Coping with emotional turmoil

Coping with emotional turmoil

January 04, 2023

By: Kae Tritle, RN; Well-Being Coordinator
 
January seems to be the month when we all take a collective sigh of relief and catch our breath.  All of the Christmas hustle and bustle has finished, and the spring events have yet to be planned.  Because January is the first month of the calendar year, it seems to be a month of beginnings.    
 
But, there can’t be beginnings without endings. Over the past year, external events or experiences may have impacted or greatly changed our lives, disabling accidents, death, divorce, or other losses such as friends, colleagues, employment, or finances.  For others, there may be an awareness of an inner loss, an opportunity that was ignored, a realization that a long-held hope will never be attained, or the recognition that our perceptions and reality don’t match. 
 
This January, particularly, many of us may have feelings of grief and/or conflict due to the effects of the pandemic on our communities and economy, the polarization of our society, or the conflict within our UMC denomination with impacts upon our congregations and clergy.  As we reflect on the losses or difficulties this past year, we can learn from them and choose to be transformed by them.
 
            It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us. If I want
             transformation, I must let go of what could have been and pursue what can be.”
                                                                                                            (A Grace Disguised, by G.Sittser)   
 
If you are having difficulty coping with your emotions and/or conflicting values, and need a listening ear or some objectivity, please consider seeking help from a professional counselor. Facebook and social media are not effective places for assistance in the midst of emotional turmoil.  
 
Our clergy, ministry personnel, and conference staff and their families can call Employee and Family Resources at 800-327-4692 or visit www.efr.org.  The 800 number will provide contact with a Master’s prepared counselor and the opportunity for six sessions at no cost.  Further counseling can be arranged if needed for in-person counseling within driving distance.
 
The Conference has a contract with EFR to provide employee assistance/counseling for all of our clergy, ministry personnel and families, full and part-time, regardless of participation in the health plan This information is also on our Conference website under the Human Resources Department and on the Health & Well-Being page listed at the bottom of the Conference home page. 
 
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. (2 Cor. 4:10, The Message)
 
I invite you to place yourself, the past year, and the future before God. Ask for healing regarding the losses, conflicts, might-have-been, and what-ifs.  As you are able, let go of anger, disappointment, grief, and anxiety.  
 
Then ponder this question: “What gives me joy in life, both professional and personal?” Write down your hopes, dreams, and possibilities, making them more visible and concrete.  Then ask for God’s strength and guidance regarding what you have written. Let God work on you and your possibilities over the next few months. Share them with trusted persons. They may be God’s instrument in guiding you to the next phase of your life. May God richly bless your endeavors this next year!