For example, once there was a man who was in love with his fiancé and was about to get married when she suddenly dumped him and married his best friend. He was devastated. He grew more and more depressed, gradually retreated into seclusion and eventually killed himself. This is unhealthy adjustment. There was another man in the same situation who was also deeply in love with his fiancé and about to get married when she dumped him and married his best friend. He was also devastated. He felt depressed, but decided he’d feel better if he focused on someone else. He volunteered at the local hospital where he met a wonderful, caring woman. A year later, they got married. This is healthy adjustment.
Suicide is an extreme example of an unhealthy adjustment pattern, but it serves to illustrate this fact - bad things happen to all of us. We don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we always get to choose how we respond. We can focus on ourselves and what we’ve lost or we can focus on others and what remains. Maybe we haven’t considered taking our own life but do we habitually take offense, get angry, seek revenge, become bitter or judgmental, or allow our fears to control us? All these responses to problems are a pattern of adjustment we formed years ago. Now is the time to recognize our unhealthy patterns and change them.
When we are living through a major period of stress it helps to pay attention to how we treat ourselves. Practicing self-nurturance when facing a difficult time in our life is a healthy adjustment pattern. We are more likely to respond positively to challenges if we are taking good care of ourselves . . . eating a healtlhy diet, getting proper rest and maintaining an exercise program helps us face the inevitable stresses of life. In addition, each of us needs a private way to unwind, such as spending time in nature, praying, listening to music or reading good books. Even Christ needed solitude when facing difficult times.
God will give us the ability to adjust positively to any situation - if we ask for help. God can give us courage when we are most afraid. God can help us find forgiveness when we want revenge. God can help us find patience when are at the end of our rope.