What Happens When the Unexpected Happens?

Sometimes you start with a plan and with the best of intentions—and then life happens. This is when you find out how you are truly doing.

What Happens When the Unexpected Happens?

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/animatedfunk

A week ago Friday, I took the men in my Mentoring Group on our year-end retreat. We had a great time on Friday evening, including catching up with one another around a beautiful campfire.

After I went to bed, I felt some itching but nothing too out of the ordinary. My skin is normally dry in the winter, so I didn’t think too much about it.

However, in the morning, I asked one of the guys from my cabin how he slept. “Not too well,” he reported. “I felt like bugs were crawling all over me.” One of the other guys overheard us and chimed in, “Me, too!”

Uh-oh, I thought. Could it be? No way!

“Let’s check out the beds,” I suggested, not really wanting to confront what I thought I’d find.

Sure enough, we found numerous bed bugs, some dead and some alive. We also found red streaks in the sheets—a tell-tale sign of bed bugs. (This is more than you want to know, but it is their blood infused fecal matter. I know, yuck!)

Though we were pretty grossed out, we reported the matter and began day two of our retreat. None of us seemed worse for the wear and the bugs appeared to be isolated to one cabin. We went on with our program.

When I got home that afternoon, I went through a rigorous cleaning procedure, throwing many items away and running others through the clothes washer on high heat. This is about the only way to kill them.

Nothing happened until Sunday, when the bites and welts started appearing on all the exposed parts of my skin. Fortunately, I had worn a long-sleeve t-shirt and pajama bottoms.

But my head, neck, hands, part of my arms, and ankles were exposed. My hands, in particular, looked like I had a bad case of measles. On Monday, I simply applied some cortisone and went about my duties.

On Tuesday, my friend Stu McClaren flew in with a video crew from Toronto to shoot some footage for a new project we plan to launch next year. (I can’t wait to tell you about it.)

I thought about canceling the shoot, but decided it would be too expensive. We worked hard all-day Wednesday and Thursday, including hosting a book signing on Thursday, so we could capture the footage for b-roll.

Meanwhile the bites were getting worse. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having a severe allergic reaction to them. Over the course of the next three days, I ended up in UrgentCare (a kinder, gentler form of ER) three times.

They ended up giving me two shots of prednisone and a battery of medications to take besides, including antibiotics and Ativan to control the intense itching. The good news is that I turned the corner Sunday night. The welts are smaller and have disappeared on my face and neck. My hands are still pretty bad, but even they are improving.

The bad news is that I am operating at about 80 percent of capacity mentally, no doubt from the effects of the Ativan. I am tired, light-headed, and occasionally confused—not really a condition conducive to writing or podcasting.

My Dad

On top of this, my dad was rushed to the ER with a seizure on Tuesday morning. He is still in ICU here in Nashville. The doctors have still not confirmed a diagnosis.

He’s had a number of seizures while in the hospital, and they can’t seem to figure out what is causing them. He suffers from an old war injury to the head, so that might be it. They have ruled out a heart attack and a stroke. They are now trying to see if an infection, like meningitis, is the culprit.

It is disturbing to watch my dad in this condition. He is very confused and engaging in lots of erratic behavior. Gail, my sister, and my mom have taken turns watching him. I’ve been pretty much useless, because of the drugs.

New Office

And, last but not least, I am still moving into my new office, with all the disruption that affords. My stuff is kind of in both locations, and I am shuffling around and running errands trying to get everything I need in place.

As you can imagine, I am woefully behind. I will dig out, but it’s going to take a few days to perhaps a week. I have been pretty much given up on the idea of writing or podcasting this week, but we’ll see how it goes. (I didn’t intend to write this post, but I thought an explanation was in order.)

My Take Away

So in the midst of this, I don’t have any big life lessons, other than to lean into what I know to be true:

  1. God loves me.
  2. This too will pass.
  3. Be grateful—if not for all things then in all things.
  4. Do the next right thing.
  5. Don’t push myself too hard.
  6. Get plenty of rest.
  7. Prayer matters.

Frankly, this is a good reminder for someone who likes to control his environment that you can’t always control everything. Sometimes life just happens, and you have to roll with it, right?

Question: When was the last time you experienced a season like this? How did you handle it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Wow, Michael, you’ve really been through it recently.  Thanks for sharing with us.  I think we have all had similar episodes in our lives and one thing that I find helps is simply sharing the story with others.

    It helps everyone else know that we are not the only ones who experience similar problems in our lives.

  • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather C Button

    Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. I know the bed bug situation all too well, but the rest on top? Brutal. Feel better and prayers for your dad.

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    Michael, we had a similar situation, when driving from Indiana to Colorado with our two daughters (infant and 3yr old). In Missouri, I suddenly got sick, then a tornado whipped up while I was trying to get back to the car from the horrible service station bathroom. Electric lines were sparking in the street and debris was flying through the air. To keep my family safe, we checked into the closest motel. Well, you can probably guess what happened – bed bugs! They are absolutely revolting. We’ve had some pretty rough drives home, but that was probably the worst.

    Praying that you heal up quick, as well as for your Father. 

  • Walterboston

    Michael, transparently, there are times when these seasons of the “Unexpected” are prolonged for me (in one right now); but, not long afterwards, I manage — by the Lord’s grace — to pull myself together and find reasons to laugh. O, so medicinal, I tell you, with side affects of unexplainable calmness! …Go ahead, take one; a good laugh right now — …With you, Sir “Rolling with it.”

  • Kathy

    Wow Michael…really need to hear your message right now. A number of things going on right now that are beyond my control…thanks for sharing!

  • Jggarlow

    Micheal, your post came at a great time. Wishing you and your family well. I to am experiencing tough times dealing with 2 parents with Alzheimer’s, a brother who was their FT caregiver had a heart attach and was in the hospital 4 weeks. He can no longer be their caregiver because of his health. I live in a different city but have been home taking acre of all three since october. Due to the long absence I lost my job, and my bills are piling up. 

    It’s overwhelming and I’m exhausted, physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually. I want to seem hopeful but it’s a daily challenge. Your post put a smile on my face. Just knowing that you coped and dealt with your challenges helps. With the tragedies in the world, we all canuse a little encouragement and support. 

    Thanks for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m praying for you!

  • http://trevoracy.com/ Trevor Acy

    I think #3 is a very good distinction.  Sometimes it is very difficult to remain grateful during difficult times.  I hope you get to feeling better and I will be praying for your father.

  • Natisha

    Love this post and I so agree with you. I’ve been told that I like to control everything. I am working on it. Thanks*******

  • Adeyinka Adewale

    I had similar experiences last year too. Bedbugs in my accommodation that left me weak and helpless, I didnt notice them in time so they had fed on my blood for months,  then my father passed and I had to move to a new house with no guarantee i could afford the rent as i was yet to get into my job. My personal projects hit an all time low and my productivity was hitting zero. Pressure was mounting from the commitments i had to give seminars, then the bank letter came etc… naturally, the string of events seemed to cast depression on my mind. BUT i learnt a simple yet profound lesson. IN ALL THINGS, GIVE THANKS, REJOICE, AGAIN I SAY REJOICE.

    So I did the craziest thing ever. Locked myself up for 3 days and DANCED PROFUSELY as though I had just won a lottery. I praised God like never before. I THANKED Him for all these things telling Him I acknowledged He was in it with me. On the fourth day, the tides turned and I still cant explain how I got through BUT all I can say is that EVERYTHING turned around for my good. 

    Times like these are abound in life otherwise, it will be too boring. Likewise, if we profess to love God, then seasons like this test our faith (Job comes to mind here). Michael, I wish your dad a speedy recovery in time for him to spend Christmas at home and NOT in the hospital, and I wish your good self a BLESSED season as the irritation gives way completely and you are ushered into a fabulous end of the year push and a GLORIOUS 2013. 

    My thoughts, love and prayers are with you and family always. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Amazing story. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Eric

    As you “roll with it”, know you’re not rolling alone. It is in seasons of distress that God has proven His faithfulness to me and like the refiners fire, brought priceless depth to my journey. You ask “How did you handle it?” In the moment, I simply held onto my faith for dear life. The riches of lessons learned were in hindsight. “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine; To Him be the glory…” Paul’s words are a reminder to seek, ask, persevere and in due time give God the glory for whatever becomes of this season of distress. As you “roll with it”, you’re not rolling alone… He has you!
    Your fellow servant,
    Eric Willis
    Reconciliation Pastor
    Executive Director

  • John D.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your dad.

  • http://www.charlielyons.ca/ Charlie Lyons

    It seems this entire year has been like this… life happening while I’m living it. Started the year flat on my back, just about as sick as I’ve ever been… extra busy winter at work… our 2nd baby arrived in April… a summer of deep introspection which resulted in my resignation in the Fall (I blogged about this process – http://www.charlielyons.ca/2012/10/resignation-announcement/)… transitional duties as a result of resignation… and here we are now, just three more days in the office before Christmas. My final day is this Thursday; I still don’t know 100% yet where I’ll be on January 1 work-wise… but it’s been fun and enlightening the whole way through. :-)

    Michael, this is going to be one of those “I don’t have any big life lessons, but it’s going to be one of the biggest-number-of-comments-ever” posts, isn’t it? ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/CarrieROConnor3 Carolyn R. O’Connor


    Your post could not have been more well-timed for me. Having woke up with a bad head/chest cold this morning in a week that has me preparing for our Christmas services and various meetings, I was frustrated and happened to read your post as I was trying to figure out what to do (go in sick or stay home and rest??). 

    After reading the post, I realized that I would be doing no one any favors by going into the office and “toughing it out” (and making everyone else sick). So, after running in to grab some files I needed (before people arrived), I am now at home, catching up on some email. Plan to rest throughout the day. The team knows were I am if something comes up and I am accessible by phone/email in an emergency. Thus, my unexpected is leading me to take care of myself for a change and trust the team to handle things in my absence. :-)

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. That sounds like the right thing to do.

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for your amazing example of Philippians 3:12-21.   It is just what I needed this morning and an answer to prayer. 

    I believe God allows life to close in on us so we will look up and keep our eyes on Him.  He then renews our strength for our calling and he uses the experience in amazing ways. 

    You are a trooper.  Thank you so much for writing this post.I will be praying for your family, particularly your father.

    Merry Christ-centered Christmas!

    p.s. Bed bugs are not just in cabins out in the woods. My mother had bed bugs in a five star a few years ago, so now my husband and I check our mattress as soon as we enter our hotel room no matter where we travel.  I was told they hide inside the cording located on the edge of  the mattress so you have to do a careful inspection.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      One of the things I learned is that bed bugs are unrelated to hygiene. You’re right; they can be anywhere.

  • ConniesDeam914

    I asked for prayer of agreement from those who believe God for great miracles. I come into agreement with you that God said the works that Jesus did, we can do…Jesus sent his word and healed them, I send Gods word to heal you and your Father in the name of Jesus of Nazareth by who’s stripes we are healed. I thank God that his healing virtue flows through your body even now and that your Dad is also a receiver of the healing virtue of Jesus of Nazareth. Thank you Father for your word and your pomises. You are not a man that you should lie , you said it and you will do it, your spoke it and it shall be done. In Jesus Name Amen.

    • Hjcarstens

      I fully agree with you. I can SEE that you are a Man of God! Trusting and believing in Him and His WORD, and speaking to the mountains to be casted into the sea! AMEN!!!
      Hermanus. South Africa

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much!

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Lifting you and your dad up in prayers and asking for a clear diagnosis for him from the doctors soon. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sundi Jo.

  • David

    How true it is that sometimes we just can’t control things the way we want.  Get well.  I love the blog and the podcasts.  Thank you.

  • http://giveflowerswhileliving.wordpress.com/ Julia SB

    Mike, I understand totally that we can be thrown out of our comfort zone at any minute. That makes us appreciate the time we have that much more. A few months ago, my 19 yr. business relationship came to an end because of a stroke, and the stroke victim’s relatives blamed me for giving it to him. How, when I was the one taking him to the doctor and dialysis for the last 7 years? After grieving, I wrote a blog in honor of all of the good things he said over the years [along w/3 more blogs]. Also, I’m writing a book about the experience, because GOD knows I did what I could. I’ll make sure you get a copy when I finish. God Bless.

  • Nlove1010

    I hope you are doing better and that you receive good news on your Dad. Two things come to mind -Sometimes God uses these character building moments to remind us that he is in control. He is telling us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
    This too shall pass…………Merry Christmas:-) 

  • http://www.lifefacilitator.blogspot.com/ Teresa Y. Green

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. I hope you are better soon, and that your dad recovers completely. It’s a good reminder for all of us that when bad things strike we can go back to our roots and what we believe. Thank you for taking the time to write.

  • Shannon Rinckey

    The last time I went through a season like this was actually last month. My business wasn’t doing very well, and I was at a crossroads of deciding to try to make it work, or move on.

    At first, I shut down. It was awful. One evening I decided to go out to dinner, all by myself. I took my dear sweet time. Afterwards, I did some journaling over a cup of coffee and met a stranger that helped me gain some perspective. 
    Writing my problems and talking about it to someone with a fresh perspective was so rejuvenating. It gave me a lot to think about. I found a business mentor, and her insights have helped me turn a corner. Now I’m working on my next venture.

  • Pmpope68

    Hmm….I’m in that season right now.  My father, who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last January began a steady decline over the summer. In late October, he went to the hospital and we knew he would not be coming back home. Starting that night, I began staying with my mother, sleeping on a very soft couch in her living room.  That same week, her furnace went out so I had to pack her and all her medications up (including oxygen) and truck over to my apartment at 1:00 in the morning.  We stayed there for four days until a repairman could come out.  Meanwhile, we made trips to the hospital to see my father.  At the end of that week, my brother and I met with the social worker and got my father moved to hospice, all while I was staying with my mother and gradually moving things from my apartment to her house.  At the end of that second week, a physical anomaly occurred, but I put it off while dealing with my parents.  At the end of the second week, my father passed and then began the funeral arrangements that my brother and I had to make and all the running around that that entails.  I was still sleeping on my mother’s soft couch and starting to deal with an aching back from all the moving and lifting.  Since the funeral, I have been dealing with all the usual stuff that comes with moving in with another person after being on one’s own for about 20 years.  So, I’m the primary one to do the grocery shopping and take out the garbage, I pull in the paper every morning before I leave for work, we’ve written thank you cards and now Christmas cards all while I continue moving from my apartment into my mother’s house, trying to make room for all my stuff.  I’ve left out a little minutiae, but it all adds up to a lot in an almost two-month period.  Because of my faith, I can breathe a heavy sigh at the end of the day and just relax in Jesus’ arms.  Over the years, I’ve learned healthy coping strategies and so I set limits for myself and stop when my body tells me to stop.  All in all, it could be worse and I thank God that’s it not.  And I know that this is a temporary, transitional period of life that will pass and then my mother and I will begin settling into what she calls our “new normal”.  

  • http://twitter.com/MarciaLKing SimpleMSolutions

    Thank you so much for this post. I received some disappointing news today which is allowing me to rethink my careers path. I really needed the reminder that God is in control and this disappoint shall pass.

  • Hjcarstens

    The way that I handles it……..I DON’T . God handles it for me……Through His Word……revealed by the Holy Spirit. The SWORD of the Spirit is the WORD of God……eg. “For God did NOT give us the spirit of fear, BUT the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of a Sound Mind”…….get this into your MIND and Live it when fear grips you.
    When you need Peace: ” Peace I leave with YOU. My Peace I GIVE unto YOU. Not as the world giveth,give Iunto YOU. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”
    Peace be unto YOU.
    Hermanus. South Africa

  • Peladeau, Lorraine

    Thanks for the post!  The Lord bless you as you recover…sometimes this is the best kind of post because it gives people permission to be real and begin to acknowledge what is really important in this life.  Oh, by the way, I also prayed for your Dad…that they’d find an answer quickly and be able to treat it so that his recovery will be swift.  Bless him too!

  • htowner

    Excellent. Prayers for your Dad

  • Martin

    Hi Mr. Micheal, I have prayed for you and will be praying for your dad too through out this week. God Bless you and may His favor follow you every where you go. Martin.

  • http://championforgod.com/ Jason Hoover

    Very well put Michael. I have been going through some storms in my life over the past couple months and there is no relief on the horizon. However, my focus is on the LORD and I continue to think on Matthew 8:23-27. On Faith I know God has in store for me, better and grander days. So I wait out those storms with joyful expectancy.  Be Blessed! 

  • http://twitter.com/StuMcLaren Stu McLaren

    I’m still amazed at how on the ball you were during those two days of filming given all that you were dealing with.

    You’re a trooper for dealing with all of this and I certainly wish you and your father a speedy recovery.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You were a HUGE help, Stu, in keeping me engaged. Thanks so much for all you are doing!

  • http://www.intentionalcareer.com/ Henrieta Riesco

    Hope you get some calm (boring) days now to recover from all the turmoil :-) I’m often telling kids that being bored is not the worst thing ever and it actually creates a space for possibilities, because you can choose to do whatever you want to do.  It’s calming to know that nothing is happening and we don’t need to react to and deal with anything. All the best to you and your family :-)

  • Gloria

    I remember when it felt like the world was collapsing around me.  My mom died, I was going through a difficult divorce, the company I worked for was being taken over and my job eliminated, I had to give up custody of my 2 year old grandaughter I raised from birth and I was having to move….all in the same month.  My solution was to press in closer to God and allow Him to take all my burdens.  All this was not easy, but I’d hate to think what I would do without Him in my life.  Yes, all things pass, but my trust in God has increased!

    • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

       “press in closer”  I like that Gloria. 

  • http://www.sowingseedsofgrace.wordpress.com/ Sherrey Meyer

    What a timely post for my life right now!  You asked when had I been in a season like this?  NOW!  For a year plus, my husband and I have been making first monthly, then every three weeks, then every two . . . you get the picture . . . trips to help with caregiving for his brother to lighten our sister-in-law’s load.  My husband’s brother suffered over this time from a rapid and vicious rare dementia, which took his life on Nov. 19th.  The week before that, while home for a few days, our older son let us know that he would be having surgery in early Dec. for potential testicular cancer.  Friday we learned of the two kinds of testicular cancer both showed up in the pathology reports.  We’re waiting to see what the course of action is.  And if that wasn’t enough, the same son’s stepdaughter and her two young children (ages 4 and 1) have moved home because her husband “no longer wants to be married.”  Suddenly, all the things I thought were important — my writing, blogging, social networking, and much more — have paled in comparison to those mother lode of life stresses.  And I do exactly what you have listed above starting with prayer.  If God isn’t for us, who will be?  Leaning on Him is my best answer at times like this.

  • Liz C

    Michael! Bless your heart (and in the “you poor thing” way, not the “southern” way)!!  Praying for you as you recover!  My favorite on your list is #2, my mom has said that to me often over the years.  I recently landed myself in the ER from being dehydrated and passing out multiple times.  The hardest thing for me is accepting that I can’t jump back up and keep going, I have to recover and accept a little extra help for a few days. =)  THEN, off and running again.  Thank you for all your input throughout the year!  I am looking forward to meeting you (again) at the BEECH Retreat in January!  Merry Christmas!  Sincerely, Liz

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I look forward to seeing you at the retreat, Liz.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Excellent takeaways! I too have had a bit of the unexpected over the last few weeks. Happens and we just deal with the best that we can. One foot in front of the other. As one of my friends says, “You may not be able to control all the circumstances in your life but you can control how you respond to them.” 

  • Scottmilnes

    Thanks for the great read, Michael.  I really like how you wrapped it up with some timeless wisdom from the Good Book.  God loves me and this too shall pass are two mainstays in my daily (and sometimes hourly) prayers and meditations.  
    One nugget I offer to my clients is the simple question of- How do you believe God is trying to grow you through this experience?  That alone is a pretty quick attitude shifter that most people seem to resonate with.  Take care, keep up the great work, and I’ll look forward to your next post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great question. It totally shifts your perspective.

  • Vsbrowning

    Hello Michael,

    Your post today reminds me of 1999. It was the roughest year of my life and the foundation for what I teach today. I have shared some of this in a public format previously, but never in this exact form. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my story with your readers here.

    January to December 1999:

    In January, my father and wife were both diagnosed with cancer (leukemia and brain respectively). A mid-aged friend of the family died of liver cancer the day my wife was informed of her situation. My wife was given approximately 2 to 3 months to live. 

    In February, my wife and I were hit broadside while sitting at a traffic light. This was the first of 2 car accidents that year.

    In March, my wife had brain surgery to remove her primary tumor in the Occipital Lobe.  They could only take 50% of it. This led to the loss of 70% of her visual field. As a result, she had to quit her job. The rest tumor would have to be treated with radiation. We asked our Church and close friends to pray about the situation.

    In April we took a few days in Cabo San Lucas to rest post-surgery and discuss what might or might not be left of our future together. When we returned from this short vacation, my wife had a follow-up MRI at Loma Linda Medical University. Her surgeon invited us to the hospital 10 days later to let us know the rest of her cancer had simply disappeared!!!!!!!! He asked us to join him in prayer – thanking God for being the Master Surgeon and for blessing us with this miracle. She is cancer-free today.

    In May, I lost a significant client. This was the beginning of my business going under.

    In June, my father went in hospital for emergency blood transfusions and we almost lost him. He would live another 11 years.

    In July my business closed. As with most men (in my experience), I internalized all the stress trying to be tough for the family. It was around this time that a ministerial friend of mine began referring to me as Job. 

    In August, I began suffering “stress-related” brain seizures. My neurologist placed me on a drug cocktail that had a side-effect of thick-tongue syndrome. I was told my speaking career was over. The muscles on the left side of my body would randomly tick. As a result, I was forced to walk with a cane or walker depending on the severity of the ticking each day.

    In September, my wife and I were in the 2nd car accident while on vacation visiting my father in Texas. This led my father to introducing me to a chiropractic neurologist. My case was referred to this man’s mentor in southern CA where we were living at that time. 

    In October, I began following an intense treatment process (5 days per week) with my new friend, Dr. Kathleen Powers (no longer in practice). I began showing signs of improvement, but was far from out of the woods. 

    In November, our lease home was sold out from under us. We were given 30 days to relocate. Then, the day before Thanksgiving, my wife’s maternal grandmother died. Gigi was a significant influence in her life and was a true shining light in this world. 

    In December, my maternal grandmother passed away. Grammy had always been the glue that held my side of the family together. At her passing, my extended family became seriously fragmented. From that time until now, the family would never again have a Thanksgiving meal together. This is significant as Thanksgiving was the one holiday that had been our traditional gathering for everyone in the family. 


    1)  Count it all joy, for in the midst of great challenge is forged great strength
    2)  Be grateful for every act of kindness no matter how small
    3)  Believe in miracles
    4)  One step and one day at a time
    5)  Keep setting goals and keep your eyes set on the mark
    6)  Be willing to humbly ask for and accept help in times of need
    7)  The greatest turmoil in our lives can be the foundation for life of significance

    I look back at 1999 as one of the most incredible blessings of my life. It drew my wife and I closer together, it strengthened our faith, and laid a foundation on which we could build a wonderful life. While it was terrible in many ways, it was also filled with moments of incredible joy. 

    Today, I no longer walk with a cane. I am off the medications. And I speak as normally as I ever did. We have a beautiful daughter (age 8). And our new speaking business is getting off the ground (http://www.shanebrowningspeaks.com). It has been a tough road, but one I would take again.

    Best regards,


    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Wow, Shane. Your comment is a blog post of it’s own! Thanks for taking time to write it. I’m so glad you were able to learn from such difficult circumstances.

  • Edwina Cowgill

    I’ve been in this season for the last 5 years! I’m a major control freak and I think God has decided to leave me in this season until I’ve learned to completely “let go and let God!” 

    I am praying for you and for your dad. May God’s healing touch rest upon you both, and may both of you have the “peace of God that passes all understanding.”

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      God has a way of giving us wake up calls, huh Edwina? I’ll join you in prayer that things begin to wrap up and you learn what He needs you to.

  • Tappitytaptap

    I am in the midst of that season right now. My mother is in the hospital, also with seizures and broken ribs from a bad fall over the weekend. Us sblings  are all in different states with impending life and family events – weddings, babies, final exams – so this of course came at the worst possible time. 
    I learned last summer when my mother in law died to lean heavily on my friends, even if they are online friends only. I am constantly amazed that though I am isolated as a work at home mom, I have this window to the world that allows me to reach out. Hopefully I have been generous in my support and sympathy to others; the investment is returned to me tenfold. 
    And somehow, God always drops the perfect email post or scripture via status update on my screen. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Sorry to hear your mother is in the hospital. It’s rough, especially at this time of year. You’ve already learned the lesson to lean on your friends in the past, be sure to do it this time around as well.

  • Bradshawinbotswana

    Michael, sorry to hear you are going through a less than excellent season and I pray a speedy recovery for you and your Dad.

  • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

    Prayers sent! Take care, and try to get some rest. Sleep tight, and don’t let the…

    Never mind.

  • Jill

    You just described the season my roommate and I have been in. Like your takeaways, we have taken a step back and banked on what we do know.Thank you for writing and reminding us of the simple things we can do when life doesn’t go the way we expect.

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    I’m sorry you are being attacked by chaos and suffering, Michael. Thankful you are getting better. I will be praying for your dad. 

    Despite not intending to write this post, you’ve presented some valuable take-home points. Ones we should learn earlier rather than later. Blessings.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnBLemmon John Lemmon


    Your experience brings three things to mind that I try to remember when I am in similar situations and everything seems to be going wrong.

    First, the words of Solomon who wrote in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven…” There will be good times and there will be bad. There will be ups and downs. It is for our testing and strengthening to learn how to persever through these times and to come to the place the apostle Paul was in when he said in Philippians 4:11-13,

    11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in
    whatever state I am, to be content.

    12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in
    any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and
    hunger, abundance and want.

    13 I can do all things in him who strengthens
    me.Second, and aligned to the point above, is that it is easy to give praise to the Lord when everything is going well. However it is in the “down” times that we need to remember to give praise also, which I am sure you are doing.And finally if the attacks are motivated by the devil, then you can be sure you are doing something right. If he is at the bottom of any of these things, then he is opposing you for good reason and that reason is that you are doing the work and the will of the Lord. If nothing else, that is reason for praise.God bless and I pray you and your father make a full recovery in short order.

  • Shawnlei Breeding

    Similar experiences this week. Discovered my aging dad needs triple bypass surgery, my cat’s routine dental turned into a 15-tooth extraction to the tune of $1000 and my car battery died and needed to be replaced. In each situation, I could complain or choose to be thankful—that they caught my dad’s blockages before they turned into a deadly heart attack, that pulling my cat’s teeth is alleviating his pain and preventing more serious health issues down the road and that I have a car to drive that needs a new battery. And thankful to have jobs that allow us to slowly pay down these unexpected bills. I have lived most of my life in the shadow of worry and “What if?” Slowly learning to adjust my thinking to “Even if…God is in control.”

  • Joejulie0918

    I had partial knee replacement May 16,2012.  I was healing yet very slowly.  In August I was told to have 36 more PT visists.  Life happens.  In September my health insurance became an Individual policy.  I went to PT as much as I could.  My DH has been laid off since April 2012.  It felt grim like why now?  My right knee began to hurt.  My cat Jackie died October 26,2012.  My DH went on 2 job interviews yet no job.  The bright part was on November 10,2012.  My mom and 2 other women founded the Santa Monica Mountains.  It was the 34th year since the founding.  An oak tree was planted for my mom and the other 2 ladies.  On this day I needed my cane to walk.  I was sick until after Thanksgiving with asthmsa and a viril infection.  Then I went back to work out.  My knee was swollen.  I now know there is something more wrong with it.  I have seeen 2 doctors for a consult.  One doctor injected numbing solution in my knee.  As of today I still am numb in my knee.  My DH’s money will end soon.  I will need another operation on my knee.  My DH will need a shoulder operation from the USC orthtopedic department

    This is what I have learned.  God is always with us.  I will survive.  I am strong.  This too shall pass.  Take one day, one moment at a time.  Be grateful for each other.  Move forward.  Remember where you have been.  My DH and I have done all we can and could do.  Take the next step.   Mery Christmas to all!!! 

  • Clara Rose

    Oh my, sounds trying to say the least.  I will be praying for you and your father!

    Slow down, take a breath and give yourself some grace!  We all have times like these and yes it does pass but usually slower then we would like.  While offering grace to others can be easy, it is often more difficult to extend the same grace to ourselves.

    Rest and enjoy the holidays, remember the real reason for the season and confess that he is in control. (You know its true, you are not in control)

    Blessings  to you and your family this Christmas season.

    Clara Rose

  • Robert Rudge

    Dear Michael, I’m a Brit living with my family in a crazy city called Moscow in Russia and have been listening to your podcasts for quite a while. I can honestly say that my days and weeks can be completely derailed at a moment’s notice, and it has made me a stronger leader because of it.

    I have become a lot more tolerant, more accepting that situations are not wrong, just different, and that things just happen and you are measured by how you deal with them – not just survive but thrive in a chaotic world.

    How do I handle it ? Well I just remind myself that it’s ok not to be in control of events or outcomes, and that gives me a calming feeling and makes me stronger – to face the next curve ball thrown my way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.martin.10485 Steve Martin

    Hang in there and get well. And know that Christ suffers along with you, and that He is there for you…always.


  • annepeterson

    I was signed up to do an accelerated program. I had planned it for weeks. There I stood in line to get my books, the last thing on my list. And I had a meltdown.

    My brother-in-law was about to be arrested for my sister’s murder. And there I was trying to push through with my plans. 

    A counselor was immediately provided. She talked with me and helped me realize my timing was not going to work.  

    Reading your list I realized God was helping me through those very things. 

    I Gave myself grace.
    I realized it would pass.
    I Did the the next thing, (in my case it was to put my goals on hold)
    I Realized God loved me
    I Didn’t push myself 
    I was thankful (thankful for the wonderful counselor God made available)

    Yes, I got through the ordeal. We got through the trial. And when the judge pronounced him “not guilty” and the other side of the courtroom erupted in cheers, God settled our hearts.

    Sometimes things don’t go according to plans. And though I like plans I’m learning how to flex better. 

    The thing that struck me most about that time of unrest and chaos? It was knowing God is still in control. Always was and always will be.

  • Beth Rayann Corder

    Recently I was overwhelmed by the many things I couldn’t control–funerals, financial setbacks, and sad realities. Below is part of what I shared in an email to our church lifegroup about what God was teaching me through life’s trials during a day I stopped to rest and reflect:
    “…As I tried to relax my mind and body and spent time in prayer, I sensed God telling me to “Be still, and know that I Am God.” As the day went on, I felt Him reminding me to:
    stop trying to figure things out, stop expecting too much, stop trying to plan so far ahead, stop depending on yourself and your resources, stop worrying about what tommorrow may bring, stop trying to fix everything, stop living in regret, and stop trying to know what I know.
    It was a profitable day. I submitted to “being still” and listened. And, you know what? It worked. I woke up this morning more focused, energized, and relaxed about the future. I Know God is my God and cares for me.
    He cares for you too–”Be Still and Know…” (even an hour of reflection can be beneficial!)”

    Michael, I hope my partial post can inspire you as much as your spiral of posts have inspired me and many others. Feel free to take a nice break! We can live off of your previous info. until the New Year at least. May God be your strength through the tough days ahead. PS.  Now I’m itching…lol.