Wow, how so much changes in a week. I am hunkered down here in Arizona, doing a fair amount of taking care of grandkids during this crisis of schools shutting down and everyone staying home.
It’s tempting to feel overwhelmed and scared and if you watch too much news that’s what will to happen. In this week’s blog, I want to share with you a few things I’m doing to help myself through this time. I hope they’re helpful for you too.
1. Stay present. It’s easy to use my imagination to picture the worst-case scenario about things. I’m in my retirement years and the dive of the stock market is scary. It’s tempting to worry about my financial future or getting sick. But at this moment, I’m fine. It’s a sunny, warm day. I have good health. My grandkids are adorable and all is well. Jesus warns us not to worry about tomorrow, because today has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-34). Staying present and living in today helps me not to get overly anxious about things that I have no control over or that might happen tomorrow or a year from now.
2. Practice gratitude. There are always things to be thankful for, but when you are feeling stressed and scared it’s easy to lose sight of them. Being intentional about looking for the treasures in the dark places (Isaiah 45:3) keeps my mind from dwelling too long on what’s wrong. Click To Tweet
3. Remembering God’s got this. Nothing takes God by surprise even if we’re shocked. Jesus tells us that he gives us a give us a gift of peace. Peace of mind and of heart (John 15:27). If we believe Him we have nothing to fear because God promises to use everything for our good (Romans 8:28). It might not feel good in the moment, but if God has my well-being in his mind, I do not need to worry about it.
4. Looking for the good even when it’s hard. Collectively there are good things happening in this crisis. We’re much more conscious of how we impact one another world-wide. We’re being good neighbors, staying home, checking in on people, caring for those who may not have enough food or toilet paper or other supplies. We’re talking with our families instead of being so busy, We’re reflecting on important life values and decisions. This crisis has bigger implications than just the virus. We may have opportunities to share our faith and speak about the hope and calm we feel when others are freaking out.
5. Focus on the eternal. Life is fragile. Never are we more aware of this truth than when in crisis. Yet God tells us that our lives are like a vapor, or a flower, here today, gone tomorrow. That’s always true, but we don’t pay attention or think about it until it smacks us in the face. There is an eternal reality that we don’t often grasp but nonetheless is real and true. Fixing our eyes on eternal reality can help us manage present emotional distress. Paul practiced this in 2 Corinthians 4 when he writes, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but not destroyed.”
How? How did Paul manage to not get freaked out by what was his temporal reality of hardships? He tells us. He writes, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them all and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Friends, please share with our community what you are doing to stay calm, sane, and strong right now.
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Great advice. I have shared it with my family. Y’al,l Stay well and calm, trusting in the loving heart of God to see us through. I think He wants us all to slow down.
A friend told me that her Bible Study group is starting and ending each day by praying through Psalm 91. Though I live a long distance from my friend’s group she invited me to join them. In times like these what matters most is our connection with others and reaching out to them with encouraging words and prayer. I admit to being afraid, but I also admit to believing that the Lord’s purposes are being accomplished, as they always will be with or without a crisis such as this. I too, am thankful for the chance to draw back and rest. And thankful for Leslie’s ministry and all those who contribute here.
I think so too. I keep getting an image of a gigantic ‘reset’ button that He has pushed. The effects of this are staggering. The stories we will hear, in years to come, will be incredible – both uplifting and heartbreaking.
This is a great post! Everything Leslie wrote is important for everyday life but especially important during stressful times. One thing I’m trying to remember is to be extra kind to our service providers such as grocery store clerks. When I go grocery shopping I try to make eye contact with each one and smile, and tell them thank you for coming to work today so I can buy food for my family. Looking for ways to be kind to others is a wonderful antidote to my own feelings of stress, too. Win-win!
I shared your post on my Facebook page with this: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” The Message
Leslie Vernick’s question and accompanying Scripture reminded me that in a challenging time God used the above verse to give me perspective that it really was “small potatoes” in comparison to all that God has for us. As we ask God’s guidance and His presence during this time, let’s encourage one another. If you need a friend to pray with, please message me. It would be my privilege.
THank you for this beautiful post, Leslie. I live in NYC on a street with stoops, and today neighbors practiced social distancing and connecting by bringing tea and coffee out onto the stoop to chat. Tomorrow, two neighbors said they will exchange a poetry reading. We are updating each other on neighbors needs and best places to shop in case there is lockdown. This is a unique time and opportunity to carry to others the Good News of God’s love and to dwell on all things noble, good and true,(the essence of Philippians 4:8). Even if it means admitting our fears first. I have been told by a counselor that it is impossible to feel anxious and grateful at the same time.
Thanks, Leslie, for faithfully reminding us what the Word of God tells us about how to live our daily lives. I feel blessed to have this extra time to devote to learning. I am learning from your blogs and Facebook lives. I am learning from the university where I teach as they reach out with instructional Zoom sessions on how we teachers can convert our classes to on-line instruction. I am learning how to more calmly communicate with others, including my h. I am learning how to see the “sun behind the clouds”, how to trust God more, and how to REFRAME — thanks, Leslie — soooooo good!!! Love and prayers to you and to all!
I’m looking at this like a mini staycation. All my appointments are canceled. My Mom’s Senior Community is in lock-down. All non-essential businesses in my state are closed. So I’m staying in and getting my house and life in order. It’s kinda refreshing. My heart condition makes me “at risk” but if I focus on the positive it keeps me from being too nervous. Thanks, Leslie!
It’s wonderful to hear that you are in Arizona.I am living here full-time since 1985 and am a nurse in Scottsdale. so glad I found you and love that your work is Christ centered, And can’t wait for you to Open the core group education again in the fall. Go with God.warm regards 😇
I don’t see it as a crisis. Based on how many of us have lived who contribute to this blog, this is nothing. As a healthcare provider, I find these measures ridiculous.
Hi, Moonbeam, I can agree with you to some extent about the extreme measures being taken, but I see something bigger happening here: life slowing down, people reconnecting, sharing, and taking a good look at life and what needs to change for us all. I think that God has some plans to use this “crisis” to benefit us all. Let’s get the best from the situation.
I agree with you JoAnn, but I also think the virus was designed to thin the population and remind us all of the brevity of life. By self isolating, we are obeying authorities and yet we are also showing that we are afraid of death. I say trust the Lord more fully and accept natural disasters as part of God’s grand design. This world and this life is temporary. We need to walk the talk and love God more than life. Just my thoughts with this. So, do we think we don’t deserve the chastening of plagues like other generations?
Moonbeam, Chastening from God….yes, but who is seeing that? Instead of taking the 9/11 attack as a message from God, people just rose up determined to rebuild stronger. It is healthy to realize that there are forces stronger than we are. May God have mercy on us all.
I am limiting what I read and trying to run everything through a filter of scripture and history.
I care for 2 very high risk individuals and I’ve just been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease myself, so that makes me part of the compromised folks. So we are mostly staying home and washing well in an attempt to help “flatten the curve” so we don’t have overwhelm in the system .
I am enjoying time with my children, and just appreciating all of the amazing older people in my life. Making the most of every interaction (over the phone or internet) realizing that we have no idea who will be left standing when this is over.
Thanks for the post Leslie, and take care of yourself.
I am so blessed to read Leslie’s words of wisdom. I see that making good mental choices in the word of God are key to realizing His peace. What a comfort to know that what we are experiencing here on earth is so temporary and we have an amazing eternity to look forward to. Our twin boys have spring break this week from college. We planned to go to Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry. When we were in our packed car at 6 am Monday morning, my husband showed us that it was closed. We instead planned to go and seek how the Lord would let us use these 2 days as a mission’s trip. In Southern Wis. we stopped at a large cheese shop. Not many people were shopping of course. A 72 yr old sweet lady was giving us bread samples. We talked about the St. Patrick’s testimony which lead to a door to talk about eternity. She listened very openly to the gospel from us. What a joy. I got her favorite cheese – Chocolate – and brought it to her and said this is a “free gift” just as our Lord offers Salvation to her/us Eph 2:8-9. It was worth the trip. Staying home now… keeping sanitized… reaching out in texts and making phone calls and praying together with church friends. [I appreciate the blog on making good friends] Blessings to you all!!!
I’ve been reaching out( texts and emails) to many on my contact list to check in with them. Getting out to walk has been important as well as listening to music.This week the Getty music writing team released a new song “Christ my Hope in Life and Death” It’s a beautiful hymn and the timing of the release feels like a wonderful gift from God who is never surprised by life’s circumstances.
The Getty’s are wonderful. I remember before they were married they traveled with Kristyn’s Dad in tow as their chaperone. It was so cute how smitten they were with each other.
Reflecting on our target audience on this blog I think many of us would have loved to have a father who wanted to protect his daughter’s relationship and reputation to such an extent. Imagine who many of us would have picked to marry if we had a loving earthly father as well as a loving heavenly father. Oh, to do it all over again, and to have never married a young man who matured into a wicked, crafty abuser.
John 15:27 was meant to be John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.