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Try This the Next Time You Hear Bad News

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I’m embarrassed to say this, but back in August when Hurricane Ida ripped through the Gulf of Mexico and then Louisiana, I didn’t know the storm even existed until a few hours before it hit. I’m usually more in the know, but there’s just so much heaviness in the news that as of late, my strategy for how to respond to bad news has been to stick my head in the sand.

I’ve spent a lot of time eating sand over the past couple of years. Maybe you have, too. It’s a desperate attempt to save the last shred of sanity and peace we have. But we can’t stay hidden. Difficult times and scary headlines are still going to come. So, when they do, how do we keep them from breaking us? I heard wise advice for how to respond to bad news that I have already started doing and it’s made a huge difference. So next time you hear bad news, try this.

Write your own headlines.

Pastor Andy Stanley shared a story of a conversation he had with an elderly man who had lived through polio, diphtheria, multiple wars, and more, and yet, he still seemed enchanted with life. Andy commented to the man that these past several months must have been especially challenging. The man said, “No. I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines. I see the world through the people that surround me. I see the world with the realization that we love big. I write my own headlines.”

But is that just ignoring reality?

Heck no! If your response for how to respond to bad news is to choose to write your own headlines, you’re not saying those other ones don’t exist. They’re still out there, and they still need our action, prayers, and concern. What changes is what you allow to fill your heart, mind, and spirit. Focusing on the good doesn’t make the bad disappear, but it can help restore peace within you. And I’m not talking about peace, like a lack of stress. I’m talking about real peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace will trickle down to your children and help them handle the anxieties they’re facing—all from writing your own headlines.

Focusing on the good doesn’t make the bad disappear, but it can help restore peace within you. Click To Tweet

Here are 10 headlines I wrote just this week:

Lunchtime Miracle! Child Returns From School Having Eaten Entire Lunch

Three Loads of Laundry Folded Before Becoming Wrinkled

Husband and Wife Celebrate Anniversary With Champagne Toast

Grandparents Sneak Bonus Dessert to Kids (Again)

Entire Family Gets Gold Star From Dentist

10-Year-Old Boy Gets B+ on “Impossible” Math Test

Mom and Step-Mom Team Up to Pull Epic Prank on Kids

Son Rakes Leaves Without Being Asked

Family Has Epic Leaf Battle in Front Yard

Mammogram Results: All Clear!

What are your headlines?

Now all you have to do is notice. Look for the news in your life that makes you smile, raises your spirit, or fills you with gratitude and write it down. Put it on paper or simply think about it and give it a moment to rest within you. For this to truly work, though, this is what you need to remember: The headlines you’re writing are just as powerful and life-changing as the ones on the television or your newsfeed. Being small or quiet doesn’t make them any less important.

Here’s a challenge for you. Write a headline now and share it in the comments. I’d love to read yours.


What’s one really good thing that happened today?

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