Tips For When Life Throws You A Bucket of Curve Balls

Sometimes life throws us for a loop. How will we handle it? {image:; quote: Laurie Wallin}

Sometimes life throws us for a loop. How will we handle it? {image:; quote: Laurie Wallin}

Do you ever wish life would send you advanced notice when it’s going to get rough? Like if God left you a note on your night stand, so you’d find it the morning the crazy was coming and could mentally and emotionally prepare?

Here’s what mine would have said last week:

Dear Laurie,

This week, you will have one of the most epic fights of your marriage. Your minivan’s transmission will die, stranding you, your mom and your kids during rush hour. And one of your cats will get sick all over the house and die in your hands.

It’s going to suck, but I will be right there with you. There will be some great moments you’d never expect, too. Hang tough, girl, we’ll get through it.

Love, God.

No. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed once I read it. I’d have have wrapped myself tight in my comforter and given God the silent treatment.

Which is probably why God saves us from seeing the whole, big picture of what’s coming before it happens. All of us would roll over and hide from the world if we knew how bad things were going to get during life’s really messy seasons!

So how can we respond to moments (or weeks or months) when not one, but an entire bucket of curve balls come flying at us?

Rest more.

Yes, this might seem impossible—counterintuitive, even. But in times when life’s asking extra from us, we need to up the rest even more. We find an example of it in Jesus’s time on earth. Before AND after major moments in ministry, he and his closest friends withdrew away from the crowds for some rest and quiet (see Luke 9:10, and check out my friend Kelli Wommack’s recent post about this). If the Son of God makes it a priority for those big-energy-requiring moments of life… we need to, too.

Breathe prayer.

When the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), it’s not telling us to form articulate, liturgical masterpieces of communication without ceasing. It’s telling us to communicate with God without ceasing. When a bucket of curve balls is flying at you, the communication can be very primal—even a simple eyes-to-heaven, “God, I need you right now” kind of interaction.

Prayer is a “being” rather than a “doing” kind of communication in those seasons, and it’s a must if we hope to get through them well.

Fight back.

We need to take care of ourselves, and communicate with the One who can sustain and help us in the crazy seasons. That’s the defense. But God’s given us strengths and skills for our offense game too. We may not be able to stop the curve balls from coming, but we don’t have to sit and get pelted by them over and over.

  • We can memorize scripture, to aim at the moments that feel particularly like an attack.
  • We can enlist friends to help, like I did when we were stranded last week. One call brought a dear friend to scoop up my whole beleaguered family and get us home 2 hours sooner than it would have taken on the city transport.
  • We can find other resources to help. A friend, Holley Gerth wrote a whole book on the topic of simply doing what you can, when you can. If you’re hungry for ideas here, I’d encourage you to check it out: “Do What You Can” Plan: 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better.

We may not be able to anticipate the bucket-of-curve-balls situations in life, but we are by no means stuck when they happen. So let’s up our game in those moments and show that bucket of craziness what we’re made of!


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  1. servedogmom says

    Laurie, I can so relate to this post and Surprising Hope in the Mess. even though the circumstances are different words “speak” the truth and suggestions valuable. As a family our difficult season in life is continuing with increasing bumps and curves in the journey. Curiously last night I had a long telephone conversation (one weekly) and we discussed some of the sound recommendations you have shared over time.

  2. OutnumberedMom says

    LOVE this advice. We got hit with a whole bucket of curveballs one morning in the form of that call you never want to receive — “Your son’s been in an accident and we’re airlifting him.” Oh, my… Your practical suggestions are great ways to prepare — and be sustained — during those kinds of times. (Happy ending — long road, but he’s doing SO well. Praise God!)

  3. Nina Daniels says

    Great post, its been a tough and very trying/stretching season here for us, my self getting dizzy from the whirling around of it all-mixed with anticipation of the newness coming ahead. I had let myself just grow weary, discouraged, and it is timely to be encouraged and reminded HE has given us the tools to use, its up to me to put them all into practice.

  4. says

    This makes a lot of sense and is full of practical advice, Laurie. I’m so sorry about all those curve balls. 🙁 I’m glad God sent some extra people to help field them.

    We’ve recently gone through some difficult times. I’ve not known what to pray. A friend share with me a prayer that her mentor told her. It has helped me when words fail. That’s quite often lately. “Papa, your baby needs you now.”

    I appreciate this post. Rest well, my friend, as you are able.