Remaining Relational in Times of Distress

Remaining Relational in Times of Distress

As I walked the neighborhood this morning the silence was eerie. The streets were empty, not a soul insight. Many homes were boarded up in anticipation of hurricane Dorian. My eyes were drawn to a piece of plywood covering a window. 

It read: Matthew 2016, Irma 2017, Dorian 2019

What if every danger we faced was that easy to define? So often times of distress come unexpected. We are not prepared. Often distracted by our own cares we miss the pending danger. 

I continued to walk and pray. We had hours before hurricane Dorian was projected to reach the east coast of Florida. I asked God to protect every life. I sensed God saying the destroyer was being diverted and that He wanted all His children to enjoy a loving relationship with Him. 

The calm felt before the storm was surreal. God’s comfort and peace was felt. My fear and anxiety diminished. Knowing God longs to relate to us in every part of life brought a smile to my face.

I recalled Relational skill 12. Explained in Transforming Fellowship-“Act Like Myself-In the Big Six Feelings-When we find our design, we will be life-giving-whether we are upset or joyful.”

Big Six Emotions (defined in Transforming Fellowship)

Sadness- I lost some of my life.

Anger-I need to protect myself and make it stop.

Fear-I want to get away.

Shame-I’m not bringing you joy and/or you are not glad to be with me.

Disgust-That’s not life giving.

Hopeless Despair-I lack the time and the resources for this.

If we’re honest we all feel some of these emotions daily. Are we able to quiet and Act Like Ourselves in the feeling?

The 91st Psalm is full of God’s promises of protection. Psalm 23 states, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.” When we remember who God says we are and who He is we are able to return to joy from all six feelings.

Chris Coursey states, “After taking a moment to ask God, why does this skill matter to you? I found myself thinking, when my children discover their identity, they find buried treasure. I designed my children to express their identities under every emotion and condition. It grieves me to see my children lost in lies about who they are and unable to be themselves under good times or bad. I am a God of unity. I long to see my people function in the wholeness and completeness of mind that comes from skill 12.”

It is possible to stay our relational selves during times of trouble. Satan loves to disconnect us from God and others in distressing times. If he can keep us in our pain, we are unable to stay relational. It is in this state that we begin to doubt who God is. 

Have you ever wondered how staying relational and negative emotions can be experienced simultaneously?

It is possible for us to experience negative emotions and stay in relationship with God and others. Skill 12 helps us strengthen this relational muscle. Chris Coursey writes, “It is possible to be upset and stay relationally connected with the people around us. At the end of the day we are as good as our ability to manage what we feel. How well we navigate upset largely determines the level of trust and closeness we create with other people.”

How do we acquire this skill? We learn skill 12 when family members are able to remain relationally connected with us when we or they feel negative emotions. 

Many of us grew up in homes where we were sent to our rooms in times of distress. Have you ever heard a parent of a crying child tell them to stop crying or they would give them something to cry for? These are not effective ways to build skill 12 but are often used erroneously. 

When others stay relationally connected to us in times of distress, we learn that our emotions do not have the final word and it is possible to act like ourselves in times of upset.

Not every trial we face is forecasted with days of media coverage. Often there is no evacuation plan when it comes to the fiery trials we will face. How do we prepare?

For years I was unprepared for times of upset and would find myself alone and isolated. I did not know how to keep my brain relational when experiencing unpleasant feelings.

 God has provided me with a group of people who know how to stay relational in hard times. As we fall in love with God we are filled with His love and comprehend that He loves us even in our weakness. He created us to have relationship with us. He loves us.

How do you remain relational when experiencing any of the Big Six Emotions? Who do you know who remains themselves in troubling times?

2 thoughts on “Remaining Relational in Times of Distress

  1. Joanna hi
    You write so well.
    I enjoy where you are coming
    From and the depth of what you
    Much love

    1. Thank you so much my friend. You are great example of one who is able to stay emotionally connected in time of distress. I love you.
      I really appreciate you reading and commenting. You are a great encouragement to me.

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