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How We Can Respond When Bad Things Happen


It gives me great pride in our students and graduates that so many Christian life coaches and counselors want to address the topic of how to properly respond when bad things happen. As I was researching material for this post, I came upon several articles by my colleague, Debbie Stankovich, one of PCCCA’s Certified Joy Restoration Coaches©, a Master Christian Life Coach / Trainer and owner of Grief Coaching Center. Of particular interest was her article entitled, “Why Bad Things Happen”.

Debbie Stankovich, MCLC

Even though today we may be mourning the tragedy that took place in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church, in her article Debbie recalled the Orlando terror attack at a night club, where 49 people lost their lives. Bad things happen.

We may not have been directly involved in any of the recent senseless tragedies, but when we hear reports about them, we inevitably deal with second-hand anxiety and grief. The emotions we experience, are caused by the thoughts we have about the event.

If we have a tendency to internalize our thoughts and experiences, we may even feel physical, stress-related symptoms. These are a very real issue that your coaching and counseling clients may be dealing with as well.

Physical Symptoms From Unresolved Anxiety and Grief

Symptoms may include (but are not limited to) sleeplessness, queasy stomachs, headaches, mild discomfort in our chest near our heart region, headaches, anxious feelings, sadness, tears, distraction and inability to focus. This list is certainly not exhaustive but you get the idea.

Debbie says, “Everyone has an opinion about why such violence is becoming so common. People blame politicians, guns, bigotry, and radical extremism – all (contributing) factors. And they are right to do so, as it is the sinful nature of humankind that leads to destruction.”

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by
the Spirit is life and peace.” ~ Romans 8:6

Debbie asks us to consider, “God will have the last word and justice will be served. But what do we do until that time comes?”

She then proposes we begin by changing our focus. “We don’t need to ask ‘why’ terrible things happen. We know the answer. Sin separates us from God and leads to death.”

So instead, Debbie suggests, we ask that the Holy Spirit fill our mind with all things good that lead to life and peace, and pray the same for the entire world.

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." ~ Proverbs 23:7

In a coaching environment, how can we help our clients re-frame their thoughts to reduce second-hand anxiety and grief about circumstances we have no control over?

Here are some questions / re-frames to consider offering your clients:

 I understand your feelings may still be raw but what if you forgave that person? 

  What if you could use the pain as a source of fuel to make a difference in the world … to love more, give more?

  What would that look like?

  With second-hand grief, we feel real heart-pain, but not because something has happened to us. We feel it because of what we are thinking about the event.

  What are other ways to think about it, that honor the lost, but that don’t lead to pain?

It’s our duty as coaches and counselors to lead with skills needed by today’s world, rather than follow behind the need. A decade ago, none of us could have guessed what our world would look like today. Yet we answered the call to service. So now is not the time to turn away from those who need us.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season 
we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

If you haven’t yet been trained and certified in my dual-certification program, as a Joy Restoration Coach© / Christian Grief Coach, I encourage you to begin now. Every person you coach, sooner or later will deal with loss and you need to know how to help them. The very fact that I am even writing this article should give pause to consider the need for this training.

Need Tuition Assistance?  Let Us Help.

If you already decided to take the Joy course but haven’t been ready to make the investment towards your tuition, I want to help you. I have given our team authorization to make special tuition arrangements in the way of individual, customized payment plans.

All you need to do is call us TOLL FREE 800-280-4662, ext. 1 to discuss options with us. If you begin your training this week, you can be certified as early as this January!


My readers and I greatly value your thoughts and comments. Please tell us about your own journey with this topic and any aha's down below in the comments section!

Love and blessings,

Leelo Bush, Ph.D.
CEO & Director of Training
PCCCA / Beautiful Life International, LLC

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