by Jenny Fulton
The world is going crazy. An unfamiliar virus has gained unparalleled attention. Professionals and authorities are scrambling to find ways to control its spread and treat its effects. Healthcare workers are driven to exhaustion. Thousands have died and millions have lost their source of income. We’ve been sequestered in our homes. Relationships outside the home have been delegated to phone or computer. Any boundaries once established between work and home life no longer exist. Fear permeates the headlines and explodes into every heart and mind to which it can gain access. Stress and tension lie heavy upon the cities in an almost tangible blanket of doom.
It’s not ok.
We are not ok.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s ok.
Yes, God is on the throne, and yes, I believe that whether we live or die, He is taking care of us. But our lives are not ok. It isn’t good for us to be physically isolated from a community. And no, phone conversations, emails, podcasts, and Skype/Zoom/Video chats will never fill that void. Why? Because we are spiritual beings as well as physical ones. There is a joy and spiritual empowerment that happens when we are physically present that is absent when we aren’t.
We are not ok.
It isn’t good for us to live in fear or to think we can somehow control who lives and dies in this world. We’re stressed, and many of our best stress relievers have been taken.
I’m a mother with young kids at home. My time and opportunity to de-stress is less than ever. Last year I made the choice to delegate, to a trusted school, the job of teaching my oldest child so I could focus on the younger ones. Now that decision has been thrown back in my face.
I am not ok. This world is not ok. And maybe that’s ok.
Maybe its ok to acknowledge we’re struggling – to admit that this isn’t the norm and isn’t the way life was meant to be. We were meant to do more than breathe in isolated cubicles. We weren’t meant to be an island. The way we are being forced to live right now isn’t good.
So what can we do? In a time in which our choices are less than they’ve ever been for many of us in our lifetime, how can we live through and manage this time in which we are not ok?
Here are some of my ideas and I’d love to hear yours.
- Acknowledge the truth of how you’re feeling. Don’t keep pretending to be ok if that’s not how you feel.
- Talk to God. Vent to Him. He knows how you’re feeling before you do, and He understands. Considering that He made us for community, He knows better than anyone how not-good this situation is.
- Talk to others about how you’re really feeling. This will also help prevent us from taking out our frustrations on those closest to us. If we acknowledge the true source of our anger and discontent, it’s easier to direct it away from the innocent bystander and will better enable the one we’re talking to understand where our anger is coming from.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Your life has changed, so don’t place upon it the same expectations you had before.
- Don’t put too much pressure on others. Deadlines can wait. Really, how significant are these deadlines in light of the crisis and chaos that’s now happening all around us?
- Don’t force yourself to be happy. God gives joy in the midst of circumstances, not happiness.
- Give yourself permission to mourn all the people and things you miss and have lost.
- Look for beauty and things to be thankful for. Give yourself the opportunity to think about and focus on the good that still exists.
- Set aside the tasks and focus on enjoying the relationships you still have access to.
- Remember tough times in the past God brought you through and let those memories guide your hope that He’ll bring you through this present time as well.
“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5, NASB
Right now, we are not ok, and, given the circumstances, maybe that’s ok. But we can trust and have hope that with God at our side, we will be.
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