Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE goes through seasons in their life where they feel like their entire world is falling in all around them. We find ourselves buried beneath loads of stress, fear and uncertainty. The pathway seems dim and difficult for us to find our way. Panic can set in, and we may literally find it difficult to breathe or see a way through to tomorrow. What can we do?

Those who physically explore caves are called “Spelunkers”, and I think some of the tips for safe and successful spelunking might apply to those who are struggling with overwhelming circumstances. See if some of these suggestions resonate with you.

  1. The Buddy System- It’s always safer to explore caves with someone else, and to do your best to stay close and connected during your time of exploration. This makes it less likely for anyone to get lost. It also provides a sense of comfort and encouragement in what might seem like an otherwise spooky situation. The same holds true for each of us when we fight our way through uncertain times. Talk to a friend, a pastor or someone who has a track record for encouragement and wisdom. Buddy up!
  2. Focus on the Next Step- In the darkness of a cave it’s difficult to see very fair. It’s exponentially more dangerous if there has been a cave in! Dust fills the air, and fear seems to drive what air is left completely out of the room. When you world caves in around you, do what experienced spelunkers do… focus on your next step. You can do it! One. Step. At. A. Time.
  3. Look For the Clearest Path Forward- In a cave, there may be standing water, dangerous cliffs with sharp drop offs, or boulders standing in your way. When that is the case, take time to pause. Explore the lay of the land in front of you. Consider what the obstacles are in your way, and brainstorm for solutions.
  4. Reach Up- When the cave is falling in all around explorers, the goal is usually NOT to deeper into the cave, or the problem. It’s to move up, move on and move out! My encouragement is to reach UP to the One who created you and ask for peace, direction, and if necessary to ask for saving! Look up to a source stronger than yourself, one who is greater than you or your circumstances. Never lose sight of hope!

I know it may look dark, dusty and dismal where you stand right now. That doesn’t mean this is the end, and it certainly doesn’t mean the sun has stopped shining. You simply can’t see it right now. But look up my friend, look up! Your way through this mess is there, you just need to climb for it!

What advice would YOU give someone who feels like their world is caving in around them?