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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Staying on Track During Times of Crisis

TOP 10

For those of you who read faithfully, I apologize for the sporadic nature of recent posts.  We are in the process of doing some relocating, which has created a fair degree of upheaval, resulting in a temporary irregularity in the posts.  Eventually, things should level out.  In the meantime, I will post as I am able, so don’t give up!

This week, I have been thinking a lot about how divorce and other crisis moments in life are often times when individuals either draw closer to God or turn away.  I have mentioned this idea before in the not too distant past, but today I wanted to offer some specific, practical steps you can use to help stay on track, and even to let those crises times in your life create a more healthy relationship with God.  

So here are what I would consider to be the top 10 tips to staying on track:

  1. Make church attendance a priority you don’t let slip.  You may end up at a different church, or a different worship time, and may choose to sit in more off by yourself, all of which are fine, but make the habit of participating in worship a non-negotiable.  The body of Christ can be a critical support, even if only in the form of one or two people who walk with you through the crisis.
  1. Find a way to make regular time reading God’s Word.  Even if it is only 5 minutes a day, a paragraph a day, and even if you don’t feel like you are hearing God at all.  It’s a lot like eating breakfast or lunch…some meals are more memorable than others, but tasty or not, each one is important in keeping you going.  This is a critical way to provide opportunity for you to hear God speak on a regular basis.  The Psalms can be a particularly encouraging book to read during this time, as the psalmist often lays bear his own emotional turmoil, and you may find passages that really resonate with your experience.
  1. Seek out an friend at your church who has also been through the process of divorce, to whom you can turn for advice and with whom you can share your pain.  Such a person will understand what you are facing, and can make all the difference in the world.
  1. If the pastor is opening to hearing your struggles, then make a point to keep you pastor informed of where you are at in the divorce process and how things are going for your children.  You don’t have to belabor it all and relive all the details, but a quick update can be helpful.
  1. Choose the moral high ground.  In times of loneliness, uncertainty and/or depression, temptations can abound and it can be easy to grow so hungry for comfort that you drown your sorrows in drink or seek joy in the arms of a lover long before you are ready.  Make every effort to stay on the godly, narrow path, and be quick to get back on track with God should you fall.  For some people, having an accountability partner can be a helpful tool.
  1. Keep in regular contact with a Christian companion with whom you can be honest about your emotions, struggles, fears, wounds and choices.  Even one friend to stand with you can make all the difference.
  1. Find yourself a friend you know is a person of prayer, with whom you can share prayer requests and who will covenant to be praying for you on a regular basis.  Scripture is clear that how much difference it can make to have an intercessor “standing in the gap” on your behalf before God.
  1. Find a good devotional book and include it in your prayer time.   My Finding God devotionals are good in regard to dealing with divorce, but others such as Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest, Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, or more recent, Lucado’s God is with You Every Day are good options.  The insights from other godly writers such as these can provide some encouraging tidbits when you are unable to hear God’s voice on your own.
  1. Make time, at least weekly, to be out away from things in a quiet spot where you can be alone to reflect, to pray and to just “be.”  In those moments, express to God what you are feeling and struggling with, and spend time in silence to allow God to speak as well.
  1. Find something each day you can do that can bring a smile.  Read cartoons, subscribe to a “joke of the day” email, plant flowers, watch children at play…something to remind you that joy still exists in the world, and will one day return to your life as well.

These things may end up transforming your relationship with God, and at the least, can keep you from falling away in a time when that is a very high risk.  Don’t fall prey to Satan’s attacks.  God will help you stay strong, but you have to seek his strength for that to happen.  God bless and keep you.

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