How to Gain Happiness During Your Life Crisis – FamilyVision Column

Everyone loves 9 years old Allison. Allison lives with Mark, a confirmed bachelor. The story goes that when Alison’s parents died in an auto accident, her parents identified Mark as the guardian in their will. Allison’s biological family hates it. Mark discovers that Allison is dying. Everyone has an opinion. No one can agree on the best solution. This creates a very stressful time in Mark’s life. Any decision he selects will generate criticism. As Mark ponders these thoughts in his heart, he wonders if he will survive this crisis.

The Panic Button

How do you deal with a serious crisis? Does it bring you to tears or do you grow stronger? How does a person make a critical decision with little time on their hands? That is the question that I pondered in my heart as I reflected on the many critical decisions made over the last several years. Unfortunately, many of those decisions were life threatening ones that required immediate action.

As I think about my decisions as the head of my household, I knew everyone did not agree with my decisions and as a consequence created strained relationships. In the role of a church leader and in my job, I constantly come across people who must make decisions in a crisis. Decisions made in very short timeframes create much anxiety. Some of these decisions relate to personal health, death in a family, relationship drama, and financial obstacles.

Any of these situations can knock a strong person to their knees. Before I discuss some helpful tools, let’s discuss some practical facts that make a crisis difficult for us. A crisis is defined as a decision point in an unstable condition involving an impending abrupt or decisive change. Living in a crisis can cause an emotional or traumatic change in a person’s life.

A decision is defined as an act of reaching a conclusion or making up one’s mind. When you add a crisis, with its emotional baggage, to a decision, you have created a situation that most people find difficult to cope. Dr. William Black, author of Finding Strength, explains, “The reality of our existence is that life can be hard. We have difficulties to face….For each of us, life’s trials may be detrimental to our ability to function in everyday life.”

The Crisis Club

If you are a human being, your life will include of a series of easy to complicated decisions. Some critical decisions include selecting your life insurance, buying a home, or accepting a job offer. A rational approach to decision-making under a normal situation would be: (a) define the problem, (b) weigh the pros and cons, and (c) select the best solution. Given this simple process, what then makes a crisis difficult? There are several things that make a crisis a challenge for most people, which are: (a) shortness of time, (b) the emotional component, and (c) the immediateness of a response by the individual involved.

Wouldn’t it be easy to just deal with a crisis in a logical manner? In most cases, this is difficult to do. For example, a doctor is faced with disconnecting his mother from life support. His head tells him that it’s the logical thing to do, but his heart tells him that she’s his mother. Therefore, the emotional drain and the additional adrendine clouds our sense of judgment in a crisis. However, individuals can take comfort that you can take some positive steps in making a good decisions. Here are some proven methods for getting through these crucial times:

  • Seek comfort through pray and meditation. These solutions have stood the test of time.
  • Determine how much actual time you have to make the decision. If possible, use all of the time you have to make a good decision.
  • Write down the problem. Can you define the actual decision that needs to be made?
  • Write down the possible options to your problem. Do you have enough information? Is more research needed?
  • Weigh your options by analyzing the advantages and disadvantages.
  • Get advice from reliable sources you trust. Can you trust Aunt Susan to give you her best advice when she’s emotionally attached to your problem (she may)?
  • Trust God. Although this may not be popular in our culture, the reality is that people, as humans, are limited. It better to believe that God will correct the situation.
  • Make the best decision, move on, and accept the consequences.

The Right Perspective

Fortunately, a crisis is not the end of the world. You might actually view it as a new beginning because you will gain strength through these ordeals. There are countless stories of marriages torn apart and families destroyed due to a faulty decision mode in the heat of a crisis. Don’t make that mistake. Keep a positive outlook on life. Start today!

Consider planning out how you will address a crisis before it happens. Talk with others who have been “battled tested” through a crisis and learn from them. Remember, good things can come from bad situations. Be encouraged and start planning today.