What To Do When You Get Bad News

This weekend, I wrote about choosing and being told not to teach next year.   Since I was told the news back in January, I’ve been riding the emotional roller coaster of bitterness, sadness, and insecurity.  And I don’t like roller coasters.


Here me when I say this.  My situation isn’t that bad.  I lost my job.  So have a lot of people in the last few years.  But in the midst of these difficult circumstances, I’ve been learning.  And today I want to share with you what I’ve learned about dealing with bad news.

These are not the answers.  They aren’t five steps to dealing with sucky situations–although that’s what I wanted to title the post.   However, they might help someone out there handle the cards they’ve been dealt.


1. Have a Pity Party

Go ahead.  Do it.  Remember that post a few months back where I admitted that I cheated on my paleo challenge?  That was the night I found out that my job was changing, and that was part of my pity party.   There’s something about sulking in the messiness of life and being pissed.  Talk to a good friend.  Scream.  Eat ice cream.  Whatever it is… just go ahead and have your moment. 

Take that, cake.

2.  Stop Comparing Up

Don’t internalize the pity party.  Too often, I do.  In my head, it’s easy to brood over the circumstances I see around me of people that “have it better.”  In reality, I only compare up.  I ignore the people around me who had even more difficult circumstances, and disregard the possibility that the person who “has it better” might even be in a worse place than me.

3. Worship

This feels awkward in the midst of bad news.   Why worship? God is going to do what God is going to do.  Can’t you just hear that resentment?  Cynicism makes her ugly entrance at this moment in the internal pity pit. Don’t let it happen.  Worship is the Round-Up for roots of bitterness.  In this season, I have been deeply blessed by the song “Beautiful Things” by (Grammy Winners) Gungor, and the song “Your Love Never Fails” by Chris Quilala.  The words remind me of the truth, and that truth can take the place of all other lies that would like to embed themselves in my soul.

 4. Recognize Your Desperation

Desperate is not how I want to be described: but I am.  I’m desperate for worth, value, meaning, care, comfort…  the list could go on and on and on.  If nothing else, times of hardship can illuminate something that was there during times of ease: our lack of control over anything.  Desperation is the acceptance of my utter helplessness.  What a beautiful place to be in.  Check out Randy’s sermon on desperation entitled “The Official’s Son.” 

5.  Keep Walking

I was going to call number five “have faith,” but I decided that I still don’t know what that means.  Faith is belief in something we can’t see, and the only way people can see our faith is that we keep on going.  I’m still teaching, to the best of my ability… even though I know I’m walking on a dead-end road.  Maybe you feel that way too.  Keep walking.  As for God, his way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).

What about you?  Have you found anything to be helpful in the midst of hard circumstances?  My friend Perrin, at age 21 found out that she had cancer, and her blog is a chronicle of inspiration.  Are there people that inspire you this way? 

I’d love to hear about your journey.