It is a stressful time, full of worry and uncertainty.
Apart from making sure we wash our hands, practice physical distancing, and take care of our family and neighbors, there's still so much beyond our control.
In the middle of all the unknowns, it's tempting to focus on the few things we can control no matter how futile – like buying even more toilet paper. As humans, we often struggle when we feel things are out of our control.
Whatever the situation we find ourselves dealing with today, we want to believe it will resolve, things will be OK and the present circumstances will eventually smooth out, and we will return to a semblance of 'normal.' Things like; addictions, mental health conditions, special needs children, parenting homeschoolers, loss of job, illness, divorce, and relational conflicts are the types of ordinary experiences we find ourselves confronting in our lives or the lives of others.
These issues will continue and may lead to complicated juggling as we now face other problems due to this global pandemic. Some of you may find life a bit overwhelming and feeling things have spun out-of-control.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you in these times.
1) As believers, we want to affirm our identity is in Christ. Our starting position each day is living from His life as our source. No matter what difficulties we face, we learn to press deeper into our source of strength -- Christ's life. We are doing the best we can at this moment, and this is all we can expect of ourselves.
2) Learn to set realistic expectations; establish routines, goals, try new things, and discover your purpose is in Christ. Those things you had placed your security in, such as jobs, church, activities, and relationships may not be available for a time. When all is ripped from us, we discover our sole source of life is in Jesus. His life is thinking, acting, and moving in and through ours.
3) Deepen your relationship in Jesus, reading scriptures, worshiping, praying, and reaching out to believers in the ways you are able. You now have more time at home if you are not working from home to spend alone in the Lord's presence.
4) Acknowledge and allow emotional responses. It is OK to be afraid. It is OK to feel uncertain. It is OK to live in the uncomfortable moments of unknowing. Allow these emotions to rise and then talk about them with a trusted confidant.
5) Intentionally redirect focus from trying to control to determine the choices that are available for you to make. In this life, there are many situations we have no control over, and this global pandemic is an uncertain time. Continue making choices consistent with your values.
6) Recognize your limitations. I alone am not the cause of this problem, and I am not able to solve this suffering. But I can learn to make choices amid the distress or issue I am dealing with that will benefit my body, soul, and spirit.
Reach out to those in need, and offer a listening ear, send a card to encourage, give from your resources to others in this time of need. Other-centered being takes our focus off our worries and aids benefits such as the inner stream of God's peace and joy.
If you are not working from home and even if you are, ask yourself, what can I choose in this situation?
We can still exercise, walk, read, meditate, study, socially connect via phone, internet, and email. We can discover options such as creating new meals, reading that book, begin a journal, learn a new craft, or get on utube and learn something different.
If I have children or grandchildren, start new activities with them, get creative, google ideas. There are all kinds of organizations from libraries to museums to NASA offering free activities online.
We can choose to reach out for support, find available resources, and learn ways to reduce anxiety-producing thoughts through practicing mindfulness. Movements such as Tai Chi and Yoga are effective in helping to reduce anxiety and fear.
Each one of us can only do the best we can at this moment, but we cannot do it all, nor can we take on the problems and issues of everyone around us.
Realizing and recognizing this pandemic is more significant than me, and then making faith-choices on those day-to-day things we can do will provide us with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
In it all, we keep our thoughts and minds centered on the truth of scriptures and that God is still in control.
Our faith is stretched in these moments and hours that make up our days. We are growing more in-depth, more comprehensive, and broader in our relationship with the Lord Jesus.
We are learning that family, friends, and community are coming together in ways, perhaps we never noticed.
We are discovering the Lord has promised never to leave or forsake us, and we sense His presence as a holy balm holding us in the shadow of his wing in all we are feeling and experiencing.
And in all we experience, we discover our Hope is living from the sole source of sufficiency in Christ and Him alone!