Surviving a difficult situation

Those first few minutes while the news sank in were devastating. I felt like my whole world was caving in. Somehow I managed to stumble shakily out of my boss’ office. His words kept reverberating in my head: “Due to the current situation, we’re having to cut back. So we wanted to ask if you wouldn’t mind accepting a cutback on your work hours for now.”

Perhaps you’ve faced that kind of situation, too. Whether you had full-time employment to support a family or, as in my case, a part-time job that was helping to supplement my income, either way, it’s difficult news to swallow. What do you do? How do you pick up the pieces and go on?

Here’s what worked in my case.

1) Reminding myself constantly to stay positive. There was nothing I could do about my boss’ decision, but I could decide how I was going to react to it. Each time I was tempted to start getting discouraged or depressed, I would yank myself back to positive ground. It wasn’t easy, but I forced myself to keep at it.

2) Remembering that no matter what the circumstances, God was on my side. He loves me and His love hadn’t changed. My outward circumstances had changed, but I still had the same solid ground of God’s steadfast love to stand on.

I kept that in the forefront of my mind by reading the Bible and letting God speak to me through it. These were some Bible verses that helped me: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”1 “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”2 “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.”3

3) Listening to uplifting Christian songs, such as “You Lift Us Up” by Paul Baloche and “Come to Me” by Jenn Johnson. These songs and others are available on YouTube and helped fill my mind with good thoughts.

4) Having sincere friends who listened sympathetically, heard me out, and prayed for me. Having those friends helped me appreciate the fact that I had someone to go to in times like this. Some walls and distance had grown up between us due to my being so busy. These all came down as I humbled myself and showed myself emotionally needy. As a result, we got closer through this experience.

5) Taking things one day at a time, as Jesus said: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”4 Instead of trying to figure out the whole future and where I was going from here, I tried to set myself one or two goals to accomplish each day. As I took care of those, I felt encouraged, knowing that I was taking care of some “to-dos” that I’d put off for a long time.

6) Counting my blessings more often and learning to see more clearly all the many ways that I was blessed. Even very little things I’d taken for granted lifted my heart and lightened my step.

7) Last, but most important, keeping my connection with Jesus strong. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”5 I figured the more time I spent with Him, the more of an overcomer I’d become.

Day by day, as I put these tips into action, things got better. Even though my circumstances didn’t change, what did happen is that I got a better outlook on my situation because of being more positive and praiseful.

During the hours of work I still had, I continued to do the best I could, putting my whole heart into it. Sometimes it meant doing things I’d never done before—like going to the wholesalers’ area in town and hunting for décor items. And then figuring out how to fashion the woven rattan baskets, pumpkins, and artificial maple leaves into an attractive autumn décor.

After about a month, I was given my full hours at work again. As you can imagine, I was very happy and relieved. But although my situation changed for the better, the tips I just shared are staying with me. If my circumstances change again—and I’m sure they will—I now have something solid to fall back on for those dark hours when my world seems to cave in.

  1. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
  2. Romans 8:28,31 ESV
  3. Psalm 31:21 NIV
  4. Matthew 6:34 NIV
  5. John 16:33 NIV