"I’m supposed to teach?"
"Take care of my kids? Clean the house?"
"Can we leave?"
"Do we have enough food?"
"They keep arguing!"
"I leave everyday because it’s better for our family: 2 to 3 weeks together at least?"
"But we had plans!"
"My family isn’t all together, do they come home?"
"Do they come over?"
"It can’t be that big a deal could it? Is it?"
Fear. Freak out. Preparedness. Problem solving. Financial stress.
We all handle unexpected circumstances and difficult moments in our own way.
The range of emotions and feelings will vary due to the place you are living in your family right now. Needs are different for all of us and how we accept, interpret and handle this time will look different as well.
Here is something I know from personal experience over the last few days: if I am left to my own devices and strength, use past experiences (which there aren’t any because none of us have experienced this), watch the news all day, react, respond, listen to opinions of others or what ifs---all while trying to balance the facts and real life updates---I can feel the stress, fear, anger, frustration grow and I leave no room for the truth I know and have studied for so long.
I have spent years learning, studying and teaching God’s Word. I love Jesus, I hear His voice, seek Him, serve Him, worship Him and want Him in every corner of my life, but all of a sudden, I’m a fearful mess. I don’t do what I teach! Why? Because I’m human!
When I counsel young people, I offer a safe place for them to vent and share whatever they want to. Often, I encourage students to take three deep breaths---in through the nose and out through the mouth---filling up the chest, rib cage and bellies to let it all out and invite God in. Being afraid, anxious, stressed and fearful does not make us less Christian, it shows our great need for the Savior we have right next to us while we feel all these feelings. Parents and young people alike must practice paying attention to our reactions and feelings, be patient with ourselves, and let it out.
Often when people are hurting and can’t muster up much of anything besides the overwhelming anxiety or stress they feel, I ask if they can muster up a mustard seed of faith. Most always, the answer is, "Yes, I can have that much." God is so gracious and patient with us and so very kind that this is all He asks for from us. Isn’t that awesome?
As we pay attention to and are honest about our feelings, and as we muster up that mustard seed of faith in the midst of difficulty, we can begin to reset.
How do we reset?
There's not a magical formula or five-step how to for resetting our fears; we as believers have timeless, eternal practices that help us reset...we just have to continue them!
Turn words of fear, tears, frustrations and anger into prayers. God has big shoulders and He is always loving. He knows; He hears you.
A dear old friend of mine recently passed away at 99 years of age. His life was dedicated to pointing others to our sweet Savior’s love who meets us in our hardest times. He looked people in the eye, encouraged, listened and was able to do this because he was “drenched in the Word of God.”
Get out the Word--let's get out our paper Bibles and look through them. If you have an old one, get it out. What have you highlighted? Do you remember why you highlighted those passages? What did God do to bring you through other difficult times? Do you remember how you felt? Apply this truth to today and the past week.
Drenching ourselves in the Word can happen so many ways now. Podcasts, online sermons, worship music, and teachings are all additional ways of soaking in truth. Following Christian resources on Instagram and Facebook can be helpful to so that as you scroll, you see Him. FaceTime, call, encourage and listen to your family and friends.
Let’s try, let’s hold one another up, love, pray and help.