All relationships can be difficult at times, but they should not be destructive to our well-being. Learn the difference between a destructive pattern and a difficult season with this free resource, “Is This Normal? 15 Red Flags You May Be Missing in Your Relationships.”


What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

June 10, 2014

I felt so fragile sitting in the parking lot of Target, too sad to stop crying. And though my hand held a list of things that really couldn’t be put off another day, I was now entirely too tired to run errands or do much of anything. So there I sat. Alone.

Moments earlier, a friend had called to tell me something she’d seen posted about me online.

I pulled up the social media page my friend alerted me about, and there it was for all the world to see: opinions about me flying through the internet, intent on ripping me apart. Others debated me as if I were a product sitting on a shelf, void of a soul. As soon as I read the unkind words, daggers hit their mark deep inside my heart.

I tried to give myself a little pep talk, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Who on God’s green earth came up with that ridiculous mantra? It’s not true. I cried a little more.

Maybe you’ve sat in a Target parking lot crying too. The circumstances might have been different, but the hurt is the same … that sliced-open feeling of being judged, misunderstood, and wrongly exposed for the purpose of a good debate.

And I’m sure, like me, you instantly wanted it all to stop.

So, what’s a girl to do when she’s feeling desperate to fix something that can’t be immediately fixed?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I’m sharing an imperfect solution that will at least get our toes pointed in the right direction over at (in)Courage today. Click here to read the rest of my post and to chat a bit. I’ll be there this morning with coffee in hand and arms wide open.

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  1. Maggie Castle

    I’ve been there myself! How do you get past it and move on.

    • Barb

      I have had several years of people gossiping about me and believing the gossip and adding to it. This devotional was helpful. I am asking The Lord to give me grace and help me to learn to be content in the state of being abased.(Phillipians 4:12a)

    • Debby

      Barb, I’ve been there also. You just put one foot in front of the other with prayer and staying in God’s word. Know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12
      We are all hurt deeply at times and how we react is the character of each of us. Are we going to please God in this situation or flesh? I hope I’ll always choose the character that pleases my Lord and Savior.

    • Nico Smith

      MMy husband and I are always working things out together, no matter what the situation is.

    • Jeanette

      God is so good. I had a project ripped up (verbally) and called “worthless” by a boss (to me & amongst board members) that proofed it before it went to print (yet I was hearing comments after it was in print form)….hot tears & grumbles were barely held back by me. This timely blog was God’s help to help me go back to work with love for the one who simply gave these comments just to build up herself while tearing me down. Thank you all for your honest sharing.

  2. Maggie Castle

    I’ve been there myself! How do you get past it and move on.

  3. Cindy

    i just purcased a book by this exact same title by David Jeremiah. What is that about??

  4. Danise Jurado

    Your heart for God and willingness to openly share with others has led so many to freedom and a closer relationship with God!! God is so happy with you. He loves you and He is so glad that you are fulfilling His purpose for your life through your willingness. I am so sorry to hear that a few people are being negative and critical of you…. But please know that there are so many more who are very thankful for you and the ministry God is doing through you. Blessings to you! You are loved and appreciated! 🙂

  5. Dana

    I always enjoy opening my inbox to your words. I appreciate the place of honesty, openess & vulnerability from which you share. You are right “hurting people, hurt people”. I don’t know what ugly words were written about you. But, I do know that many women out there, whether they take the time to write it, think many good thoughts about you. It takes courage to put yourself out there…daily! I can’t tell you how I’ve relied on my daily encouragement inbox as a source to counter the negative. “Negative Nancy’s” will come & go, but know that you are appreciated & God’s opinion of you is so much, much more grand! Oh, how blessed we are that he sees our tears, is our Peace, our Comforter, and shows us Love!

  6. Bonnie May

    Amen, sister. Well said. Thank you.

  7. Shunya

    Thanks for sharing what others wont. THA TRUTH.

  8. Kristin Fuller

    Thank you for sharing the Scripture verses that can be so easily personalized. Thought I would mention that the third verse has parentheses rather than brackets like all the others and is not replaced along with the others.

    I love personalized Scripture and was looking for something to speak over my husband who suffers daily with constant, chronic, unending, debilitating pain. Today he is at a low and has lost all hope of ever knowing relief.

  9. Rebecca

    Good morning, Lysa. My heart hurt for you when I read your post. Only God can truly bind up the hurt. And remember those 2 words that can change any situation: BUT GOD. Man may have done this to hurt you BUT GOD can take it and work it for His glory and your good. So have another cup of coffee and just relax and take a deep breath knowing there are SO many people out “here” who love you but the One Who loves you most and best, is right there with you.

  10. Barb Thompson

    Lysa, I just read your post about someone or more than someone leaving hurtful remarks on the internet about you. I just want to say a huge thank you both in how you responded, but to all of the help you have been to my life and others. God has blessed you with much wisdom and interesting, effective ways of sharing that wisdom. Along with that, for me, one of the greatest helps to my life is your honest sharing–a rare commodity and helps us to relate and see God’s real answers in our own lives. Thank you for your real faith and caring for all of us. You are an absolute blessing to my life!

  11. Stephanie

    I find it odd your friend has nothing better to do than share gossip from social media with you.

  12. Cat @ MaryMarthaMama

    Thank you for opening up about this. I struggle with wanting to be a people pleaser and so judgement and harsh words can really hurt me. Thank you for the encouragement toward compassion in our responses. I think that will really help some. And to add to the others, I have been really blessed by your writings. So please keep sharing!

  13. Jo Ellen

    I have had the same experience. My son committed suicide almost five years ago and my daughter has been diagnosed with mental illness. I feel enough regret for a lifetime but recently some hopefully well meaning ladies in my Sunday school class who have never experienced difficulties with their kids weighed in on the subject. I feel as though they think my husband and I did something wrong in our parenting. We loved and did everything we knew to do to raise children who loved The Lord. All three of my children profess to know The Lord as their Savior.

    • Marilyn

      Dearest Jo Ellen,
      I can not even begin to fathom your tremendous loss and pain with the death of your precious son. My heart breaks for you. Please do not blame yourself. We each struggle to do what is best for our children and when our children are grown we are not responsible for the choices they make. Yes our hearts break but we are not in control of their actions. Please know that You are not to blame , May God hold you in His arms and shelter and protect you always. May God heal all of your hurts and give you His blessed peace. May God strengthen you and guard your mind and heart always. God’s child is always in His arms and under His care. Praying for Peace and blessings to you,my sister in Christ.

  14. April

    Good Morning Lysa, I have to tell you that whenever I see your name in my inbox a spark of joy and thankfulness comes into my heart. I have been soooo blessed and encouraged by you and your postings as you faithfully serve our Lord through your words. Thank you for being so transparent since we all share in many of the same situations. May the Lord bless you as you continue to be used by Him to help women around the world.

  15. Kathy

    I so agree with my sisters in Christ on this one..Who among us has not been ripped apart by someones words?
    Who has openly shared that hurt for all the world to see?
    You have! Isn’t what your doing here an in(courage) bench event even as we speak? While I tear up and clench my fists that anyone would debate and critically discuss you, I also praise the one who made you so vulnerable. Because we need you in our lives. All sides of you. Laying bare your heart brings healing. I pray the Lamb of God brings his healing to your heart today. We love you Lysa!

  16. Celeste

    I think all of us have felt hurts. The power of the hurt is greater when we react without thinking. I used to say I am not worthy but scripture shows all are worthy. Our challenge is to see with godly eyes. As a single parent there is never enough. However God gives help and accepting help makes the burden bearable. We do not have to please people we just need to love God and one another. When I begin and end my days with prayer I am better equipped. In his joy and peace. . . .

    This post helps all of us.

  17. Robin

    Are we not supose to consider trials a blessing? Look at it as you ARE doing something right. As many are hurting and say hateful things, Many more love you and rely on your minsitry. Tell the devil to back off and move on. All that matters is that you are doing God’s will. Who cares what anyone says but HIM. Good or bad. 🙂

  18. marilyn

    Dearest Lysa,
    When we are caught off guard by vicious lies and our world is devastated and turned upside down, this is when we are most vulnerable. We are deeply wounded and hurt. It is my opionion that it is best to withdraw or disengage from what is going on, until you have had time pray and turn everything over to God. God will guide you and restore your energy and give you peace of mind so that you will be able to step back and be able to fully assess the situation. A very wise christian lady, wrote words of wisdom regarding how we should handle difficult situations like this. Her words were to the effect on how to prepare a response. First of all she suggested to determine is it necessary to respond? Is it helpful to respond? and there was one more important criteria which I can not recall at this moment (can you help me remember?). Prayers going up now for your wounded heart.

  19. Terry

    You are loved. You need a big (((((((((((((hug))))))))) that’s what friends, do. I’m sorry you’re hurting. You are so much more than mere words…don’t forget your invisible “crown”. never leave home with out it…you are ~ a Princess….and well……..let the King handle this. You just continue to endure with grace and joy….head held high. Do the right thing..right now…just focus on “Him.” not on unkind words you can do nothing about. ((((((( Hugs)))))
    You try to have a purple sparkleeeee day!

  20. heidi

    Lysa…your devotions have been the words from the Lord so many times to me. Please keep being honest, open , and funny… is refreshing to hear Christians share how they get through this world with all the junk and joys filtered through the love of Christ. Most Christians either live life striving for perfection or they live life acting as if they have achieved perfection. I am thankful to see that your family just rests of Jesus’ perfection. May His Spirit guard your heart as you minister to us all!

  21. Zandile

    Hi Lysa. My name is Zandile, I live in South Africa. And I suscribed to Encouragement for today 2yrs ago, and the devotionals are a great place where I find the goodness of God manifested each day. Daily when I’m going through something, the devotionals, always if not all the time it’s like they are planned perfectly to be an answer for each day. Today I’m dealing with a person in my life who has gone out of her way to hurt me. Thank God for your wise words on what to do when I don’t know what to do. Writting her off and acting hurt is not going to show her the kind of love that Christ wants us to give others. I’m forever grateful that Proverbs 31 is in my life. Our circumstances might not be the same, but when a word comes from the heart of God it has a way to meet all of us where we are. Stay blessed.

  22. Melanie SCR Hilliger

    Many, many, many times I look forward to your writings; they aid me when I feel lost and forgotten. You were chosen by God to minister to me (& others) and assist me in my walk with God; THANK GOD He chose YOU!!!!!!!!!

    little secret: you are not alone

    WE are here for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Kristy L

    Thank you for all that you do! Thank you for this post. I appreciate your openness and willingness to help us every day, even when you are struggling too.

    You rock!!

  24. Caroline

    from negative comes positive. we start to think & change which is positive. keep your head held high & faith will lead us through. all people have the right to express their opinions & thoughts & it is our job to filter through to the truth. sometimes what is said is partly true but that makes for great conversation in our head & can lead to change in ourselves. it is never what others think but what we know. xoxo

  25. Chrystene

    Let love be our guide. Drinking my coffee. Being mindful and listening and searching and just being. Love to you and yours. Faith, hope, and love.

  26. Korrine Carrera

    God has worked through your obedience to Him in more ways than you can ever imagine. When I first rededicated my life to Christ after 16 years of being deceived into doubting Him (Limitless Life nod there) ;-), it was your book Unglued that was one of the first books I read on my highway to healing. I actually came in on the end of a women’s study on the book but God used it to allow me to heal and better the way I interact with myself. A study that was meant to work on the way I interact with others was used by God to help me allow Him to put me back together. Your obedience to Him in allowing those words to jump from your heart onto the page brought me one step closer to my goal of freedom through Christ. Thank you for all you do!!!

  27. mommashopper

    really liked your honesty when you wrote about feeling like you did in the target parking lot,have been hurt by others too and even worse hurt when I went to a Christian friend of 20 years and she wouldn’t talk,she was too busy and never did call back when she said she would.guess in the tough times God sometimes shows us our own strengths when others fail has taught me to always be there for others and put my own agenda of “important” things like laundry aside to be there when someone calls.

  28. Nicole Thompson

    Lysa, have you by chance read Brene Brown’s book called ‘Daring Greatly’? She shares a similar situation…and then she happens upon Theodore Roosevelt’s quote which changes things for her! The quote is this “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while DARING GREATLY.” You have helped, inspired and encouraged many, myself included. You have been brave enough to live your life in the ‘arena’. You have ‘dared greatly’ and your reward will be GREAT!

  29. Ginger Nelms

    This was an excellent article and very timely. Thank you for sharing the wisdom God gives you to heal and restore relationships. I have enjoyed one of your books so far, and wanting to read another one soon. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

  30. K Bye

    If you don’t BE how you feel, isn’t that wearing a mask?

  31. Gina

    You have been an encouragement and an inspiration . I have been following you and your passion with Lord and wisdom has always been a blessing to me whenever down and needed a lift in my spirit. Now please be encouraged and know that you have blessed so many people
    There may be few detractors but The Lord is with you. We are always victorious I. Jesus name

    Rest assured you a friend praying for you … God bless you always and protect you against all the
    People who try to destroy the good work that the Lird entrusted on you. Keep your head and be strong for The Lord God is on your side!

    • Gina

      I’m so sorry for all the typo errors My phone has auto correct but always altering the
      Words…. Blessings to all!

  32. Chris Carter

    Lysa- since I read your post late last night, you have been on my heart and in my prayers…

    And I still am thinking about you and lifting you up into His Loving arms and truly pray your heart is healing.


    God’s got this. <3

  33. Ellen Sarvis

    Lysa……Debbie in Comment #3 nailed exactly the thoughts that came into my head. So, ditto ! Our Lord Jesus told us plainly that He was sending us out into the world as sheep among wolves. The world will hate us because they first hated Him. Because you are so gifted, so spirit-filled and so called to this great ministry that touches so many, there is just no way to escape negative comments. No way that it doesn’t hurt. But your conclusions are so sound…..most often, comments come from those that are so hurting and the truth of your words , at the moment, may add to the situation. Your answer to respond in love is sent by our Father, directly to your heart…..for He Is Love and would expect that you respond in no other way! And He will provide the perfect way to handle this dilemma….as we all well know…He does it every time! We are to respond in love and pray for the hurt and lost……shine as Jesus would shine….that’s what the followers of Christ do….in any circumstance…..yes, we all understand…we’ve all been there….it hurts and its hard…..but you have such an awesome gift I’m pretty certain you are well into the solution. God bless you for all you do…..and keep us posted! We’d love a follow-up message! Behind every set-back, God always pushes us forward….with a new lesson learned under our belt!

  34. Monica P

    Hi Lysa, I would be honored with your gift of the “Finding Spirtual Whitespace.” God is trying to get my attention, and like others I do have my prayer and devotion time. In fact, I speak with him all the time, but there’s something missing. I have been crying and praying and trying to seek direction…to seek guidance. You ARE MY ANSWER. I believe that God directed me to this site for a purpose. He’s constantly speaking to me, but what am I hearing Lysa. I so desperately need help. I’m thristy as one would be for water. So, I dont have a bunch of fancy stories or fancy words. Just simply that you would be blessing me with this gift that God laid on your heart to give. He works miracles and blessing through others. You see, I too, and a giver. I am a “good girl” and I do because that’s whats in my spirit. I love making others happy. I just don’t know how to find it for myself. So, I need to learn how to be still, and have quiet time with him. Thanks for listening. Stay Blessed~

  35. Michelle

    Two quotes I heard many years ago come to mind—-
    “Have a tender heart and a thick back.” “Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.” The minute we step out for God, we become a bulls eye for the enemy. You know the truth about you, your life, and your relationship with God. Let the truth keep you free. Your armor has temporarily been knocked off; hurry up and put it back on and put it on tighter than ever. Put your blinders on and dont give in to this distraction. Opinions are just that, but truth prevails! You have a call of God on your lif. He has gone before you; He is with you; He is your rear guard. I believe in Him in you!

  36. Carrie Cheecham

    Only God knows the true you. And I can see that you’re pretty special Lysa. Take heart 🙂

  37. Terry Sereff

    Just wanted you to know that I have several devotions come through my inbox each day and it always puts a smile on my face when one is yours. In fact, I save Encouragement for Today for the last one I read just in case it is yours that day. I also read Unglued and liked your writing style so much that I felt like Crave could be helpful to my husband so I read it to him via Skype since we are in different states quite a bit of the time. All of this said in hope that it is an encouragement to you that you definitely impact others in a positive way.

  38. Barb

    Oh Lysa, you are such an encouragement to so many. Thank you for being so authentic. I’ve only been a believer for 7 years (I’m almost 45, eek). We jst started your bible study “what happens when women say yes to God” at my church. I am “co-leading” and it is REALLY beyond me. Lol. Anyway, yesterday was our second week and my first time up in front of this group of women. I was a nervous wreck, and right now I’m trying to discern the voice of which is satan condemning me and The Lord growing/guiding me. (I asked God to grow and stretch me and He is definitely honoring that prayer, go figure, lol). Anyway, this is the first time many of these women have done one of your studies. As I reflected last night on our time, I was so blessed to already see God working in their hearts. Some opened up to very personal struggles/”messes” and it was a beautiful to hear how God used their situations for His Glory, as well as the opportunities He gave us to comfort/encourage one another. I also had several women comment how much they are truly enjoying all of the material because you are so relatable and down to earth. What I want to say is this: thank you for being you Lysa. You bless and encourage many with how you live out your faith and follow God. Eyes on the Prize…… Gods Glory! Sending you hugs and prayers that The Lord continues to guide and use you as His vessel as you continue to seek and love Him with all that you are. @@@@ You are loved and appreciated!

  39. Cheryl Bruce

    Thank you for this Lysa. You are right on! Keep on writing as it encourages others in their daily walk. You are a blessing!
    “Love can empower me to feel hurt without becoming a person consumed by that hurt…
    I can feel offended but I don’t have to be offended.
    I can feel insecure but I don’t have to act insecure.
    I can feel angry but I don’t have to respond angry.
    That’s the choice love makes.”

  40. Michelle Wright

    You encourage me daily. I see God through you. Keep up the great work!

  41. Debs

    Lysa, I’m so sorry regarding the hurt from social media described in your incourage posting. Have not had opportunity to read the comments posted above, but just wanted to ENcourage you about how very much you have helped — and continue to help — a great many Christian women with your writing. Thank you for your courage in sharing your Christian walk and insights with others: your words are invaluable! God bless and keep you, and give you of His peace.

  42. Trina

    I just cried my way through Unglued, literally. I’ve learned much from you and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work in God’s vast kingdom. I am a single mother of 4, with only my youngest daughter (who is 14 years old) living with me at this point. I wish I had been able to learn these truths by simply reading them, but I’ve had to learn much three hard way. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your candid stories and all the love, grace and prayer you pour in to your work!!!! I could feel God’s presence in so many places, you had to have prayed a lot! I could feel the peace of Sabbath…just such a blessing to read this book. My friends and I are getting together to discuss and watch the related video tomorrow. I just want you to know I appreciate your love poured out. Praying more love fills your life and that blessed peace that passes understanding continues to keep you.

  43. Jamie Rohrbaugh

    Especially words from people that you love or that should love you… ouch. I feel ya. I pray God will honor you for your faithfulness today.

    • Becki

      What helps me keep from freaking out is the Holy Spirit’s reminder of how things worked out when I freaked in the past. Not well! I want my sons to trust me to stay calm. It has been very difficult for me.

  44. Angela Bley

    Years ago, I had a boss who helped in the area of receiving bad feedback from others. Here’s what he told me… If you aren’t doing anything, there’s nothing to talk about. However if you are doing something… your job then people will talk whether good or bad. Then he smiled and said, “let them keep on talking”. Through the feedback whether good or bad, new women will find you and in turn you will encourage them. So talk on people! What is meant for bad or evil will turn around for God’s glory! Love your writing Lysa! Love your vulnerability! Thank you for being so real and relatable!

  45. Linda

    Dear Lysa,
    I PRAY that you will read my note, and also respond to it 🙂 Lysa, I have gained 60+ pounds in the last 5 years—I have no energy, I’m lazy ECT—and don’t like myself very much—I’ve lost touch w/ God—and Ya- I know that the bottom line is: God and I need to talk again/ have a relationship… I have purchased all 4 of your MADE TO CRAVE books/discussion guides—and I am praying that this will be the answer—that I will stick to exercise/diet/relationship w/ God!!!!!!! I need HIS help—I’m not happy and I take it out on everyone I care about—PLEASE help me (pray for me)

  46. Theresa

    Lysa and all her wonderful commenters (here and at (in)courage)…I know you wrote this post from a perspective of mean things people say. I have spent the last, really too many hours, reeling from the unfairness another person has shown me and torturing myself over my response “in the moment” and also what my further response will be. I couldn’t find that next right thing, right away that made me feel at peace until I came back here and one of your commenters recommended Ephesians 4, which reminded me that daily conduct should be an expression of unity and that all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting must be removed from me. From there is was a winding road that lead me back to my favorite chapter, Romans 12. Such good things in Romans 12. And Romans 13 and Romans 15. And for the first time since 7 PM Monday, I feel a little at peace with who I am and finally feel like I have adequate counsel to deal with the situation before me. I still don’t have a definitive decision, but the next right thing, right away. Listen to good counsel, and listen for as long as it takes for the right decision to come.

    Do not conform to this age…do not think of oneself more highly than one ought…bless those who persecute you…be concerned with what is noble in the sight of all…do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh…the insults of those who insult you fall upon me.

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