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Define a crisis, find the opportunity

The following is a guest column by Springville counselor Meaghan Heighway.

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis.” One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. At some point in our lives, we will experience crisis. We will be better equipped to handle it, if we make some simple changes and become aware of how to weather the storm. The following suggestions have the potential to empower you to know what to ask when a crisis hits, and how to discover what opportunity may be nestled inside.

1. Ask, “Is this truly a crisis?” Sometimes we are so surprised by an event that we misjudge how important it is. How do we find the difference between a crisis and a normal issue? Say that you had a fight with your significant other. What makes this fight a crisis? One area to consider is if this is a disagreement in a long line of arguments, which are never truly resolved. Perhaps then, the latest fight is not a crisis, but an opportunity to try a new tactic, such as taking a time out before responding to your significant other’s accusations, practicing not using extreme phrases, such as “you always,” or “I never” or attempting to sincerely listen to what he or she is saying, without fast-forwarding mentally to how you will respond.

2. Ask, “How can I take care of myself, during this experience?” Crises often leave us feeling drained in many areas, such as time, money or energy. If you don’t take care of yourself, not only will you not be able to help others as effectively, but you will also be further depleting your resources. Take this opportunity to figure out what helps you recharge, such as reading a book, getting a massage or going for coffee with a friend and add it to your calendar – make a date with yourself!

3. Ask, “How can I revive my hope?” Some crises, such as long-term health issues, seem to have no end to them. They shake up our lives so much that initially, we are caught in just making it through the day. While that is normal, no one wants to be burdened with that stress forever. If you’ve been under the weight of a crisis for a long time, maybe it’s time to consider some outside assistance. What did you want to do, before the crisis hit your life? What did you dream of? Deliberately shifting your focus onto what you hope or dream about can help take the edge off the daily grind of a crisis situation, by exploring new opportunities.

Finally, as you mull over these suggestions, consider talking with someone about your experience. This should be someone you can trust, like a family member, close friend or counselor. Having someone to bounce ideas off of can help you clear your head and give you a fresh perspective about what opportunities may be before you. Above all, show love and compassion to yourself – you can get through this!

Have you ever felt like life isn’t working out just as you hoped? Christian Counseling Ministries’ Meaghan Heighway, is offering a six-week class entitled, “Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?,” by Pete Wilson. This life-changing group will be offered at the Love In the Name of Christ Education Room, located at 64 East Main St. in Springville, starting April 24 from 7-9 p.m. To register or for more information, 380-1750 or email


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