It happened almost daily.
Someone would come back to class after a bathroom break, prepare to sit in their yellow plastic chair and pull up to their desk, begin to sit down, and then…
No time to prepare.
One minute they would be in the act of sitting down, and the next minute they would be landing abruptly on the floor with a thud.
It was the favorite prank of my 8th-grade class after lunch.
The daily pulling out of the chair on some unsuspecting fellow student was almost expected.
No one was immune.
No one got to miss being pranked in this way.
Having the chair pulled out from under you without warning was only funny if you were NOT the one being pranked. We would sometimes snicker as this would happen or wince as a classmate hit the ground hard.
But no one liked it when they were the one having the chair pulled out unsuspectingly.
The teachers would fuss and maybe send the guilty prankster to the principal’s office, but the pulling out of the chair pranks continued.
Today, there would be crazy lawsuits over such pranks.
(In fact, I found one such case online at http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/25/law-student-sues-school-after-she-fell-out-of-a-chair/)
However, in the days when I was in junior high school, these pranks were treated as immature behavior and given slaps on the wrist.
Whether the severe action was taken or not, having a chair pulled out from under you was painful – emotionally, socially, and physically.
Just surviving those awkward middle school days is difficult enough, but to add insult and injury to that, survival was incredibly tough.
Have a chair pulled out from under you, losing your balance, falling to the ground, and then having to pick yourself up again to be seated was a horrible experience.
It left you feeling foolish, uncoördinated, embarrassed and completely outdone by one of your classmates.
What Can You Do When Someone Pulls a Chair Out From Under You?
Having a chair pulled out from under you still is humiliating and painful.
And life is filled with chairs being pulled out from under us, isn’t it!
Your “chairs” may not look like one of the old school chairs.
But, all of us have experienced the surprising twists and turns and “pranks” of this life.
No one escapes the unsuspected events and practical jokes of life.
Just this week, I’ve had friends share some of the abrupt “pranks” of life, which have left them sprawled out on the floor in amazement.
One friend received word of cancer.
Then, another was pranked by the loss of her home’s air conditioning (and a large bill to have it repaired).
Notably, one family we know is dealing with the stinging betrayal of their young adult child.
Also, another is dealing with an unwanted and painful divorce.
Likewise, other friends are dealing with unexpected job loss, unexpected moral failure, and a really painful church situation.
Maybe you also have been unpleasantly surprised by the “pranks” of life lately.
Possibly, some person, situation, relationship, or event has pulled your chair out from under you and left you falling to the hard floor without any warning.What do we do when one of life's chairs gets pulled out from under us? Click To Tweet
Well, in the 8th grade, we would get up as quickly as possible, grab that chair, sit down, and try to pretend like it didn’t happen to us.
Then, we would take deep breaths and hope that our red, blushing faces would regain their normal color as quickly as possible.
And some, in the adult world, try to do the same thing with the “pranks” that they face.
Get up, move on, pretend that hurt didn’t just happen, and try to go back to normal life as quickly as possible.
However, I haven’t found the 8th-grade route to be a very successful and victorious way of dealing with the hurts of life.
What if, instead, we tried a different approach – one I wish I had known as an 8th grader.
What if we…
First – Admit that the “prank” hurts us!Honest admission starts the process of healing. Click To Tweet
Futhermore, what if we were just to say (at least to ourselves):
- “That was painful!”
- “Those words broke my heart.”
- “That action just took my breath away.”
- “I’m not sure I can handle this!”
Second – Take stock of the fallout.
As a matter of fact, we need to look around and realize what has just happened to us. Indeed, someone pulled a chair out from under us without any warning.
Also, we will need to consider:
- First, is anything broken around me?
- Second, is anything broken on me?
- Third, is anyone else hurt?
- Fourth, what needs attention?
- Fifth, do I need help in getting back up?
- Finally, do I need to let someone know about this?
Third – Address the “prankster” calmly and with honesty.
As a matter of fact, we may need to look the person in the eyes and speak to them.
“That hurt me. Don’t do that again.”
“Ouch! That was not okay.”
“If you do this again, I will…”
“I’m going to have to let the teacher, the boss, the neighborhood association, or someone else know what you have done.”
Fourth – Give the hurt and embarrassment of the situation over to the Lord.Realize God loves you and dearly cares about your wounds & the pain you are feeling right now. Click To Tweet
Then, open the Bible and read about others who’ve been harmed and “pranked.” There are many.
Consider the example found in Psalm 86:1-7 (A prayer of David in a time of great distress in his life):
“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.”
Granted, David was hurting, and he addressed his honest hurts with the Lord.
Truly, we can do the same thing – pour out our true feelings, reactions, and responses to the hurt that we feel. God can handle it!
Correspondingly, we can also talk about our hurt with the Lord in prayer.
Fifth – Get up and handle future “pranks” with more wisdom.
Just as in the 8th grade, it only took one chair being pulled out from under us (usually) for us to learn to sit down much differently.
Provided that, we would reach back and feel for that plastic chair before settling all of our weight down again.So also in life, we can learn from the mistakes, pranks, & painful surprises that come our way. Click To Tweet
We can choose better, plan better, and respond better when the next unexpected “disaster” comes our way.
Additionally, we can remember what worked and what didn’t work the last time this happened.
Further, we can call that friend to pray with us who supported us so well during the last “prank.” Also, we can turn to that well-marked spot in our Bible and read again those words that encouraged us before.
And, we can help someone else who is dealing with similar unplanned events in their lives.
Sixth – Realize – God CAN and WILL use this if you will let Him.
Next, consider a few of my favorite promises: Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”I pray that you will respond well & allow God to use these things in your life for your good & His glory! Click To Tweet
Even though you may want to respond to the “prank” like an 8th grader, why not try the steps above and see if things don’t go a little better for you?
Remember this today: Life is messy!
It is filled with crazy events, unexpected news, unplanned accidents, and untimely “pranks.”
Consequently, there may be a chair pulled out from under you today or this week.
Are you ready?
So, have you had any chairs pulled out from under you lately?
What happened? How have you handled the pain, embarrassment, and challenge of the chair being pulled out?
Above all, how can I pray for you this week?
Moreover, I always enjoy hearing from you~
And, would you do me a favor — if this article has helped you today — would you share it with someone else?
© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Indeed, unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Also, excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.