How I Responded To My Crisis

I had reached most of my life’s goals by age thirty-eight, which was twenty-two years ago. I sold my business of forty employees but was empty. Something was missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Little did I know, but soon, I would enter into seven years of hell and financial famine. The crisis broke me emotionally and financially.   

I don’t have time to explain all the details, but I lost my family, my health and all my money. I was so sick with confusion and panic that I could not go to Walmart and find ten items from a grocery list. It felt like my life was over. I shut down my coaching business because I could not help myself, let alone another person. 

My life entered a different era, and I could not see around the corner, much like what we are all experiencing now. I suffered from embarrassment as life circumstances tore my identity apart, and it was challenging to get my feet on the ground. 

It’s hard for me to describe the exhaustion that I felt after a night of sleep. The constant anxiety and fear produced massive stress and confusion in my mind. I would sleep, but it was not restful. 

I am an expert on how to respond to stress, anxiety, fear, and panic attacks because I have lived it. I am not a doctor. I’m only telling you my story, so it might encourage, comfort, and strengthen you if you find yourself in a similar place due to the pandemic and economic collapse we are experiencing. It is real, and for me to get through my trial was a spiritual process but not a religious one.

I am not a religious person. We could debate this, but to me, religion is man’s attempt to reach God or earn God’s favor by following a legalistic list of do’s and don’t. 

However, I embrace my spiritual self, and I have an intimate relationship with God, much like I have a close relationship with my wife. I trust God, and I believe Him. So, I chose not to blame Him nor complain about my circumstances.

How did I respond? I knew that this was going to be a spiritual process and painful, so I sat still a lot, prayed, and wrote in a journal.

Here are a few things that I gleaned while sitting still.

 “Your money is not important to me, but your character is” 

“Pray that you would change, not that your circumstance would change.” 

“Let go of what you cannot control.”

 “Think about what you are thankful for.”

“I have a plan to prosper you and give you hope.”

“Hope follows character.” 

“Don’t complain.”

If you read these carefully, there’s not much substance there. It’s not what I wanted to hear. I wanted detailed instructions with a plan that I could control and work. I needed it now. It never came, but this word substance rang loud. I studied this word and learned that faith is evidence and substance of things not seen.

I made another choice. I decided to do what I heard and practice the process of faith. I did simple things in obedience without immediate results being evident. 

How I respond to the message, “Don’t complain.”

I lived in my parent’s basement while I healed, which was very humiliating. Most mornings, I got up exhausted, feeling like a truck had run over me. Then I went into my office and sang hymns from my mother’s old Baptist hymnal. I did not have much to praise God about, but I did it anyway. Nothing changed for me, but I believed it would.

How I respond to the message, “Think about what you are thankful for.”

I would consciously write in my journal everything I was grateful for. Each day started with gratitude and praise. Nothing changed, but I continued to believe it would. 

How I responded to the messages,

Your money is not important to me, but your character is” 

“Pray that you would change, not your circumstance.”

“Hope follows character.” 

I dove deeper into this subject about character. Jim Rohn, an early pioneer in personal development, taught that what you become is more valuable than what you get (money). Dr. Micehal Semon, my cognitive therapist, taught me that character is what you have left over after you persevere. I could lose my money but never my character.

I studied the scripture and read things like “consider it pure joy when you suffer all kinds of trials because it leads to perseverance, then character and hope.” When I discovered I was in a character-building process, it gave me hope. This process was grooming me for something bigger. 

How I perceived my circumstances drastically changed, and over time, I began to feel better emotionally. However, the entire process took seven years. My life stood still seven years if you measure progress as the American culture measures progress in dollars, but I had become a different person with a strong foundation. I had grown and become more.  

You see, all the goals I accomplished, the status in the community, the big house, and the airplanes vanished, and there was nothing left. I crashed because I had no character to stand on. My identity was my things. When my stuff went away, there was nothing left.

All I had was God and his promise. It was almost like God could use me, but not until I developed the character. The same thing happened to Moses, but Moses’ wilderness experience was much longer because his calling was much different. God has not called me to deliver a nation like he called Moses. 

I don’t have time to go into the details of the comeback, but God restored everything over the last ten years, but now I don’t need it. 

My entire business model blew up in March when the governmental authorities shut down the economy, but I have peace and joy in the middle of the storm. I am diligently working during the storm, but I brought with me a good pillow. I sleep restful and have hope because hope follows what? Character. 

Character-building is a lifetime process, and every trail is another opportunity to grow. None of us can see around the corner, but my sense is we are entering into something very different, and it is not over. There is more to come, in my opinion. 

We can’t get to the new thing unless we let go of the old. To let go of the former, you have to take ownership of the change. It’s like a trapeze artist. To grab the other swing, he or she must let go of the old swing, or he remains stuck.

Are you ready for the hard news? What and who needs to change is you. Don’t pray that your circumstances would get more comfortable. Instead, pray that you will get better, so the conditions don’t matter. That’s joy and peace in the middle of the storm. 

If anyone needs encouragement, you can schedule a time on my calendar, and I’ll be happy to talk to you for free.

God bless and remember, it’s not important what’s happening to you, but what is important is “what are you going to do about it?” Cry if you need to. Sure, I did. Then get up and Go with God. He went with me, and he’ll go with you.  

About the author, Roger

Roger Daviston is a personal growth consultant who gets measurable results. He facilitates and encourages individuals to change behavior and make different choices to achieve better outcomes.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}