Crisis is always difficult, but crisis during holidays leaves a deeper and more significant mark that can haunt you for a long time. For some, grief slides into depression and from depression to hopeless despair. The holiday becomes a trigger that releases restraints. Pain becomes intolerable and the enemy whispers, “Torment will never stop, so… go ahead. You can end it.” And a suicide attempt is made.
What do loved ones do? What can they do? This question was presented at one of our Round Table discussions and we thought we should share Dr. Wilder’s answer.
If you are trained in hopeless despair, then join them in that emotion. The lie is that no one wants to be with them in their hopelessness. The truth is that Jesus always wants to be with us—even in our hopelessness! Truth is that Jesus in you can and does love them through you. But words are not much good. They need you to be with them—to be Jesus with skin on for them.
By “trained” we mean that you need to know who you are, what it is like you to be in this emotion, who Jesus is, who you are in Him and remember who you are, even in hopeless despair. Knowing (not just in your head) what it is like you to be in this emotion, who Jesus is and what it is like Jesus to be, and who you are in Him will keep you from slipping into despair yourself. Hopeless despair will not be able to entwine itself in your emotions and drag you down.
A word of caution:
If you are in crisis now (or your family member is) find a mature counselor near you right now. Crisis is no time to train. When the crisis is past and you want to train yourself to deal with hopeless despair then contact us for training. Contacting Chris Coursey would be good. The Connexus training is not set up to deal with hopeless despair enough to be considered a training program. It is more for getting people on the joy track and keeping them there.
Once the crisis has passed, two relational skills you can practice with this person are quieting (skill 2) and appreciation (skill 4). Skills 2 & 4 build a person’s capacity for joy, which in a crisis is at low ebb.
Skill 2 – Quieting
Relationships require a rhythm of joy and rest. You rest then cycle back to joy. You build joy and return to rest. This moment by moment interaction leaves you satisfied. Short moments of rest provide strength and stamina for more joy. You see this in infants who reflexively look away from interactions once they reach a peak of joy. They quickly return for more face-to-face joy, and the dance continues.
When synchronized, energy levels mutually climb and drop. Your brain knows these patterns and the fun feels natural. Lack of rest makes you feel overwhelmed. Alternating joy with rest prevents relational casualties. Quieting is the rest period between the high joy times. Quieting releases serotonin on an “as needed” basis to recharge your relational battery. Serotonin leaves you content and peaceful.
Skill 4 – Appreciation
Appreciation, when shared, activates your relational circuits, resettles your nervous system, and releases a cocktail of bonding hormones so you feel connected and peaceful. You are in your best form when Skill Four permeates your interactions. The student of Scripture will discover frequent reminders to remember, appreciate, enjoy, and meditate on the good stuff. “Be thankful” in good times and bad.
Thanks to dopamine, learning something new builds memories, strengthens long-term memories, and helps you grow closer with people. In order to become a usable brain skill, appreciation must be practiced, enjoyed, and shared on a daily basis. Thankfully, you can use appreciation on your own. Appreciation keeps you focused on what is important to keep you free from regrets and guilt. You restore appreciation when you ask, “What am I thankful for today?” You share appreciation when you express appreciation. Start and end your day with appreciation and you will notice more energy, a more positive outlook and an increase in stamina to navigate hardship. Your health and relationships will thank you. For example:
3-3-3- Appreciation Exercise can easily be incorporated into family functions like at the supper table. Name 3 things about each other, 3 things about your family, and 3 things about God that you appreciate.
Resources for Skills Two and Four:
- Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone
- JoyQ Assessment
- 30 Days of Joy for Busy Married Couples
- Jesus In Mind: Talks on Kingdom Life
- THRIVE Skill Guides—52 Weeks Of Training Exercises
Mastering Joy and Rest
Mastering Returning to Joy
Mastering Applied Strategy
Training Opportunities: For More Information Click Here then click on the “training tab”
- THRIVE 5-day Training
- 2015 in Austin, TX and
- July in Grand Rapids, MI
- Joy Rekindled Marriage Retreats
If you have further questions regarding crisis response,
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com
Carol’s email – email@example.com
P.S. Update on Chris’s back. He will be receiving an epideral for pain control and we will see how that goes. Chris and I have decided while he is receiving treatment, to shelve the writing of the book for pastors because of the non-stop pain. He needs to focus his limited energy on basics and family during his small window of functionality. Because of that we are pointing everyone to the Joy Starts Here blog–http://www.joystartshere.com/blog// This blog will be put on hold until Chris is back to himself!