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3 Ways to Handle a Crisis

And by crisis I mean, anything you need to handle that is not easy. We can ultimately define crisis differently and get into the nuances of if what you’re experiencing is a crisis, but that is leading us away from my larger point that I want to make. I was inspired to write this post because of the book that I read called “When The Heart Waits” Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd. The passage that I read on page 88 was so profound, I had to share!

The following text is from page 88:

A minister friend of mine, who has seen countless Christians through crisis events, told me that he didn’t think most Christians knew how to have a crisis – at least not creatively. He started me wondering.

For the most part, we do one of two things in response to crisis.

  1. We say that it’s God’s will and force ourselves into an outwardly sweet acceptance, remaining unaffected at the deeper level of the spirit. People who have a crisis in this manner are generally after comfort and peace of mind.

  2. Or we reject the crisis, fighting and railing against it until we become cynical and defeated or suffer a loss of faith. People who choose this way to have a crisis are after justice.

  3. Yet there’s a third way to have a crisis; the way of waiting. That way means creating a painfully honest and contemplative relationship with one’s own depths, with God in the deep center of one’s soul. People who choose this way aren’t so much after peace of mind or justice as wholeness and transformation. They’re after soul making. If you choose this way, you find the threshold, the creative moment of epiphany, within the crisis. You discover that the stormy experience can be an agent drawing you deeper into the kingdom, separating you from the old consciousness and the clamp of the ego. It’s not an easy way.

My reflection on the passage:

I thought this was especially interesting for many obvious reasons, but specifically, because of a scenario that happened to me one day. I didn’t get the job I interviewed for and a friend wanted me to instantly stop sulking. She gave me 5 minutes to get over it. Just because we don’t give ourselves permission (or we allow others to dictate how we express or feel our emotions) doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Our feelings are STILL present. They don’t dissipate simply because we are forcing ourselves into acceptance or denial. If you don’t feel the emotion fully, to me, the feelings fester and come back and creep up later. Whereas, if you sit in your messy feelings and experience them, give them full attention, you can move on and not have to revisit them later because you prematurely or incompletely processed them. So, give yourself permission to FEEL (you must find the amount of time that is healthy and appropriate for you).

Obviously, it depends on what the situation is, but if it’s a real deep situation or “crisis” as the book calls it, then I want to find the depth in the situation and I want to be soul making. That requires sitting with the messiness. There are no short cuts. In order to enter into the Kingdom in this way (most people don’t as the book states), you/I must be OK with being “uncomfortable that separates you out from the herd.” Most people won’t get this type of understanding. They want to give you 5 minutes. But sometimes, 5 minutes just isn’t enough!

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