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.