Tag Archives: crash and burn

Finding Your Life After Living in Exile

A while back I did a series of posts on how to recover from a “Crash and Burn” experience.  It came from a series of talks I did about the Bible stories that tell of the years that Jews lived in exile.

Living in exile

I’d like to revisit that idea. In fact, I’m toying with the idea for a future book. I thought I might just explore the idea here with you for a minute.

The Bible is a Story of Exile

As I looked at the Bible, it dawned on me   that you could look at the entire narrative as following an exile motif, that is, an overarching theme of exile.  You barely get into the Bible when God sends Adam and Eve into exile from the Garden of Eden. Humanity is still in that exile today.

Or in Genesis 12, God calls Abraham to the Promised Land. But when he arrives he faces a famine and goes to Egypt, “in exile”.  After returning to Canaan his descendants again return to Egypt to live for over 400 years in exile.

Even after they escape they remain in the Wilderness for another 40 years.  At last they return to The Promised Land, but a few hundred years later they land in exile again, this time in Babylon.

Finally, both Jews and Christians scatter from Jerusalem after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.  As the Bible says, we travel as aliens and strangers in a foreign land.

Exile is Our Story

I find the Bible’s theme of exile comforting because it was in those hard places that people met God.  So when we find ourselves in a personal exile: divorced, unemployed, grieving a death, displaced, de-friended, or any one of a number of lonely places in life, we can find a Bible story that speaks to us.  We learn of a God who is present to comfort us and lead us back to a land of promise.

Question: What exile are you in now or have you been in the past? Please leave a comment below.

STUCK is coming.  When you subscribe to this blog I will send you a 50 page sampler from the new book. If you are already a subscriber, let me know in the comments below and I’ll send it to you.

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Coming Back From a Crash and Burn

This is the final post in a series about how to recover from a crash and burn experience where your life imploded or exploded and came to a grinding halt. Track back to read the series. Consider sharing it with a friend.

Coming back from a Crash and Burn

Coming back from a Crash and Burn

The crash and burn series is based on the story in the Bible when the nation of Israel chose to walk away from God. Then the Babylonians took them into exile for 70 years.

You might see those years as wasted. But God doesn’t waste anything. Every moment was purposed to prepare his people for a comeback. Following are my last two lessons on exile.

Exile gives you hope for a better future.

People often think that exile is a time of despair rather than a time of hope. But that’s not true. Exile is when God speaks to you about your future. He speaks to you with words of hope. You just need to have ears to hear.

If you are in exile today because of some kind of crash and burn, God wants to encourage you about your future. This is what God spoke through Jeremiah to the exiles…

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

I bolded the phrase “bring you back”…very important words if you are in exile. Exile isn’t forever. Remember, God isn’t trying to punish you. He’s preparing you for the next phase of your life.  You were on the sidelines. A time will come for you to reenter the game.

Exile gives you a new sense of identity and purpose.

God’s people had lost their identity. God called them to be a blessing but they forgot that. They became  self-serving. But exile gave them a chance to reclaim their identity and purpose in life. Exile does that. Exile was a time for them to reflect on what was important and restructure their lives around serving God and others first.

It was in exile that Jews had a new urgency to study the Word of God. It was in exile that the Jewish synagogue took shape. As Jews studied the Bible they came to realize that they were God’s chosen people, his treasured possession and they were called to be a blessing to the world.

It was in exile that the Jews decided they didn’t want to lose their way again. They wanted to make sure that if God ever gave them a second chance they’d be ready to fulfill their calling and not squander it. Exile prepared them for a comeback. And God did bring them back to their land to start over.

So, where are you in all of this? I hope my words help you to see the value of exile no matter how bad the crash and burn experience was.  Don’t run from it. Embrace it and let God do his work in you. Let the full work be done in you so you can be resurrected to a new life.

Prayer: Father, you know how important seasons of exile are.  Help us to see what you see. Help us to not run from our times of exile but turn and embrace them so we can experience the resurrection we need and reclaim our lives.

Please comment below. I’d love to hear back the insights you receive regarding your times of exile. We all learn so much more when we hear from many and not just one. I can only offer you insight from my limited perspective. With every additional voice our view increases our understanding. Thanks.

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A Crash And Burn Sends You to the Sideline

crash and burn

The sidelines is where we prepare to make our return.

This post continues my series on how to recover from a crash and burn. It is based on the story of the Israelites when they “crashed and burned” and were sent into exile to live in Babylon for 70 years. It’s ancient history, yes. But it’s relevant to anyone who fails miserably and ends up on the sidelines of life. Track back to read the earlier posts.

It might seem that when you crash and burn you are sent to the sidelines to sit out for the rest of the game. But the sideline is the place to regroup, heal up and get some good coaching so you can make a comeback. Here are two more advantages of exile (the sideline).

Exile puts you in a place to see God move.

When you’ve made a mess of your life there is a tendency to think that God won’t show up for you anymore. But that’s not true. God wants to do amazing things in your life and it starts in exile. If you read the book of Daniel in the Bible it’s about what happened in exile. God showed up in some miraculous ways in exile.  God didn’t wait until the Jews got back to Israel to work miracles. He didn’t wait until they were living the perfect life.

God does the same with us.  He’s not waiting for you to get your life back together before he moves in your life. He wants to move in your life today, even in exile, so you CAN get your life back together. I’ve seen this in the lives of divorced couples. They feel so defeated. But God shows up to bless them both. It’s amazing and so contrary to what they think will happen. They assume that after failing at marriage they have to suffer. But God’s not out to punish them. He’s out to transform them.

Exile gives you time to form new habits.

Exile is typically a long period of time, not just a few weeks. A few weeks isn’t an exile. That’s just a bad vacation!  Most of us want to get out of exile long before our time is up. So we need to readjust our thinking and prepare for the long haul. When Moses killed a man he spent 40 years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the Exodus. For the Jews, their time in exile was set for 70 years. This is what the God said:

When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.   Jeremiah 29:10

God wants to restore us but we have to endure the exile first. The seventy years needed to be “completed” before God brought them back. There is a set time for exile and you can’t rush it. I’ve been through my share of exiles…some for months, some for years… and Psalm 37 often guided me…

Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Psalm 37:3

I felt God used this verse to keep me grounded in TODAY and not jump into tomorrow. He wanted me to be faithful to the people in my life and not complain to God about why I wasn’t moving on to the next phase of my life.

My point here is, don’t spend your exile wishing your life away. Embrace it. Make the most of your time by working on the things that made you crash and burn in the first place. Exile is a time for building your character because character is only built in hard places…not easy ones.

Question: I’d love to hear from you about your sense of exile. What good things have you seen happen to help you recover?  Leave your comment below.

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Exile always follows a Crash and Burn

Put God first in your recovery.

This post continues my series on how to recover from a crash and burn. It is based on the story of the Israelites when they experienced a crash and burn experience and were sent into exile to live in Babylon for 70 years. It’s ancient history, yes. But it’s relevant to anyone who fails miserably and ends up on the sidelines of life.

Exile is the place in between your failure and your recovery.  No one wants to be there. It might be a treatment center. It might mean a divorce or being unemployed. But if you want to regain your life you have to start in exile. Here are two reasons that exile is a valuable step in the recovery process.

Exile gives you perspective after a crash and burn.

It’s interesting how we often learn more apart from something than close up.  You know the saying…you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  You don’t appreciate your spouse until you separate. You don’t appreciate your parents until you move across the country to college or your first job. You don’t appreciate your job until you get laid off. When you lose something you often appreciate it more. You understand it better.  You get perspective.

When the Jews were forced out of Judah they suddenly realized all that God had done for them through the years. They began to realize how they took God and his care for granted. Exile gave them new eyes to see how good they had it before.

Exile shifts your reliance to God from other people or things.

Exile is any place that’s outside of your comfort zone. Outside your comfort zone you don’t have your usual people to help or support you and so you are much more inclined to turn to God.  When you crash and burn some people leave you. You can’t lean on them anymore. When you crash and burn you might not be able to turn to your favorite vice to ease the pain.

The Jews were out of their element in Babylon. They only had God and each other to turn to. Exile caused many of them to turn back to God.  That’s what God wants us all to do in exile…start to trust him in ways we never have before.  The message God has for us is…THIS time around put me first in your life so this doesn’t happen again.

Question: If you’ve gone through an exile, what did you learn? Leave your comment below and consider sharing on Facebook.

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How to Recover from a Crash and Burn

crash and burn

“When you crash and burn you don’t just need to improve a little. You don’t need a little rehabilitation. You need a total makeover. You need a resurrection.”

The Bible is a great book for people who crash and burn because the Bible is full of stories about people who crash and burn. In fact, the nation of Israel, as a whole, experienced a crash and burn.  They got greedy and forgot God. Then everything unraveled…fast.

God taught them a lesson by sending them to live in exile in Babylon for seventy years. That exile is a great metaphor for what happens when we crash and burn. It’s the time we need after a major failure in our life to stop, reflect and recover from what just happened.

Over the next few posts I want to talk about what makes exile so valuable to recovery from a crash and burn.

Why Exile is Valuable to Recovering from a Crash & Burn

1.      Exile separates you from the temptations of your past

God knew that the only way to break the cycle of sin in his people was to totally separate them from their environment. He had to pull them out of their routine and what was familiar to get their attention and break their habits. That’s why we go to the gym to exercise or move to college to study. That’s why we go on retreats to rest or send our kids to camp. Separation helps us to focus on developing good habits.

Your failure may have separated you from your old crowd and you hate it.  I see this working in a treatment center.  People lament being separated from their friends but it’s the best thing for them. Too many people think they can stay around temptation and still change but it’s a lot easier to change if they get away.

2.      Exile helps you start over.

Exile brings closure to what was and enables you to start the next chapter of your life. When you crash and burn you don’t just need to improve a little. You don’t need a little rehabilitation. You need a total makeover. You need a resurrection.  But before resurrection there needs to be a death and a burial. And exile is the burial.

Exile is the space between your old life and your new life. You need that space. It looks like this.

  • Death: Crash & Burn (Major Failure)
  • Burial: Exile (Separation from your past life and friends)
  • Resurrection:  Restoration to a new life

Exile is a time of transition.  It’s a rite of passage. You can’t go from failure to success without a season of exile. It’s true for a physical, emotional, moral or spiritual breakdown. There is always a time of recovery. You can’t just snap your fingers and have all your problems go away and jump back into your old life.

People often don’t understand this.  They think of exile like a bad dream. They just want to wake up and get on with their life.  But that’s not how it works. There are some very important dynamics that only happen in exile. You can’t get these dynamics anywhere else and so you can’t afford to miss the exile.

It’s like a seed in the ground. You don’t go from a dry seed to a living plant without a time of transition. A seed needs time in the ground. It seems like such a waste of time. But even though it doesn’t look like much is happening a lot is happening inside the seed.  That seed is making preparations for new life and that can only happen in the ground.  Jesus said…

 …unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

I’ll continue with this discussion in my next post.

Question: What’s the hardest thing about the exile that leads to recovery? Leave your comment below.

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How to Help Friends Who Crash and Burn

How to Help Friends Recover

How to Help Friends Recover

I’ve been talking in my last two posts about crashing and burning; first, how it happens. And then, how to recover. Today I want to talk about how to help friends  who crash and  burn.

How to help friends: Speak the Truth in Love

The first way to help is to speak the truth in love without compromising. The temptation is to feel sorry for people and go soft on them.  They give you all kinds of excuses and justification for their behavior and so you basically say…Oh, gee, you are right. I guess God’s word doesn’t apply to you. You really are in a special category. You don’t need to take responsibility like the rest of us do.

No. Don’t do that. You aren’t doing them any favors. Keep speaking the truth.  Keep calling them to do the right thing. Don’t nag or be self-righteous. But don’t change your tune either.

How to help friends: Don’t Try to Fix Them

Next, don’t try to save them or fix  them. This is easy to do. Some of you are natural caretakers. You want to solve everyone’s problem. If you see people struggling to do the right thing you like to jump in and save the day for them. Don’t do that. Let them take responsibility for their own lives.

I’ve had parents tell me…But Remy, if I don’t save them they might end up dead.  And I go…I know. They might. That’s hard.  But you are not their Savior. There is only one Savior and you are not him. Jesus is the only one who can save your child. It’s not fair to yourself or the other people in your life. 

It’s like when people are being swept away in a river. You read about this every year during the flood season. Someone gets heroic and jumps in the river to save the drowning person and what happens to them? They drown too. How smart is that?  I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to rescue someone but if you jump in the river you need to be tethered to something so you don’t get sucked in.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t help people if they show a sincere desire to change. I’m just saying don’t rescue the person who clearly has no desire to change. You aren’t saving them, you are just prolonging their foolishness. They will let you save them but they are only taking advantage of your kindness. As soon as you are done doing your good deed they will go right back to their old behavior.

Sometimes crashing is the best thing that can happen to them. Isn’t that true? Sometimes the only way up is to go down first. People don’t lose their greed and their pride until they reach the end of themselves. Some people have to spend time in jail or a hospital or a treatment center or experience a divorce before they realize that they’re not so smart after all.

How to help friends: Don’t Judge or Forsake Them

And third, don’t judge them or forsake them.  That’s one thing that really stands out to me as I read about the prophets in the Bible. The prophets stuck with God’s people to the very end.  And when God’s people suffered for disobeying God the prophets didn’t get all smug and say “I told you so”. Their message immediately turned from warning them to encouraging them that God will restore them.  So don’t distance  yourself from these people when they crash and burn. Don’t enable them. But don’t run away either. Stay close in case they have a change of heart.

Question: What else can  you do to  help your friends who crash and burn? Leave your comment below.

 

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Steps to Recover from a Crash and Burn

Steps to Recover from a Crash and Burn

Steps to Recover from a Crash and Burn

I started the other day by looking at what causes a crash and burn (self-destruction). Today I want to continue to briefly look at the steps to recover from a crash and burn.

Steps to Recover

First, Admit.  Every change starts by admitting you are in a bad place, a place that you can no longer tolerate.  It seems so obvious and easy. But what most people do is go into denial.  It’s like wrapping a towel around a wound. It hides the wound but it doesn’t heal it. In fact, that only makes it worse.  What happens? The wound gets infected. You might have to amputate. Or worse, you could die if the infection isn’t treated.

Denial is worthless. The thing is, most people know what you are up to. You aren’t fooling them. They may not know the  details but they know that something’s not right. Your stock will actually go up with people and not down when you admit your problem and need for change.

You may have just hit a wall and are wondering what to do next.  It’s tempting to cover things up and hope your problem gets better on its own.  No one WANTS to admit that their finances are bust or their marriage has tanked or they have an addiction.  But admitting is the door to putting things right. Walk through it.

Second, apologize to those you’ve hurt.  That means you need to express sorrow and ask their forgiveness. This includes God.  Apologizing often keeps people from heading in the right direction. It’s too humiliating. But you will need a lot of help. You are going to need a lot of friends. So start apologizing.

Third, make amends. Fix what you broke as much as you can. Your apologies will wear thin if they aren’t backed up with some sincere action

Fourth, seek help. Don’t go this alone.  No book or website is going to solve your problems. It’s just pride that keeps you from getting the help you need. You don’t fight cancer on you own. You don’t recover from a crash and burn on your own either.  Find a counselor. Find good friends. And if you haven’t done it yet, find God.

And last, expect to make a comeback.  Don’t grovel around and play the victim.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself and look for pity and sympathy. Don’t vanish from the scene and go AWOL. That doesn’t play well with all the people you hurt. Take responsibility for what you’ve done and believe for the best. Be positive. Read comeback stories.  People make comebacks all the time. Imagine a movie being made about your comeback. It can happen!

The Bible is full of stories of people who messed up, were forgiven and made a comeback. So add your name to the list. You need to see yourself as the next great comeback story!

Question: What else would you add to the list about how to recover from a crash and burn? Please add your comment below. Thanks!

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