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

two mugs in a living room

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

Why You May Be Feeling Disconnected These Days

Blog post about how divisiveness is driving our disconnection

Lately, interactions with others have felt more like a cold shoulder than a warm hug. Quarantine may be long gone but loneliness hangs around my soul like a morning fog.

These last 18 months have been hard on us all. Though we’ve regained a sense of normalcy, it feels like something has shifted at its core – society and relationships don’t feel the same anymore.

Perhaps this pandemic is just revealing what was there all along: that having friends and having community is not the same thing. That in the past we replaced meaningful connection with social gatherings and surface-level interactions. That the bonds we thought we had didn’t run very deep.

Being physically together yet emotionally empty can leave you feeling very lonely. That’s because loneliness is not a lack of company but a lack of connection. Being disconnected hurts so much because we were created to connect.

These days, I’m learning that hardships were intended to be lived and shared within community. But this hardship seems to be pulling people apart, not together.

If I’m honest, the world does not feel like a safe place right now. The divisiveness is further driving our disconnection. And the church does not seem to be helping. Continue reading

Trusting Jesus in the Storm: Part 2

He peered over the rim at the churning waves below. Gripping the side of the boat, Peter steadied himself as it fiercely rocked to and fro.

Violent winds had stirred the waters into a foaming frenzy. Despite their rowing efforts, the disciples had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Their finite strength had paled in comparison to the unpredictable power of nature.

Thunder rippled across the sea and echoed off the mountains in the distance. Peter wiped the salty water from his eyes as he squinted to see the man on the waves. Exhaustion and excitement quickened his heart as he mulled over what he had just heard above the raging wind.

“Come.” Continue reading

Seeing Jesus in the Storm: Part 1

From the very beginning, things did not go as planned. What had started out as a normal day quickly spiraled into a nightmare. Cloaked in darkness and gripped by fear, the promise of death seemed imminent.

The disciples were seamen. This was their lake. As professionals, they were used to navigating the changing waters and unforeseen circumstances.

But this storm was different. 

Violent winds had stirred the waves into a foaming frenzy. Despite their best rowing efforts, they had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Continue reading

How to Be Thankful When You’re Feeling Blue

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.

Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.

As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.

Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading

Why “2020 Fatigue” May Be a Good Thing

woman-looking-towards-the-sky-

A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.

Because, 2020.

I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.

I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got COVID-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, and the chaos of the world flared my chronic illness and PTSD.

In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.

It’s like the world is on fire (oh wait, it is) and someone just keeps turning up the heat. And this girl can only take so much disaster bingo.

So I cried out all the feels in my car. I asked God to just make it stop. I was too weary, too weak, too inept to handle it all.

And perhaps that’s the point.  Continue reading

Navigating Fear and Uncertainty

woman masked on a bus

Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done.

Classified as a mass threat, this pandemic has given us plenty to worry about. And now that communities are reopening, a second wave of uncertainty builds as we brace ourselves for whatever comes next.

When I sat down to write this post I didn’t think it would take me an entire week. What started out as a quick tutorial turned into a personal wrestling match that forced me to examine the source of my own fears.

Fear is often pitted against faith as if they were bitter rivals. Christians who struggle with fear and anxiety during this time can easily feel judged, shamed, dismissed or misunderstood by other believers.

Continue reading