The first case of COVID-19 hit our state just a few weeks ago – but what a different world we live in now. Many are working at home, many have lost jobs, and many are going to work every day to help keep us safe and fed. The term “social distancing” is used so often it’s hard to believe that we’ve only known this term for a few weeks. We all know how long to wash our hands for and how we are not supposed to touch our eyes, mouth, or nose. Stores are out of essentials. Every day new Executive Orders are passed about how many people can be in one place at a time, what places are closed, and who can go where. Online churches are now the norm. Schools are closed and kids from preschool to college age are home taking classes. There are no sports activities taking place, local or global. Hair salons are closed, so we are all growing our hair and seeing more and more of our natural color each day. We wonder if we should touch our mail. When we cough, people look at us in horror. Every day the death toll climbs. We have no idea how long this will last.
What seems like some sort of science fiction movie is not fiction at all.
How do we get through each day, not knowing how long this will last or what the next day will bring? Many people have different coping mechanisms and what works for one person might not work for another. I find myself coping well on some days, and not as well on other days.
As we get through this together, here’s what I am finding useful. Feel free to add to this list!
- First and foremost, I am remembering that God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19, that He is good, and that He is trustworthy.
- I am finding joy in seeing how so many people are reaching out and helping so many others at this time.
- I am taking pleasure in seeing flowers grow, listening to birds sing, and enjoying warmer weather. Spring is indeed a time of hope.
- I am praying, praying, and praying more.
- I am excited about the number of people who are attending online churches, people who would not previously have set foot in a church. One church reported five times as many people watching online as attend on a regular Sunday. May these people set foot in the doors once churches open back up!
- Reading God’s word daily. Right now I am doing a deep dive in the book of Romans, and every day I find the readings so applicable to what we are going through today.
- Writing in a journal. Mine has several questions that you answer each day, such as “how are you feeling today?” and “what happened today”? It’s cathartic to get thoughts into words.
- I am limiting myself to catching up on the news first thing in the morning, and then shutting the TV off until the Governor’s daily update, after which it goes off again. I do not watch the evening news and I spend the evening in some sort of “light” activity. This helps me sleep soundly at night as I’m not going to bed full of fear. During my morning news catch up, I let the tears fall for a few minutes, something that helps me to grieve what we are collectively going through.
- I am trying not to complain. Interestingly, when CCF recently went through a fast from 3/1 – 3/21, one of the things I gave up was complaining. While I slipped many times, the focus on not complaining made it clear to me how much I had complained. Now I am continuing to focus on not complaining and instead looking at things to be thankful for – and there are many.
- Lots of exercise and outdoor time to clear the mind.
- Staying in touch with friends and family and letting them know I’m thinking of them.
During a recent email exchange with one of CCF’s Global Partners in Asia, she noted that “If we feed our fear, our faith will falter. If we feed our faith, our fear will falter.” When Peter was walking on the water towards Jesus, his faith faltered as fear took over. This isn’t what God wants for us.
None of us know how long this will last, but we do know the One who knows. Let’s hold fast to Him through this unknown time and use this as a time to grow our faith.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.“