it’s been craving. Spending time with God doesn’t have to only be through reading the Bible and praying. I think listening to worship music, sitting alone in a quiet setting, or going for a walk or a run can also invite God’s presence.
When I give myself time to soak in God’s presence, He can start to heal my broken places. It also reminds me that He sees me and has not forgotten about me. When circumstances are hard, it’s easy to let your emotions take over. And often in my life, my emotions scream things that are contrary to the heart of God. But by taking time to soak in His presence, truth can override my emotions. The verse below has been a great reminder to my soul lately.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8)
When a time of crisis is over, I realize that I’ve been figuratively holding my breath. My current reality has likely looked different, so as soon as things slow down, I immediately want life to return to normal.
Unfortunately for those around me, I do everything I can to regain my sense of normal. I do not give myself grace to slowly adjust back to life. I also have little mercy for anyone who is standing in my way (usually my kids).
I’m realizing that this behavior isn’t helpful when I apply it to difficult situations. After the death of my mother-in-law, I realized that my soul needed time to breathe in God’s grace. Once I received grace, I could then breathe out God’s mercy to those around me. If you want to read more on this concept click here.
We have a Heavenly Father who stands next to us and wants to apply grace to our hurting souls.
2 Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that it’s through our weakness that God’s power can shine, and that’s really what we need after a time of crisis.
“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
3. Accept and then Entrust
Even though I often want life to return to normal after a tough season, I am learning that life will never go back to “normal.” Life will be forever different. My life looks different since my mother-in-law passed away. After contracting shingles in 2013, my body functions differently than it did. Chances are that whatever difficult life event has taken place for you, your life will always look slightly different than it did.
After going through several difficult seasons in my life, I can appreciate that life will no longer be the same. I have learned that there can be much to gain from going through hard circumstances.
My tendency though is to avoid dealing with the pain that I just encountered. I find ways that I can escape my current reality. Television usually provides me with that much needed escape. And while some element of escape can be helpful, I find that at some point I still have to face reality. And the longer I avoid it, the harder it is to handle when I actually do deal with it.
Through my favorite Bible study, Gracestoration, I learned a very helpful concept of accepting and entrusting. When juggling several balls, a juggler catches each one and then releases it into the air so that he can receive the next ball. Like the juggler, we are often forced to juggle multiple circumstances in our lives. We must accept the first circumstance and then release (entrust) it back up to God so that we will be ready to encounter the next situation.
This sounds simple, but I often avoid the acceptance piece of this. I’d rather ignore what just happened than actually accept it.
On the flip side, I will sometimes only accept what has happened and forget to entrust it back up to God. That causes me to feel weighted down with guilt and responsibility.
But when I can accept and entrust, I have found my soul free to enjoy the blessings God places in my life. If I accept what has happened and then entrust it back up to God, I can transfer the responsibility of that circumstance back to Him. This process then invites God to walk alongside me. It keeps me from feeling isolated in my suffering.
I pray that when you find yourself in the aftermath of a crisis, you can remember to look up, breathe, accept, and then entrust your heart back to God. I pray that the presence of God will minister to your wounded and weary soul so the healing process can begin.