Whew! What a time our world is having. Our entire world! Fighting the same invisible enemy with the only weapon we know. Social Distancing. Forced Retreat. Physical Isolation. Shelter in Place. Quarantine. Stay at Home Order. Whatever we’re calling this weapon, it hasn’t been easy. So, how will we survive this extended, uncertain, unprecedented slice of time in isolation from one other? These are questions worth asking and answering. Let’s look at some of our Christian survival tools:
#1. Lean into GOD like never before: Read his words, meditate on them, put them into action daily. Claim his promises for you and yours. Pray to him and make time to listen for his still, small voice. OBEY him. Keep your eyes on him, not this world. The world didn’t know this virus, Corona, was coming but GOD did. He knew this trouble. He knows all our troubles. In fact, in John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.” Let’s look to our overcomer to help us overcome.
#2. Lean into each other. We’re all struggling in some way. We’re all isolated from someone we love and time keeps ticking. Since GOD created us for fellowship and community, let’s remember to reach out. Be authentic. Share. There is no shame in the struggle. We're not meant to go it alone. Genesis 2:18 reads, “The LORD GOD said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone” and in Galatians 6:2 we hear “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” We are made to bear each other’s load. Don’t go it alone.
#3. Lean into what's worked for you: Art, Music, Nature, Journaling, Guided Imagery, Deep Breathing. EFT. Grab some outdoor time. Enjoy GODS creation this spring. Give yourself the gift of time. Do things you enjoy whether you feel like it or not. In Ecclesiastes 8:15, we are told, “I commend joy, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful for this will go with him in his toil through the days of life GOD has given him under the sun.” Find things to enjoy during this time despite how you feel. They are GODS gifts to you.
#4. Express your feelings. All of them: Allow yourself an ugly cry. Admit you’re scared. Own your anger. Agree you’re overwhelmed or indifferent or whatever you feel. Just choose your words wisely so your pain does not become someone else’s. Ask GOD for a heart cleanse if you don’t like what you find there. After all, it’s your heart he’s after. In Samuel 16:7 GOD says, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Make sure your heart is worth looking at. If not, a simple prayer from Psalm 51:10 will suffice. “Create in me a clean heart of GOD, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Feels wonderful to be right with GOD.
#5. Know your thoughts. Guard them: Dismiss every lie. Hold onto what is true. Our thinking leads to our actions. We are directed to“Take every thought captive under Christ” in 2 Corinthians 10:5. It may sound like work; however, it’s worth thee effort to have the sound mind GOD promises us when we follow him. Plus, it gets easier over time to re-frame our thoughts as Cognitive Behavioral Therapists say. Oh, and instead of what’s wrong or troublesome, think on good things. This is the best way to assure yourself some peace. GOD tells us so in Philippians 4:8 he says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” He knows our thoughts lead to our actions so he tells us what to think about!
#6. Always remember, you are not alone: Your feelings, your thoughts, the world, your flesh, and even the enemy may scream, “You’re alone. No-one cares”. This is rubbish. Don’t believe it. Believe what GOD says. In Deuteronomy 31:8 GOD says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” There are many more verses in GODS word about this. Allow yourself some time to look them up. Also, if you struggle for more than two weeks with the same emotion, therapists consider that clinically significant. So, CALL FOR HELP. BATTLES ARE WON TOGETHER. COUNSELORS CARE!
#7. Last, but not least, rest in the Lord: It’s by design #7 says REST in the LORD. After all, on the 7th day, the Lord rested. Exodus 14.14 says, “I, the LORD will fight your battles. You only need be still.” Rest in his protection. Rest in his Care. Trust in him. His promises are yours. And finally, rest in your future. We all know how the story ends. Revelation 7:16-17 says ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Truth is while there are specific skills (coping) to use for different feelings, these gentle and general reminders from GODS word are useful in times of distress with any emotion. We are told in Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but, in a multitude of counselors, there is safety.” Jesus Christ is our perfect counselor and prince of peace. I dare say he created Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is the master counselor. While Jesus is our best counselor and teacher, we need one another too; therefore, if you need to reach me or my practice, the info is below. While I have a wait-list, we have a therapist joining us now who currently is opening slots for some-time in May. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this: Look without, be distressed; look within, be depressed; look to GOD, be at rest. Rest in him for he cares for you!