@Recovering from Life’s Disasters


A few months ago, I was introduced to a life concept called “Orientation, Disorientation, Reorientation.” It is originally from Walter Bruggerman, an Old Testament Theologian.

Simply put, Orientation is when everything is going somewhat smoothly. Life is rocking along. It is not perfect, but it is manageable. One knows the rules, knows what to expect day in and day out.

Disorientation happens when life falls apart. It comes from left field. Someone close to you is unexpectedly lost; ones partners cheats or walks out; a job is lost; the phone call from the doctor is bad. At that very moment one knows that life will never be the same again. Often one wonders if life will continue at all.

Reorientation is when one “recovers” from the Disorienting event of life. It ushers in a “new normal.” It may be better. It may be worse. However, life is different than it was before. You are different than you were before. The Disorienting Event changed/scarred/matured ones perspective in life.

This process can be seen in biblical examples. The Disorientating event of being sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape and forgotten in prison in Joseph’s Life. The adultery with Bathsheba, murder of Uriah the Hittite and public exposure by Nathan in the life of David. Even in the life of Mary, the Disorienting Event of being told by an Angel that she had been chosen by God to be the Mother of Jesus.

It also can be seen in National Events. America was disoriented by the events of 9–11 when terror reached our shores for the first time. This cycle can often be seen in the life of organizations, churches, etc.

It doesn’t take long to see Disorientation in the lives of those around us or experience it in our own lives. We live in a fractured world.

Disorientation can come from ones own choices or the choice of others. There are times when Disorientation can come from a broken world where bad things seem to come both on good and bad people.

Disorientation in life is inevitable. But the deeper/wiser question is How Can One Move From “Disorientation to Reorientation?”

Before we look at the process, understand this may be a painful, lengthy process. There isn’t a 1–2–3 checklist that can move your life into “Reoriented” point. Seemingly, the deeper the devastation, the “Disorientation”, then the longer the process.

Secondly, the “loss” may never be recovered. Many devastating life events involve loss — some loss of parents, children, people to death. Obviously, they will never be brought back. There is a void in your life that may never be totally filled. That doesn’t mean that live is destined to be miserable, there is hope. However, life will never be like it was before.

There are other losses that may be experienced. There are losses of jobs, relationships, financial, status or many other kinds of losses. Moving to “Reorientation” may or may not recoup these losses. There may or may not reconciliation. There may or may not be “closure”. Moving to “Reorientation” is not moving back to “Orientation.” It is moving to a “New Orientation.”

Thirdly, there may be times of vacillation between “Disorientation” and “Reorientation.” There may be some unresolved parts of “Disorientation” that are never fully resolved or understood. There will be times of doubt, frustration and anger.

Finally, one can move from to a “Reorientation” and not learn a thing. It is possible to go through this traumatic event and not “benefit” from it at all. You can just numb yourself through the experience, deny its existence, distract yourself from the reality or allow it to fester and cause anger and bitterness. How you respond is your choice. You would never choose the “Disorientation” but it is your choice how you respond to the event.

Thoughts to Ponder When the Emotional Dust Settles from Disorientation

At the beginning of the “Disorientation” it is almost impossible to think. You are overwhelmed by so many intense emotions. It will take some time for these emotions to settle — it is wise to exercise as much control of your words and actions as you can. Your words and actions may or may not be understood as coming from a heart that is broken by those the hear and see them. There are times when you may have to go back and “clean up” a situation where you lost control. While it is certainly understandable — the wisest course of action is to “vent” to someone you trust, and has understanding.

Please understand that I have chosen to build my life from a biblical perspective. While I don’t understand everything in the bible, I choose to base my life — my view of reality — from a perspective that the Bible is God’s Truth for mankind. I respect the fact that others may have a differing perspective, but I wanted to be honest and upfront about my perspective.

Consider the Truth

There are some truths that come from Scripture that are beneficial for us as we deal with our Disorientation.

· You aren’t the first and won’t be the last to go through this: 1 Corinthians 10:13

· You aren’t going through this alone: Deuteronomy 31:6

· God understands what is happening: Hebrews 4:15

· Somehow — God is at work and good will come from this: Romans 8:28

· There will be a time when God makes everything right: Revelation 21:4

There are many other Scriptures that need to frame our reference as we work through this disorientation. Emotions are all over the place; Opinions vary and Peoples perspectives are skewed. The one stable thing that is unchanging is God’s Word. Use it to regain your footing. Use it to form your foundation.

Consider an Honest Assessment

It is easy to find all kids of reasons that this shouldn’t have happened to you. And it is easy to find all kinds of “friend” who will tell you how bad “they” were and how unfair it was. And they may be right. However, if you are going to fully benefit from this “Disorientation” then you need to be honest with yourself — brutally honest.

· Ask God to point out areas in your life that could have led/allowed/contributed to this “Disorientation.” Psalm 37:23–24

· Is there something you could have done better? Not done? Done differently? Proverbs 8:9–10

· Is there a sin — secret or open — action or attitude — that God wants to deal with in your life? Psalm 51

· Is there an area of your life that you need to bring change into? Psalm 51:10

Consider Allowing the Instruction of the Words of God to Put You in a Position of Healing

Once God has pointed out the areas that need altering — obedience will all Him to begin to heal that which is broken. Proverbs 3:8; 4:21–22; Psalm 147:3

Understand that God’s Way and Your Way of moving through this time of “Disorientation” may not be the same. His was is best — He knows what the future holds — He knows what He is preparing you for. Isaiah 55:8

Consider What Direction to Go Now

Often in times of Disorientation we focus on what others need to do. You can’t change/control them. But you can control/choose/change how you respond.

Is there forgiveness needed? Matthew 6:14–15; 2 Corinthians 2:7

Do you need to bless those who hurt you? Romans 12:14; Matthew 5:44

Are you willing to relinquish your anger/resentment/pain to God?

Are you willing to make the changes that God has brought to your mind/heart? Luke 6:46

Let God Encourage You Through His Word and His People

Again — this is a process — perhaps even a lifelong process. God is working in your life. He is refining you — using these events — just or unjust — to make you more like Him. God is at Work in Your Life — Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:18;

This is not an exhaustive list. These are just some thoughts. Understand that God knew this was going to happen before you did. It did not catch Him by surprise. Why didn’t He stop it? I have no idea … I am not God and there are times I can’t even pretend to understand. That Is where I just CHOOSE to trust … sometimes through clenched fist … sometimes through eyes full of tears … sometimes with a broken heart. It is a choice. Even though a times I may rage/doubt/question/rebel — ultimately, I come back to a place where I choose to trust Him.