Sometimes when we find ourselves in the middle of something horrible – either at our own hand or something that has happened to us that we didn’t cause – we can find ourselves not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, or at the very least, not knowing what to do with ourselves once we do.
You’ve just admitted an addiction or an affair. You were just handed divorce papers or a pink slip. Your car was just repossessed or your house was just foreclosed on. You just got out of rehab or jail. You were just told the cancer is back or your ex-husband wants to be.
Are any of these you?
If so, here are a few gentle suggestions for just those kinds of life crises to try each day…try all of them, try just a few, try none…only grace here, my friend.
1. Stay in bed. Sleep longer than usual. Go to bed earlier. Lay down mid-day for a quick nap if possible. Let your body soak in as much actual physical rest as possible.
2. Move. Just a little. Ten minutes maybe. Stretch. Walk. Jog. Bike. Swim. Anything. Just a few minutes.
3. Eat something that is super good for you. Even if it’s gross. And eat something that you love. No matter how many calories. Calories don’t count in a crisis.
4. Drink a glass of water. Preferably with lemon. Even if you hate water. Just drink it down first thing in the morning. Just one glass.
5. Spend some time with Jesus. Read a Psalm. Pray through the Book of Common Prayer. Read through a devotional specifically geared for going through hard times.
6. Talk to someone for five minutes about your life. Do not isolate. I repeat: do not isolate.
7. Talk to someone for five minutes about her life. It’s not always all about you, as much as we want it to be.
8. Meditate. It’s not as scary or Zen or voodoo as you might think. Sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes. Open your hands, palms facing up. Breathe in and think to yourself, God loves me. Breathe out and think to yourself, I belong to him. Start with sixty seconds.
9. When you don’t know what to do next, do the thing that needs to get done. Give the dog a bath. Take a bath yourself. Fold some laundry. Feed your kids. Change a light bulb. Go buy stamps or gas or groceries. Just do whatever the next thing is that life says you need to do.
10. Before you go to sleep, just after you’ve turned out the light and just as your head hits the pillow, list off one problem from today (keep it brief) and give it to Jesus, and end with listing off three things you’re grateful for from that day and then thank Jesus for his kindness to you.
Life might suck right now. “In this world, you will have trouble…” we were promised. And it might again at some point down the road. But in between there will be light and joy and life and more graces than you’ll know what to do with and Peace incarnate available to you if you abide. Until then, let’s journey forward, one small movement at a time.
Elisabeth, your second paragraph made me laugh. I’ve had both, cancer & an ex-husband. I love that you put both in the same sentence. I’ve been known to do that myself. For other’s who have encountered cancer, my personal experience is that divorce was the more difficult. I am an 8 year survivor. I don’t expect either to come back. No anger or tears, just my thought. Thanks for the laugh.
Glad I made you laugh, Deborah! Especially at such hard things. 🙂
Ann Voskamp had a similar post today that complements yours: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/07/a-letter-to-kate-7-way-to-labor-deliver-your-best-life/
LOVE the Bk of Common Prayer. So many wonderful prayers from our forefathers in the Reformation. Thanks for this post!
Anne, thank you for your support. -Elisabeth
Love this advice. I went into crisis mode last week with my husband’s revelation of his 3rd affair. The advice to drink a glass of water is so simple yet so true. I hardly could eat for a week, when I did I would get sick, and I think I became very dehydrated.