What To Do With Bad News

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety” Psalm 4:8

It was a typical day. I woke up, washed up, and got dressed. I woke my kids up for school, helped them to make breakfast, and sent them on their way with a kiss to the forehead. I drove to work, parked, walked into the office, booted up my computer, and listened to voicemail. And then my phone rang.

“Mrs. Greene. This is Women’s Imaging. We’ve been trying to reach you. Your mammogram results came back with some questionable results and we need you to come back immediately for an ultrasound for both breasts.”

I sat through the conversation, answered her questions, made my appointment, hung up the phone and went back to work. “Everything will be fine,” I told myself. “I’ve never had any health issues before, so this is nothing. All is well.”

I drove home. I made dinner for the family. I put the kids to bed. I walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror and I cried. “What if it is something? What if I’m sick and don’t know it? What if…”

What do you do with bad news? Do you worry or handle it with stride? Do you express your thoughts with a loved one, or do you keep how you’re feelings to yourself? Do you pretend all is well, or do you fall apart? I would say you probably do a combination of all of thee above. At least that’s what I did.

Getting bad news tests our faith like no other situation can. Everything we’ve learned about relying on God for guidance, casting our cares on the Lord, giving him our burdens so we can live and operate within his peace are all put to the test when bad news comes our way. Honestly, our first reaction is to panic, and then wallow, and then panic some more. But this is not how we (and I) are supposed to respond. I knew this, but it didn’t stop the avalanche of fear from crashing down, or the funk that settled over me for a couple of days. But, I knew I had to do something to get myself out of my house of fear and back into my faith zone. 

First, I got on my knees and prayed to see God in that moment. His presence is of utmost importance to me, and to know that he is with me helped to make enduring the situation more bearable.

Next, I asked for God’s peace. There was nothing I could do about the situation but wait.  I could have either spent those days in agony, worried about the outcome, or I could work to access God’s peace to keep me still. I chose peace.

Then, I activated my prayer warriors. Seeking prayer from others is not a bad thing. In fact, God places people in our lives who will intercede on our behalf when we're not able to do so ourselves. My prayer warriors, men and women, stepped in the gap and prayed me through the situation.  

My next step was to talk about it so I would not have to endure the wait alone. Bottled feelings cause stress, especially when you believe you can't talk about how you feel. I found a confidant with whom I could share my thoughts, feelings, and fears, and this helped me to silence the "what ifs" in order to help me to see the bright side of the situation. 

Finally, I went about my life. I went to work. I helped my children prepare to go back to school. I went to the grocery store. I allowed myself space to laugh and to cry. I enjoyed myself. In other words, I lived my life. 

I am happy to say my results were non-cancerous, which is a blessing I do not take lightly. I also don't take for granted what I learned during this season. My bad news has been a lesson in faith.  A lesson in putting what I have been saying into action. A lesson in trusting God.  A lesson in letting go of my worry and allowing God to take this situation in his hands. A lesson in embracing God’s peace in the midst of my storm.