What do you do when you get bad news? Scientists know that when we hear bad news, our stress hormone cortisol immediately surges into our bloodstream. This hormone unleashes a bunch of other things in our bodies: blood pressure goes up, heart rate increases, pupils dilate, sugar stores are released. In other words, your body prepares for action.
What about your brain? What does it do? Immediately your brain starts searching for a way to cope with the stress of the bad news. And the typical response is to return to well-worn pathways. In other words, do what I’ve always done before.
So perhaps the question is better stated: What have you done before when you got bad news?
- Did you sulk?
- Did you cry or get angry?
- Did you get paralyzed, not knowing what to do?
- Did you call a friend?
- Did you just shake your head and try to ignore it?
- Did you spread it out before God?
Huh? Judah’s King Hezekiah got some very bad news from a very mean general named Sennacherib. What did he do? He did what he had done before…
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD…. “Give ear, LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.”
Hezekiah had the same physiological and psychological responses that you and I would have when facing such a huge threat. But his first response was his well-worn response. He did what he had always done before with bad news: he spread it out before the Lord.
We can start making a new pathway for our brain to follow. Instead of fight-or-flight, or ignoring, or paralysis, or calling a friend—take it to God and spread it out there. He knows your situation better than anyone else and He wants to help you.
Start making new neural pathways in your brain today by taking everything to God—even the so-called “little” things—so that when the really bad news comes, your brain will tell you to do what you always do: spread it out before the Lord.