Whenever we face a personal crisis, it will become a public matter. The bigger the crisis, the broader the audience of eyes watching our drama. This is part of living in a news-driven, gossip-seeking society.
It’s also part of being human.
When I was going through my divorce, I hated this fact of life. It felt like criticism and condemnation. Human nature tends to feel the need to judge our mess, choose what they believe and pick a side, often without reconsidering the first story they heard.
When I lost my daughter, I eventually embraced the idea of having so many people watching our story because I knew that they loved and supported us. There was no judgment to be made–except by those who wanted to blame God, but few spoke to us that way since it was so obvious that God and His people were the ones carrying us through and giving us strength.
When my son’s addiction first came to light, I feared the fact that others were talking about it and watching us. Fear is not healthy or empowering; it is destructive and disabling. In may ways, the fear made the problem even worse.
Today’s drug issues are not as much of a stigmatism as they were five years ago, but the fear still runs rampant. Last week I blogged about the various ways we handle life’s ugly pits. Because of the responses I got, I know I need to continue on this scary journey of being vulnerable with my mess so that We all remember we are not alone.
People will always judge.
Don’t let the fear of someone else’s opinion rob your strength; choose to let it empower you. Consider what people say. If you see any truth in it, then bravely deal with it. Have a grateful heart; someone cared enough to speak up. No matter what their attitude was, their vision can broaden yours–if you chose not to allow pride blind you.
Let go of all the parts that are not true.
If they are completely wrong and rude, do not waist any more time or strength on their opinion. Let your frustration empower you to do what you need to do to deal with your crisis.
People will always watch.
Don’t let your audience give you stage fright, choose to keep preforming. Not to say that you are putting on an act, but there are times when life is so hard that you must simply keep going through the motions. That can be extra difficult when others are observing your every move.
Be confident and do it anyway.
When we first found out that Rebecca would not live long, we were helping to lead a youth group. The kids and their parents were devastated, of course. We understood their horror at our news, but were confused by the response we received.
What do people say when they watch you in a crisis? C: “You are so in control.” N: “You are so calm.” D: “You are so strong.” I: “I am so sorry, can I help?” R: “Are you ok? Please let me help.” G: “I’m sorry.” Click the letter of the response you typically get to see if it may be an indication of your personal Img.ID For more, search your Img.ID on my website.
Some of our messes are so ugly that those watching are uncomfortable.
Because of the innate nature to judge others, it’s only natural for people around us to try to read how we are doing and respond accordingly. The most common response my husband and I got with the news that Rebecca had Trisomy 18 was, “You are handling it so well.” Which was actually quite frustrating since we felt as if we couldn’t handle it at all! (I didn’t quite understand then that, as a Dramatic, I looked stronger than I actually was.)
I remember pouring out my frustration in prayer one day and feeling as if God literally spoke to my heart, “Catrina, I know it feels like they are judging you again, but you are judging them as well. They are not excusing themselves from helping you by assuming you are fine. They are misreading you. Show them your heart; and judge only their heart–not the awkward words they use to try to express their desire to be a part of your crisis.”
Embracing the stage.
If you are struggling with the fact that others are observing your personal drama, I encourage you to turn to the Director. God understands all the details, including what you (and others!) are feeling. If He has allowed a crisis into your life, then I have to believe that He thinks you can handle the stage. Don’t loose focus of your part in the play for fear of the critics.
Let’s not put on an act for those watching our crisis. Instead, let’s put on the garment of Confident Faith and BE and LET BE.