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 mustard 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.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What do you know about God that could be an encouragement to others?

Fearing the Worst (or Believing the Best)

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11 NIV

The email subject line from my editor read: “The email you’ve been waiting for.”

Yet I was still afraid to open it.

I’d had a rash of bad news lately. What if my editor means it’s the news that I’ve been WAITING to hear, but not exactly the good news I’m HOPING for? 

I said a quick prayer: “Lord, get me through this,” and read the email.

It turned out to be great news. And immediately I thought about that critical (I defensively call it “protective”) mode in me that takes over when I fear disappointment: Don’t get your hopes up, just in case. It can’t all be good, so beware.

How that lack of faith and absence of joyful expectation must hurt the heart of my Heavenly Father, who enjoys delivering good news to His children.

Our critical sides can rule us, at times, can’t they? We’re hesitant to hope, lest we be disappointed. We’re afraid to apply, lest we don’t get the job. We refuse to audition in case we don’t get the part. Yet, when we expect disappointment we are clearly saying to God – and others – that He is not capable of coming through for us or giving us anything better.

The Angel of the Lord rebuked Abraham’s wife – a doubting 90-year-old, barren woman – by asking her: “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Yet I have my own list of “impossibles” that I tend to think God can’t or won’t allow. But that is simply my lack of faith.

I love how Ephesians 3:20 (HCSB) sets me straight every time: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” 

Did you catch that? God is able to do — not a little more, not even much more, but – above and beyond all that we ask or think. Immeasurably more. So much more than we believe is possible.

God measures what we receive in eternal proportions that we can’t see or even fathom. He measures out what is best for us eternally, rather than temporally; what is best for our character, rather than our sense of convenience.

The God who numbers the hairs on our heads and has thoughts of us too numerable to mention wants to blow our expectations out of the water by coming through in a mighty way for each of us.

Instead of expecting the worst, will you start believing the best?

Lord, I will expect immeasurably more today because You are an immeasurably big God who is capable of doing the impossible!  

Fearing the Worst (or Believing the Best) – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. For more on her resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi is the author of 17 books including Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. You know what drama is…in your circle of friends, extended family, and in the unexpected circumstances of life. Truth is, we’ve all been both actor and audience when it comes to life’s dramas. But here’s another truth: You don’t have to let it sweep you away. You can find peace even when emotions overwhelm you.

Join the conversation: Has God ever surprised you when you were dreading the worst?