“Crisis: (Noun) a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger…a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.” Ever been there? I can almost guarantee that if you are over the age of 12, you’ve experienced some sort of crisis moment in your life. In fact, think back to that moment. Remember all the feelings that rushed in? Anger. Why me? Sadness. What now? Helplessness. Where do we go from here?
Indeed, do you remember the news that helped erupt these emotions? Perhaps it was the death of a loved one, an aggressive cancer report, the loss of a job, an unexpected big bill, the betrayal of a friend, or something just completely tragic. These moments of news, accompanied with all our heightened emotions, can be overwhelming and exhausting.
In fact, isn’t it amazing how vulnerable and fragile these crisis moments can make us feel? It’s as if everything is trucking along just fine and then WHAM, your whole world is turned upside down. Indeed, so many things can catch us by surprise and throw off our equilibrium…and if your experiences are anything like my experiences, you usually experience a wave of three big things in a row.
For me, what makes these crisis moments so difficult to grapple with is not only are you trying to process the news, and calm your emotions down, but you’re often expected to and/or need to make important decisions right away. It’s as if you simultaneously want to slow down the clock, in order to make the wisest decisions, and speed up the clock, in order to get onto the next season of life, which, hopefully, will be better than your current season.
So, crisis happens. Your emotions heighten. You feel like doing nothing, but are expected to do everything, to include make important decisions. Here are three important things to do before you make those important decisions…
- Check Your Vital Signs – Like a good healthcare professional, you need to figure out if your baseline is healthy. What are the vital signs to monitor? First, quickly assess your own personal walk with the Lord. Have you been reading your Bible? Have you been spending time with God in prayer? What is the one truth, that you recently read or studied, that you’re clinging to right now? If need be, repent of sin and reassure yourself of God’s love and mercy toward you. Second, determine if the people closest to you are united with you. In other words, how are the different relationships in your life going? Is your spouse, staff members, and/or close friends united around you? Thirdly and finally, determine if your physical health is on par to handle the stress and emotions of your crisis moment. Indeed, moments of difficulty and crisis are not a time to let up on proper eating habits, your workout routine, and sleep patterns. Maintain these good habits as best as you can during these moments of hardship. Your mind and body will thank you in the long run.
- Beware of Sinful Decompression – In your moment of stress and difficulty, you will greatly crave a pressure release. This is not necessarily a bad thing to crave in your moment of crisis, but beware of sinful decompression (i.e. porn, gluttony, drunkenness, gossip, etc.). Who or what you look to for comfort and release, in your moment of crisis, is so incredibly important. In fact, let me speak plainly, your crisis moment does not give you the right or freedom to sin. Your temptations to sin, amid your pain, are not sinful, but giving into these urges is wrong and sinful. Your moment of crisis, far from a get out of jail free card to sin, is a clarion call to buckle down, trust the Lord, and remind yourself of God’s incredible promises to you. Don’t know of any promises? Search the Scriptures or ask your pastor or godly friend for help.
- Ask Somebody to Pray – Chances are you won’t be in the mood to pray when you’re in a moment of crisis, but you need God’s gift of prayer more than ever. Thus, ask people you trust to pray for you. Indeed, have them pray with you and for you. In fact, I often ask friends who are far away from me to pray with me and for me over the phone. How comforting and encouraging it is to have people intercede before the Throne of Grace on your behalf! Yes, have different people pray for you (i.e. your spouse, pastor, friend, or colleague). You need the prayer from them and they need the opportunity to minister to you by means of prayer. At the end of those prayers, thank them for praying with you and for you and reassure yourself that God has heard, God knows, and God will respond.
Here’s the bottom line: crisis moments happen to everybody. Yes, bad things happen to good people all of the time. Remember Jesus and what happened to Him? So, in your moment of crisis, remember that God is good, faithful, and trustworthy. Rehearse the promises of God to yourself. And, yes, decisions, will need to be made, but don’t forget to do at least these three basic things above. Once you do, move forward in confidence that God is still working in you and through you and all for His glory and your ever-increasing joy.