5 Effective Ways to Deal with Difficult People Right Now

Dealing with difficult people

The increased conflict of recent years has put many of us on edge. I’ve seen friendships implode over hurtful words and differing opinions. I’ve watched marriages bend under the weight of mental health challenges and family drama.

When you’re in survival mode, dealing with difficult people can feel like the tipping point. The popular idea of “cutting people out” of your life is tempting when you’re just trying to make it through the week.

Before you throw in the towel, here are 5 things to keep in mind when relating to difficult people. Continue reading

10 Things Not to Say to Those Who are Hurting and Distressed

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The world is hurting. Again.

If we’re honest, we’re all having a difficult time with something right now. And after everything we’ve experienced in the last two years, how could we not?

Maybe your heart is broken by what you see on the news. Or you’re feeling the financial pressure with rising prices here at home. You may be worried about your job, your family, your health. Anxiety and depression could be taking a toll. Or loneliness is growing because your friendships don’t look the same anymore.

It’s likely we’re all a bit more overwhelmed and overloaded than before.

Yet in spite of all we’re enduring, I’ve heard people say these things as of late… Continue reading

3 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Upcoming Election

With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it waits for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness in my heart. 

This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state. 

How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time. 

Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to America to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.

As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead. 

Continue reading

Navigating Deep Discouragement

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This new world already looks different than the one I left behind.

Come June, I may need to decline invitations, wear a mask and forgo my favorite vacation spots.

And I’m not the only one. More than a third of Americans are considered high-risk, who are facing difficult decisions and continued isolation this summer.

After 70 days of quarantine, we’ve emerged from our homes to discover the world has changed. We falsely assumed reopening meant returning to life as we know it. But normal is not something we’ll be returning to anytime soon. Continue reading

How to Successfully Navigate Your Emotions During a Crisis

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Today is day 35 of quarantine. The only escape from the four walls of my home has been the daily walks around our neighborhood. When it’s not snowing. Otherwise my life has revolved around deliveries, disinfecting groceries, catching up with family online, and drinking way too much coffee. There’s only so much I can clean and organize before I go crazy.

If that’s not enough, I’ve been experiencing quite a range of emotions lately. Maybe you have too. I’ve been cheerful, anxious, productive, lethargic, stressed, content, hopeful and heartbroken all in the span of a week. The last 35 days have been a roller coaster and I’m ready to get off this ride.

Continue reading

7 Questions to Help You Process and Survive a Crisis

woman drinking coffee looking out the window

This pandemic getting scary. Many of us are on a roller coaster of emotion as we hear the latest news about loved ones, ICU patients, makeshift morgues, and healthcare workers making life-or-death decisions on the front lines.

When this pandemic hit, I was already neck-deep in trauma recovery. For the last twelve months, I’ve been working through my own post-traumatic stress that had compounded for decades.  Continue reading

4 Ways to Offer Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Once again, the world is experiencing a pandemic. Only this time it’s our turn to encounter travel bans, cancelled events, stockpiling and waves of uncertainty.

The response has been quite diverse. Some are waking up to a reality that has been looming for months. Others are running a “do not fear” campaign exhorting those who are anxious. Still some are promoting conspiracy theories, dismissing preventative action, or downplaying the virus as “just the flu”.

But for my family the threat is very real.

I am one of those in the “at risk” category. As one who is immunocompromised, my actions could literally be the difference between health and hospitalization.

For now, the virus is here to stay and will likely get worse before it gets better. Am I nervous? Of course. Am I taking precautions? You bet. A mutating virus to which humans have no immunity deserves our serious attention and responsible action.

How you respond to this crisis matters. Whether you realize it or not, your actions communicate a message. The question to ask yourself is, what kind of message do I want to send? Continue reading

3 Ways to Follow God When Your Path is Unclear

By the time we rolled into the sleepy town, dusk had turned to dark. We had joined our friends for a weekend getaway up north, where the only grocery store for miles around is named after ol’ man Jim.

We moseyed our way through the national forest, finally pulling to a stop in the middle of the woods. I peered out of the window in confusion. There was no cabin in sight.

Now, I knew our destination was completely off the grid. No electricity. No running water. The bathroom was an outhouse, for goodness sake. The only thing keeping my husband and I cozy that frozen night would be a wood-burning fireplace and heavy flannel blankets.

But no one, NOT ONE soul told me we would be hiking a mile through the woods with our gear strapped to our backs. In the pitch black of night.

Clutching my pillow, I reluctantly vacated the safety of the car. Snow crunched under my feet as the unusual noises of nature kicked my pulse up a notch. Continue reading