What’s In Your Toolkit? You Need One to Navigate Crises
Do you have a toolkit that you can use when you face a crisis? Carol shares some of her experiences and how she has navigated difficulties in the past.
You Need Tools to Deal With Uncertainties
There is one thing for certain—life is full of the unexpected whether a small or huge upset in the status quo. Life’s puzzle contains many pieces that we have no idea what to do with. Dark pieces of fear, frustration, pain, and discouragement beg for a place in our life picture but we don’t really want them there but at times they take over. Hurts hound us. Pain perplexes us. Fear frightens us. We need to have something to help us through these times. These pieces are like tools in a tool kit and we need to have them accessible.
I must be honest and admit some happenings bring tears to my eyes and all I want is to hide under the covers and have a good cry. My husband chuckles and says ‘good’ and ‘cry’ in the same sentence does not make sense to him but I know there are others who get it. I know a good cry does not solve anything or change the circumstances, but it does offer a release of emotions.
Assembling Your Toolkit
But other than giving in to a pity party at times about unexpected puzzle pieces and traumatic events what else do I use, what tools do I have, to help navigate the churning waters of fear, doubt, hurts, or anxiety?
Everyone needs to assemble their own toolkit, unique to their struggles. I’ll share some of the things I include in my tool kit
.One of my tools is a bundle of tags called notes of encouragement which includes Bible verses, positive sayings, and pretty embellishments to attract my attention. They sit tied together on my desk, ready to flip through and read when I need a change from negative thoughts that invade my mind.
Several of the sayings include:
- “Learn to live on the other side of my fears and failures.”
- Don’t overthink everything!
- God does not demand perfection just my availability and obedience.
It also includes Bible verses such as:
- I will never leave you nor forsake you. John 14:29
- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
- If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
I love pretty notebooks, journals, and coloured pens. I curl up in my easy chair, pull one of the books out, grab a coloured pen or two and start jotting down thoughts, feelings, struggles, and even prayers. .Journaling helps me pour out hurts, anger, questions, and what if scenarios without lashing out at those closest to me. My journal does not get hurt feelings, yell back, or think any less of me no matter what I scribble across the page. By letting those words and thoughts out, I often begin to see possibilities in the dark frustrating times. Not that journaling gives the answers, for many of life’s unexpected moments have no quick and easy answers.
Another navigation tool, during times of crisis, is talking things out with a counsellor. For more everyday things that make my day or week not go as planned, I have trusted friends that are willing to listen, encourage, and give a hug. Hugs should never be underestimated. Words of affirmation come from places I don’t always expect and help me realize I am not alone. They help change the focus of negativity to something positive. God’s timing in sending those encouragements is always perfect. As I reread them, I am reminded to be a good steward of the gifts and abilities God has given me.
Checklists find their way into this toolbox too. I write lists of goals. When I complete a task, I check it off the list. This gives a sense of accomplishment and provides me an opportunity to look back to see what I have finished and helps chase away feelings of failing to accomplish anything. Checklists also keep from spending time trying to remember my to-do list and get some rest.
Faith Helps Navigate the Tough Stuff
I believe, ultimately, my faith helps navigate life’s tough stuff. The greatest tool, which works for everyone, is the Word of God.
Through faith and friends who remind me of that, I get glimpses of joy and glimmers of hope in the darkest of times. For me this is key in navigating all of life—the good, the bad, and the ugly too. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says,
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In Isaiah 43: 1-3a, I read these words that offer me hope.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour;”
Life Is Full of Unknowns
Life is full of unknowns. Fear adds its voice to the negative chatter which often fills my mind. Fear of what ifs, fear of failure, or fear of not being good enough or not living up to the expectations others have for me. But I don’t have to give them credibility and power by listening to them and believing them. Instead I need to keep the tool kit handy, reach in to it often and use what I have found works for me.
Looking back at how I navigated past unexpected circumstances in my life I know whatever shows up next can be handled in the same way. I will have a good cry before I paste on a smile, journal, talk to those I trust, and hang on tight to my faith and the promises of God. Then I will look for the glimmers of hope and the glimpses of joy in the ordinary things of life.
Journaling, friends, counsellors and most importantly my faith are in my toolkit and God uses them to help me from crashing to pieces on the jagged rocks of emotion and trials. What’s in your toolkit to help with life’s struggles? Do you regularly use it or is it lost somewhere in your house, your life, your struggles? I need to dust mine off and keep it handy at all times, especially spending time in God’s Word.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.