How Are You Coping
Learning to manoeuvre and manage my emotions when unpleasant situations arise is my personal definition of coping. However, a better clinical definition is:
“the use of cognitive and behavioural strategies to manage the demands of a situation when these are appraised as taxing or exceeding one’s resources or to reduce the negative emotions and conflict caused by stress.”
I feel like simply coping is probably the least desirable response to an unwanted situation though, because I often feel as though it suggests that I am barely making it.
Maybe like me, you feel that you haven’t been showing up as you usually would. I am the type of person to set goals at the start of the year and be intentional about my plans surrounding key areas of my life. This year though, has been a humbug of a lot of everything and we are already at the end of January and I am still a huge pile of disorganization.
Pretense serves no one’s interest, least of all your own, so when we are honest with ourselves about our struggle and our need for help, we are truly able to articulate what we need or what we may feel we lack.
The Holy Spirit is not only our comforter, He is also our helper (John 14:6). It’s a beautiful friendship of dependence when we say, ‘Holy Spirit, I am struggling and I need you’. In loving response, one day He may show up as a whisper to rest and another day He may valiantly fight on your behalf.
Guess who is coping right now … most people. You are not alone. There is someone somewhere feeling overwhelmed by a situation, who is without an immediate resolution and is simply coping.
Certainly, God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), and yes, He renews the strength of those who wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). However, I also know that despite our closest relationship with God there is a stage of every difficulty where we simply just cope and survive as best as we can and there is no shame in that. The great news is that learning and growing always occurs while we cope and in those seasons the Lord increases our patience and resilience.
Patience because we have no choice but to wait out the situation until things get better. Until our difficult circumstance is resolved we just keep coping, persevering and waiting. I admit that I can become impatient with myself whenever I am in a season of transition or difficulty and can’t get the instant reprieve that I long for. Although the discomfort sometimes feels like it is more than I can bear, guess what, I bear it anyway, because I'll never allow myself to be persuaded to give it.
That is my prayer for you as well, that you Never Ever Give Up.
We wait and trust God with our situation while we cope. My very close friend was diagnosed with cancer and though I'm sure that they would have preferred to receive a positive prognosis after 2 weeks of treatment, that wasn’t the case. So patient endurance coupled with faithful prayer stepped in and despite the emotional, psychological and physical toll, they waited patiently for their good outcome.
Resilience because you are doing more than coping, you are surviving. Those who remain steadfast and are coping despite their difficulty, must be applauded. Those who hold on and endure are the brave ones. If you feel like you are barely holding on but you refuse to let go, you are a fighter with resilience that will take you through any challenge.
Sometimes we are ashamed to admit that we are merely coping, that we are overwhelmed, that we can’t see the next move and that we feel lost. I see you, God sees you and if in this season coping is all that you can do, then go ahead and do you, because for right now, that is enough.
The Lord is helping you to hold on and what feels like just coping now would be a mighty testimony of bravery in years to come. How do I know this? The bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19).
I believe that in coping you are actually germinating a seeds of COURAGE, WISDOM and STRENGTH for your next step and next season.
Right now may feel crappy and confusing but as the Holy Spirit waters your soul maybe with encouraging pieces such as this, He is preparing to give you vision and clarity for the road ahead.
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