Monday, September 14, 2009

When Your World Turns Upside Down

(Photo credit: Tina Anderson)

Have you ever felt like your world has turned upside down? Do you look around and wonder ...how did I ever get to this place?

Lately, that seems to be more common than you may think. Can you identify with any of the following?

  • Job layoff
  • Unable to pay your bills
  • Rebellious children
  • Miscarriage
  • Death of someone very close to you
  • Owing more than your house is worth
  • Chronic illness
  • Cancer
  • Depression

My friend Sue gave me a book called "The Upside of Down" by Dr. Joseph M. Stowell. I've found much wisdom as I read the pages of this book.

We all have trials in this life. As believers, the Bible says to expect trials.

But we do have a choice as to ...how we respond.

Do we learn the lessons that these trials provide? Do we learn to persevere?

I wrote another post called Life Isn't Easy concerning some of the reasons we may suffer trials.

But have you ever gotten to the point of feeling overwhelmed by the trials?

I know that for me, there are times when I tend to isolate myself because it's too hard to put on a happy face. And yet, I'm not the type of person who goes around like a martyr or wanting people's sympathy. I'm a fighter and I don't give up easily.

But sometimes it's just hard to go about normal activities like going to church or meetings with friends. When they greet you with a smile and say "how are you?". Do they really want to know or are they just being polite?

I think people are often uncomfortable about what to say when they know you're going through difficulties.

So, here's a few of my thoughts for people who have friends who are in the midst of suffering:

  • Sometimes the best thing is say nothing
  • Don't give advice about what they should do
  • Don't try to cheer them up by saying something like things will get better
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Don't judge them and tell them what they're doing wrong unless it's blatant sin
  • A simple hug is wonderful
  • Send a card telling them you're thinking of them and praying for them
  • Let your friend know you're there for them

I may be way off base with this and so I'm open to your suggestions and thoughts on this topic. Maybe you have a friend who is going through difficulties or maybe you are the one? Why not share what you do or what helps you during these times?


13 comments:

  1. These are awesome tips sweetie. Just being there, loving them, and never ceasing to pray for them.

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  2. Sounds like a good book and I agree "try not to fix the problem, just listen, love, be there, and covering them in prayer!"

    Thanks for sharing...I am alot like you ~ easy to just pull back and out of things .....I don't like to put on a mask and pretend all is ok.

    blessings to you Debbie

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  3. Dear Debbie,

    I'm glad that the book was helpful to you. Some people like Dr Stowell have such a wonderful way of putting into words things that can encourage people like you who are going through very difficult times. My heart goes out to you as you have experienced some very trying times. Both Jim and I love you very much.

    Sue

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  4. I think you're right on, Debbie. I learned the hard way that my fleshly efforts annoy the person. Listening is huge! What love.

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  5. Your blog Debbie gradually became impressive!

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  6. Love you girl; here praying!
    Noreen

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  7. Hi Debbie,

    When they greet you with a smile and say "how are you?". Do they really want to know or are they just being polite?

    Sometimes you just don't know what do say or do.. What a neat post. I could completely relate today. Hugs.

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  8. Good advice Debbie. I know you have a full plate right now, and I know that the list you shared will be helpful to others - on both sides of situation. I suppose one should just remain a faithful, dependable friend. Help your friend to realize that you will be there and love her, walk beside her. Loving you.......h

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  9. Precious advise Debbie. The availability and prayer of my friends during difficult times have been a huge blessing. And the gift a listening ear is priceless. Waiting is never passive. And some of my best learning as taken place during long and difficult periods of waiting.
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
    Kim

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  10. Great tips, thanks!
    I like sending cards, I know how much it helps me when I'm going through something to get a card in the mail. I feel like so many times people don't know what to say or do so they do nothing or say something that is hurtful even though it wasn't intended to be that way. It's good to really listen and think before you speak in these times especially.

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  11. I had a friend who was dying of cancer and the one thing she hated was people asking her how she was feeling. I always made an effort never to ask her (it was amazing how hard it was not to ask as it is a trained thing we say when we meet someone who is sick). But talking about everything else but her sickness helped her sickness disappear for a little while. It was nice to just be normal friends again.

    And thank you so much Debbie for being a friend that 'pops in' every now and then. It has been so nice hearing from you. You always brighten my day.

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  12. This is a great post Debbie. I never know what to do when someone is going through difficult times. I want to be a help to the person in some way, even if it isn't related to the thing that is causing the problem. An act of service that will help relieve a burden or responsibility from another area will do wonders.

    Love you!

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  13. Great advice in your post and in these comments, Debbie. I am praying for you, my friend...

    (-; ˙ʍou ʇɥƃıɹ uʍop ǝpısdn ǝɹɐ plɹoʍ ɹnoʎ uı sƃuıɥʇ ɟı ʎllɐıɔǝdsǝ

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Am I a kid or what?

Am I a kid or what?

I love this place...Carmel, CA

I love this place...Carmel, CA