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7-Day Practical Faith Blog: Practicing for Crisis

2 Timothy 2: 3

After finishing eighth in the state in a math contest as a high school junior, I was determined to win state the next year. In preparation, I would only take a practice exam by recreating the way the state contest would begin. The paper would be folded a particular way, the proctor would give us a countdown, and off we would go. Every practice session, I began just like the real exam.

I qualified for the state contest again. When the day came, I was as nervous as I have ever been in my life. I was throwing up in my hotel room, I was so nervous. I could barely grip my pencil in the exam room due to shaking hands. When the assistant placed the exam in front of me, I thought I would throw up on it, too!

But when the proctor gave the countdown and told us to begin, something interesting happened as I unfolded the test. My stomach instantly settled. My hands stopped shaking. A wave of calm came over me. I couldn't believe it! I paused for a couple of seconds, amazed at how good I felt, and I whisked away at the test. Because I had practiced for this exact moment, I took on the necessary persona when the time came. I finished second, only behind a four-time champion.

I was reminded of the contest while reading a recent Amazon review of my award-winning book, "The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life." The reviewer said they had found that after reading the book and facing a series of crises, they had success with future crises by preparing in advance, following the guidelines of "The Next Thing." Its principles of Simplify, Trust, Rest, and Grieve pertain not only in a crisis, the reviewer wrote, but at all times. For example, by practicing how to Simplify on a daily basis, the reviewer was getting better at simplifying and prioritizing during a crisis.

It struck me that we all will face a crisis again. We have been through crises before, but we're not done with them. It indeed makes sense to practice for the next crisis by applying these practical faith, scripture-based principles every day.

2 Timothy 2: 3, one of the key scripture verses in "The Next Thing" book and video study, reads, "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." In the book and videos, I talk about how a soldier prepares for their assignments with diligent training. Soldiers are not sent into battle unprepared. Because they have practiced, they are better equipped to endure hardship among unexpected, unwelcome circumstances.

Similarly, it makes sense that we prepare for our crises with diligent practice. Steeping ourselves in practical faith principles, soaking ourselves in prayer and scripture, we can be more ready when times of trial arrive.

I was pleased to learn that Christian counselors and chaplains are using "The Next Thing" with their clients. To learn more about "The Next Thing" and how it can impact your life, please navigate to

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