It can be a big problem
or a little problem that causes us to become "in crisis". It can even simply be a comment, or an everyday situation that we suddenly find ourselves overly frustrated with. In modern culture, especially for men, it has become uncouth to display emotion, so even a simple emotional display in a man may be considered a crisis point. It could be the death of a friend, or the injury or illness of a family member. It could be a general feeling of malaise or anger that finally reaches a crisis point. It could even be a loss of faith in something or someone you thought you believed.
The reason for the crisis point is not what I wanted to focus on today. I want to focus on what we do with those crisis point decisions. When we are in crisis, our thoughts, faith, fears, and foundation are shaken and fired up and poured into a crucible. Our hearts, souls, and minds have the opportunity to be refined in the fires of life. So what do you do while you're in the fire? What do you do after the crisis has passed?
- Feel the pain. In modern society, we often shrink away from feeling strong emotions. If you feel you're reaching a crisis point, don't push those emotions down. Recognize the emotions you are feeling so that you can deal with them appropriately.
- Let it out. Many people, especially those unsure of what they believe, don't feel that they can cry out to God. Whether you're a Christian or not, He can handle it. Read Job if you're unsure what God can or can't handle. He's much bigger than we may think, and you shouldn't be afraid to talk to Him, even if it's to argue and be angry.
- Find help. If necessary, consider finding a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor to talk to. We've all been in crisis before, and there are people around you who can help when you're ready. Choose wisely, as you may be in a very vulnerable place. Even if you feel angry or frustrated, these crisis points are developing your internal compass and long-term beliefs.
After the Crisis
- Determine your faith. Especially if your faith was questioned while in crisis, consider taking some time afterward to determine if your questions were answered. If not, seek those answers. It's important that we don't brush our questions under the rug (regarding life, faith, or emotional well-being). The amazing thing that I've found about God, is that no matter how many times my faith has been called into question, no matter how long the crisis point lasted, or how miserable I felt at the time, those points of crisis helped develop my faith and understanding of the Almighty God. When I'm in a "good place" emotionally, I'm often in a bad place spiritually a few months after a crisis, because I feel like I don't need Him as much anymore. So rather than walk away from a crisis point with the same attitude you came into it with, consider making a change.
- Tell someone. Once you've determined how your questions have been answered, make sure that you tell someone about it. Specifically, tell them what your were struggling with, how your situation was resolved, how your faith was broadened, deepened, or even if you still feel that you've lost faith. Again, choose this person wisely. It's important to discuss our faith with others. Often, we become so frustrated with ourselves, that we never seek the help of others. Other times, we've tried to talk to someone and they just haven't been able to understand what we were going through. Look for someone who has empathy, wisdom, and a strong faith of their own and make sure you both have the time to sit down and truly talk.
- Forge Ahead. When the crisis point has passed, you may have come to a realization about something. Rather than simply moving on with your life, use your new knowledge and experience to grow and change. When we want to move on from something, we want to forget that it ever happened and go back to what we were before. When we press on, or forge ahead, we're still fighting the fight. We haven't forgotten the problem, but we're pressing on, away from the person we used to be, to become the person we're meant to be. It's important to remember that our work will never be done, no matter how long we live on this Earth. So rather than ignoring the problem, or believing you'll never experience crisis again, use what you've learned from your past in the next situation. Even Mother Theresa, late in her life, still had some points where she experienced a crisis of faith. Expect the situation to come up again, and use the battle scars you've already gotten to encourage you to keep fighting.