How to handle bad news


In his book, The Journey, Billy Graham describes the christian walk as a “battlefield and not a playground”. Boy, is he right!

You know, it is impossible to go through any battle and not take a few blows here and there. It’s expected. A good soldier endures the hardship and goes through the process. But hardship is difficult to manage – especially when you “just” receive the news. So how do you handle it? What are some practical steps? I’m glad you asked.

When you receive bad or unpleasant news consider these steps:

1. Save the “Thinking” for later. After receiving horrible news, don’t process any information, just feel what you feel. When I got word my 34 year old brother, Eric, had died suddenly I compounded the immediate stress by trying to keep going as normal.

Here’s what happened: I was leaving an Sunday evening service when I got “that” call. I brainlessly tried to continue driving, but in my shock I wasn’t thinking clearly. Tears blinded my vision, my thoughts were racing and my breathing was irregular. Thankfully, I had enough sense to turn the car around. I headed back to the church (Sheffield Family Life Center) where some Spirit-field women and a couple of pastors and prayed me through the immediate anguish.

Regardless of where you are when you receive life-changing news, take a moment to collect yourself. Still yourself so you can feel what you feel. Don’t try to take care of anyone else for a bit. Just allow yourself to cry, scream or sit on the edge of the bed and sigh “Wow”.

2. Identify your ‘Ram in the Bush’. During life’s most challenges times, I have two particular friends I keep very close. As I journey through life’s troubling times, they are my encouragers, prayer warriors and intercessors.

I believe God strategically puts such people in our lives for times such as those.

3. Live in the Psalms. Praise God for the Psalms! After the shock has worn off, you will need easy-to-digest scripture to encourage your spirit during the days ahead. Psalms is a wonderful source of promises, praise and distress cries for Believers. Keep searching until you find the one that soothes your spirit. It’s there, you just have to find it.

4. Keep on Praying and Praising. There is healing in worship. During the roughest times worship is like a salve that soothes your trauma and pain. It can actually lift your spirit as your elevate your God. Sometimes, I opt for slow worship and other times fast. Either way, worshiping God gives me strength to go on.

Praise God as you reflect on the trials He’s already brought you through. Praise Him because He’s kind, merciful and loving. You can trust Him because He has promised not to leave you or forsake. In trouble He’ll be there with you – holding you, comforting you and giving your strength.

Don’t neglect your prayer time. Continue to meet with Him one on one for strength, communication and inspiration. Also, it’s ok, He can handle your pain, anger and lamenting.

5. Get Outside Help, if Needed. After a shock, you may need to get counsel, advice or help from a mental health professional. Christians that act as though counseling is sin make me itch. If your world has been turned upside down by devastating news, it’s absolutely nothing wrong with accessing help from a disinterested third party. In Kansas City, Dr. Joyce Wallace is an amazing counselor. She’s often seen at Christian women’s retreats as a keynote speaker. Yes, she helped me through my grief many years ago. Losing two brothers suddenly in two years was traumatic, but God gave me strength to endure and He will for you too! Don’t give up, you can make it.

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About Godsygirl 260 Articles

Life is all about freedom, right? Freedom to serve, freedom to support others and free to be … well…free! Join this mom, pastor’s wife and Christian woman on her journey to be relevant, whole and Godsy – typos and all!


  1. Thanks for this, Teri. I am struck by the first piece of advice as I, too, try to continue “normalcy” and push back my emotion. Also, love how you said there is healing in worship. It’s so hard to do, but so true.

    You are such an inspiration!!

  2. I agree. It’s very difficult – almost counter intuitive. But, so so healing….

    What’s your “go to” song? Mine is Karen Wheaton’s “For every mountain…”

    Appreciate ya Sara!

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