Tragic news sucks the life out of you, so how do you accept it and move on in hopes of a better future?
I am getting laid off because of the COVID19 pandemic. My husband found out, he is now furloughed with no guarantee he will return to work. Am I concerned, yes. Concern though is another word for worry and fear, but it sounds more sophisticated. Worry and fear are a trap, and when you get caught in it, it’s hard to get free. Grieving and anger are also a trap that keeps you longer than you want, and may even cripple you emotionally and spiritually. Since I have been through two other layoffs, I know God is faithful and will provide for all my needs.
Why does terrible news suck the life out of you?
You can’t help but worry, be fearful of the future, be angry, feel insecure, and grieve the loss. When you receive unpleasant news, your mind goes in every direction but on God’s promises. And if you are like me, you crave consistency, security, and routine. I hate change, especially losing relationships. And if our identity is in what we do, then we will become insecure. Losing a job is humbling, for some, humiliating. Layoffs take a mental, emotional, and physical toll in our lives and sap our strength when our minds focus on negative thinking. It is okay to not be okay when your world is changed. It is natural to grieve a loss or losses and be angry at those who caused your loss. But if you stay there you will lose your life of peace and joy. To change negative thoughts into positive thoughts, do the following three things.
Three positive ways to respond to tragic news.
First, recount God’s past miracles. God was faithful and helped me through many difficult days. My last lay off was no fault on my part but was because my new supervisor did not like me and wanted a staff change. I was devastated because I was the only one working full time and my son would lose his tuition break, plus I carried the health benefits. But God miraculously changed my husband’s job from part-time to full-time by the first day of the semester so my son could get the tuition break and to provide health benefits. Praise the Lord. Now, I need to practice my life verses in 1Theselonians 5:16-18 to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
Second, forgive those who caused your loss, even if it you are not at fault, you still get angry and offended for one reason or another. I may need to forgive China for not controlling the virus in their country and for letting their citizens fly to other countries to spread the virus, which caused my hardships and resulting layoff. Forgiveness releases the power of the offense you feel and prevents it from controlling your beliefs and actions.
For example, I woke up in the middle of the night ruminating over the fact that the Department Head assured everyone that no one would lose their job and the department is okay financially. She said she cared about everyone in her department and that everyone mattered. So, why am I being laid-off? Did she lie? My husband gently reminded me to forgive her. When I forgave her and took the negative thoughts captive and put them out of my mind, then I could go back to sleep. I woke up the next morning with the thought that I am a child of the King of the Universe. Why do I need to be concerned? John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Third, trust God to keep His promises. Promise five of the 15 Promises post is God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). I have written many blog posts on keeping your thoughts on the things of God so you can have peace and joy. To be honest, I was taking the anger and worry bait but reminded myself to take my negative thoughts captive and think about those things that are true and good, etc. Read these posts to learn more:
Hope will help you get to the other side of awful news?
God wants to give you a future and a hope. 2Chronicles 16:9a tells us, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” God wants to support us through the sad times, but we have to trust and obey Him. Also, an often-quoted verse that comforts us during hard times is Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” When we put our hope in God’s promises and purpose, then we will have strength, peace, and joy. The Webster dictionary says hope is a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by anticipation or expectation. Hope in God’s promises. The Bible says faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (see Hebrews 11:1). I have written a post on hope that goes well with this post, you can read it here and Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory.
You can choose to think negative thoughts and allow awful news to suck the life out of you, or you can turn your thoughts toward the promises of God and have peace and joy. There is hope only in God’s promises. Choose a promise and hold on to it and remind yourself of it and stay in peace and joy. When I was going through my divorce I held onto the promises in Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. ” God fulfilled this promise in my life. He will be faithful to his promises you hope in as well.
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P.S.: Experiencing lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).