What NOT to Say to a Drama Queen

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

I recently had a conversation with someone who volunteers in a nonprofit organization. Something she said sent up red flags for me. She was complaining about her clients, who were so dramatic over trivial problems. “Everything that happens to them sends them into a tizzy, even the smallest things. So I just tell them: you need to have more faith.”

Not the best response.

First off, the people she is serving have not had easy lives. Many have experienced major trauma somewhere along the way. Many have only recently come to know the Lord and are only now learning what healthy looks like. From my (albeit brief) foray into counseling training, I learned that trauma victims react strongly to “small” things for a reason. On a scale of 0-10, what would barely register at a 1-2 for a healthy person can be a 10 for the traumatized. Why? While a normal baseline is 0, the traumatized are living life at a steady 7 or 8. Unresolved trauma keeps them on continual fight-or-flight mode. So it doesn’t take much to get them to 10.

In ministering to someone in the healing process, one of the least compassionate things we can say is “you have to have more faith.” Because in doing so, we will only add to their burden, which is already too much to bear. It’s just one more way they are not measuring up. So while “you need to have more faith” might sound like good advice, it’s actually more damaging than helpful.

Second, Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, “you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew 17:20). Faith as small as a tiny mustard seed is enough. Faith is not quantified in the Bible. You believe or you don’t. It is the line in the sand that sets believers apart from those who have not believed. It’s the only difference between saved and perishing.

Where believers struggle is not in how hard they believe. The problem is in doubting the object of our faith, in thinking Him to be only selectively involved in our lives. That while He may be capable, He is not concerned with the little things that matter to us. After all, we all prioritize what deserves our attention. You can’t jump at every little thing.

That’s true for us…but not for God. He knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). He knows when a sparrow, the commonest of birds, falls (Matthew 10:29-31). He knows what we are about to say before we say it (Psalm 139:4). He holds our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). He is a Heavenly Father who delights in His people and gives good gifts to His children (Psalm 149:4, Matthew 7:11). He is a God who is INVOLVED. In all of it. Even the things that might seem too trite to bring before Him. (Because really, what would seem big to God, anyway?)

So the answer to trusting Him in the “little” things is to learn about His intimate care for us. That He is not only capable, but interested. The better we know Him, the better we can trust Him.

After the conversation, I started thinking about what would have been a proper response to that volunteer. How should I have responded to  her frustration? (I am very good at “I should have said”s. In fact, it may be my spiritual gift.) What could she say to help someone on the path to healing? What would I have said if I were confronted with the same drama?

Thinking through what I know about God gave me the answer. I could encourage them with what I just listed about Him above. I could let them know that what is important to them is important to Him. That we can trust Him, no matter what is smacking us in the face at the moment. Because He is a God of details. And He is good.

There’s no burden in knowing God better. There’s no guilt induced for someone in hearing how deserving He is of our trust. And maybe, after receiving that encouragement, they will gain ability to place what has sent them into crisis into His capable hands.

Incline your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me. For you are my rock and my fortress, for Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me. Psalm 31:3-4 NASB

What NOT to Say to a Drama Queen – @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

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5 thoughts on “What NOT to Say to a Drama Queen

  1. Thanks for addressing that issue, Julie. As someone who was desperately wounded myself – and have suffered from hearing people say “have more faith” – there is just one more thing I would add. Take the suffering person by the hand and say, “Let me pray for you.” Then, instead of telling the person about God’s goodness, thank God for His great love for the individual. Thank Him that he alone knows the answer. Thank Him that He stands with outstretched arms to welcome that person, and that He will walk through this trial with them. Ask Him for healing and help – all in the name of Jesus, His precious Son. By leading that person into the presence of God, you bring the comfort they need. This is something I do regularly with people in my town who are suffering. Anytime someone tells me of a trial they are facing or a pain or an illness, I lead them into God’s presence this way. It ALWAYS brings them to a point of peace! Often there are tears. In this way, we can bring the power of God into that other person’s life – our faith in Him melds into their soul and plants a seed of faith in the wounded heart. In myself, there can be no answers, no solutions. But I can lead them into the presence of the One who has all answers and solutions and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Therein lies tremendous power! Sheri

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still stand in awe about God’s timing with this devotion. I had just finished reading it when my husband walked into our house with news of yet two more tragedies that have struck our little church after a year long series of dramatic events. I shared the link with him. He enthusiastically resonated with it. We went together to our church’s Wednesday night prayer meeting and he used it as his devotion. It was words all of us needed to hear as we try to help the hurting within our congregation. Thank you, Julie, for your faithfulness in sharing the insights God gave you and thank you God for bringing us wisdom at the moment we needed it.


    1. Thank you so much for sharing that!! You have encouraged my heart. We, too, have gone through a string of tragedies in our church–a series of dramas that has rocked the fellowship. But after dealing with the source of the problems, the church came together and shared their concerns and hurts and prayed together. It was an unbelievably healing moment. And the people who stayed through it all have become a solid core. God is building something new in our body, and using the bad to develop the good. Hang in there–it is HIS church. So glad to hear prayer is the answer for what ails you–because for sure it is.


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