What do you do when you hear something you didn’t want to hear?

The kind of news you hear where the doctor tells you, “You are going to be wanting to sit down for this.”

The moment you hear those words you know something bad is going to follow.

There is a pit in your stomach. You are praying, “Please God, don’t let it be as bad as I think it is.” The whole time you are waiting to hear this news. It feels like forever.

Then, you hear the news and all you want to do is cry. You may want to hit something. Running away feels like a good option.

Regardless, you have to digest the news.

There may be a time of shock. The shock will leave you in a brain fog. Your mind wants to figure out your next step, but all you can do is sit there dumbfounded. There is even a struggle to remember your own name. The weight of the news feels like it is crushing you.

Yet, you have to do something with what you just heard.

There have been several occasions that I have heard such news.

One of my earliest memories is with my sister. When my sister was first diagnosed with a brain tumor I thought it was a joke. I thought that there was no way that she could be that sick. There was a period of denial and anger. There was a time of morning.

They told us she was going to die. 6 was the number of times she was “suppose” to die. She never did die. Hearing that she could have was a lot to bear.

That was a tough pill to swallow.

Now, let’s fast-forward many years.

Recently, a member of my family received some tough news. They will be in and out of a hospital for the next few years. This is until their condition improves. In reality, it may never improve.

It is a hard to swallow. It makes you want to pull your hair out!

Have you ever been there?

I am sure that it was hard for you. You may have been experiencing times of intense loneliness. There may have been times of confusion and fear. Maybe you went into a downward spiral of denial and pain.

I felt much of it.
My heart and mind were filled with anger, confusion, and pain.
I would stare off into space and wonder what was happening.
It made me feel alone.

What did you during this time?

Did you know what to do?

When you are walking through these situations it is hard to know what to do. You don’t know how you are going to handle the situation until you are in the situation. Only then can we see how we will handle it.

Sometimes we find that we are able to handle the situations better than we thought.
Other times we find out that we are way worse off.

Let me take the guessing game away. Here are 4 principals that I have gained through my experiences. They have helped me through some of the toughest times. I am positive that they will help you as well.

1. Take time to Process it.

You just heard some life changing news. What makes us think that we can just pick up and move on? When did we come to the conclusion that we aren’t affected by what we heard?

So let’s talk with some honesty.

When something life changing happens we need time to sit with it. We have to let the reality of the situation wash over us. Yes, it can be painful. The reality is often painful and at times cruel.

Recently, a family member was struggling with their illness. For many years I have downplayed the severity of the illness. Believing that they will be “ok” or that it isn’t “that bad” I lived a lie. I was caught up in a hyper-positive thinking process. Often times downplaying the reality of it.

Well, until recently that was me. The doctors gave some stark news that left me breathless. Sitting here I am still dealing with the news.

My problem? I have never stopped long enough to process the information.

I have many questions that I have never taken the time to ask. What does this illness mean for their future? What is my role in their healing and treatment? How do I help or hinder their progress? What does this mean for my family? How do I deal with this in a healthy manner? How do I feel about what is happening?

If I would have just sat there and processed through everything I would be in a better place. Because I have never taken the time to process the situation I am sitting here a mess. There is a bit of hurt and pain running through me.

I feel helpless.

Yet, each day I am coming to terms with the news. I was asking the right questions. There were times that I spent ample times doing research into the issue. Each step I took helped me accept the news.

When you learn to process through your feelings you are learning to cope with the pain.

2. Hang onto Hope.

The MOMENT you hear the tough news you go through a plethora of emotions. It doesn’t matter if you are a manly man or a sensitive one you feel it. I respect the female ability to process through deep emotion. There is something beautiful about the way they are able to stay strong inside of tough emotions.

Yet, one thing I can say we share between us is the loss of hope. In tough situations, we all find it hard to hold onto hope. It seems to be the first thing that leaves when we hear the news that causes us to falter.

Hope is one of the most powerful motivators. It is also one of the most powerful stabilizers. You draw strength from it. There is a feeling of confidence that comes from it. In short, without hope, we become lost.

You have to hang onto hope with everything you got.

For me, my hope is found in Jesus. You may not agree, but I do not make apologies for my faith. Every situation that I face I face it with the knowledge that no matter what happens I am loved. That alone gives me the strength to keep pressing through.

Why Jesus? I come from a multi-religious background. Meaning, I have practiced a number of different religions through my life. Each and every one that I practiced left me in the same place. I was hopeless, empty and scared.

I tried to put my hope in things. It failed me. I tried to put my hope in people. They failed me. There was even a point when I tried to put my hope in me. Ultimately, I failed.

When I became a believer I realized that I was no longer empty and scared. There was a hope that was born in me. No matter the situation I KNOW that I will make it through!

Maybe you are not a Christian. There will be a challenge as you look for things to hope in. Remember, that the world is a broken place full of hurting people. If you are looking for people to save you it may not happen.

Whatever you do: HANG ONTO HOPE!

3. Allow people to hold you up.

This one was hard for me. I grew up in Philadelphia. Growing up there gave us an independent attitude that was too proud to ask for help.

Whatever I was going through I put to the side to help others go through it. Never once did I ask for help. You just didn’t do those things. This attitude stuck with me for the better part of my life.

Recently, I realized how stupid I was.

If you do not have anyone to hold you up then you will never get up.

Relationships are at the core of who we are.

Allow people to step in and help. My only suggestion is to allow people that you trust help you.

Drop the pride and learn to ask for help! It may save your life.

If you are having trust issues, and cannot ask for help, well that is another post for another day ;)


#1. I love it when people share their thoughts.

I am eager to hear how you have navigated through some tough situations in your life. Comment below and let me know what you would add to this list!

#2. Originally posted at www.jimburgoon.org

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