We were at a movie theater when a phone call changed the trajectory of our evening. One of those phone calls when the world seems to crash in around you, and the only choice you have at the moment is to sink or swim.
Have you received those phone calls, the doctor’s report, or the conversation that flipped your world upside down? What do you do in those moments and every million moments afterward when life as you knew it has changed or will be changing in the foreseeable future?
The following practices have helped me in times of crisis or unfortunate events. Perhaps they will help you, also.
Immediate strategies for crisis.
- Focus your mind on God’s character. Repeat what you know about his unchanging character that is still true at the moment though your feelings tell you otherwise. James 1:7 says God does not change like shifting shadows.
- Take deep breaths, focusing on an object in front of you to calm your heart rate, mind, and body. Focus on what you see and feel, keeping yourself grounded rather than succumbing to panic.
- If you are with someone supporting you or trying to help you, focus on their words, though they may not make sense or you don’t grasp them.
- Focus on what is current, not all of the decisions and details for the future. Do the next best thing for you in the moment, the next moment, and the next.
- Remain hydrated, eat something, and let your body help you. Hydration calms your brain during a flight, fight, or freeze state. God created your brain to protect you. Care for it so it can care for you.
- Let someone help you.
After the immediate situation has passed.
- Focus on the present and what you can control.
- Saturate yourself in God’s word and truth. Let his attributes be what fill your mind when nothing else feels trustworthy.
- Let calming Christian music permeate moments when you can’t focus.
- Pray Bible verses when you don’t know what to pray. What does God bring to your mind? An example might be, “Thank you, God, that you have hope and a future for me,” or someone you love.
- Allow yourself to feel whatever those feelings may be: sadness, anger, disbelief, mistrust, confusion….whatever emotions come to the surface for you, it’s essential to give yourself time and space for them without judgment.
- Allow others who love and understand your needs support you.
- Do the next right thing without letting the cares of the future overwhelm you.
- Find familiar rhythms that keep your hands, heart, and head busy.
Father, thank you for your presence with me in times of peace and crisis. Thank you for the hope and future you have before me, even though my situation feels hopeless. Let me hear, see, and feel you in my current season of sadness and loss. Amen.