Responding Well in the Hard Times
My boss asked me to step into the conference room to talk. The last seventy-two hours had been both a blessing and excruciating. Several days prior, my wife who was two months pregnant started to experience complications. She was showing miscarriage symptoms. We wept as she went to the hospital. Meanwhile, I stayed home to take care of our one-year-old son who was throwing up everywhere – a sickness I would immediately contract. Thankfully, the hospital revealed that our baby was healthy, but my wife would have to be on bed rest for a couple months. That meant we would lose her salary because she is paid hourly. When I returned to work after recovering from sickness, I was both grateful to still have a baby on the way but also trying to figure out how we were going to make it on just my salary. That’s when my boss called me into the conference room. “I have to let you go,” he said.
Hard times hit all of us at some point and in varying degrees. The question is how we respond when they do. Our kids are watching us and will follow our lead. Our response will affect their sense of security. Here’s how to respond well when things take a turn for the worse.
Mourning a death is easily understood, but it is also a perfectly beneficial practice for other difficulties. There is pain, something is coming to an end, or investment in dreams will not be realized. Take the time to sit in sadness over those things. Don’t deny or minimize the emotions. If you can grieve and be vulnerable with the people who are in the hard times with you, it will only make you closer. Taking the time to grieve will build hope in future circumstances because you will remember easier how you have come through pain and loss before.
Hard times can hit it quickly leaving us confused. It feels unstable and the first thing we want to do is run to get out of it as soon as possible. That’s when rash decisions and mistakes are made. Go to a quiet place consistently to reflect on what has happened and how. Take a look at it from all sides and digest it. Ask trusted and neutral third parties for their perspective. Be willing to be vulnerable to fully understand things. Learn and grow from it, then plot your next course.
Let People Help You
I recently was able to preview a movie coming to theaters tomorrow called 90 Minutes in Heaven that is based on the popular book. It is about a man named Don Piper who was pronounced dead by four different EMTs after a truck hit his car head on. Ninety minutes later, he was back. Beyond the heaven experience, one of the key things he learned in his recovery was to let people help him. One of the joys of going through difficulty is the love and support received from people. None of us wants to be a burden, but we steal a blessing from people who want to care for us when we steer them away.
Be thankful for the good things that you still have in your life. Maintain that attitude. You may have lost a loved one, but be grateful for the time you had. You may have lost your home in bankruptcy, but be thankful your family is still together. Perhaps you may even be grateful for the opportunity tough times provide to learn and grow as you go through them.
Never lose hope. Remember those times from the past where your back was against the wall, you were down, or experiencing great tragedy. Remember that these circumstances don’t last forever. The clouds will fade and better times will return.
How do you handle hard times?