Strategies to rise above the COVID-19 stress
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Six weeks ago, I shared some suggestions for Lent and wished for you to enjoy a few thoughtful, blessed, and restful weeks. At that time, I had no idea what was in store for all of us. I had heard of COVID-19, but it seemed far away from my corner of the world. But, here it is.
I've been at home for four weeks. Other than the occasional walk around the block, I've not left my house. Like everyone else, I'm ready for this trial to pass. The isolation has been more stressful than I imagined it would be. Being at home has not been restful. Normal life has evaporated. Using technology to connect with friends and loved ones is amazing, but you can't hug a computer screen.
This past Easter was the first in over four decades that I didn't attend church. Like most people, I watched the online service for my church. Just anticipating Easter at home was giving me the blues. Easter in Colorado this year was a cold, snowy day. At first, it further added to my blues.
Then I noticed my daylilies. They were a splash of green in my snow-cloaked garden. There's something about seeing the insistence of life pushing forward that is encouraging.
So, here I thought I was all chill about the shelter-at-home situation and then my clenched jaw would tell another story. As the discomfort gripped my jaw, I felt ashamed at being overcome by circumstances. After all, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Why should I let this virus and the restrictions I'm dealing with cause me physical pain?
Folks smarter and more scientific than I am can tell you about what's going on in your brain and body. This is a good article to brief you about the state of trauma we're experiencing.
However, the stress of COVID-19 doesn't have to have the final say in your life. Here are a few keys to help you overcome the difficulties of our current pandemic:
Settle down without an agenda, other than to quiet your heart. Take the pressure off and go before the throne. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. Psalm 62:5 Perhaps you'll hear that still, small voice that will provide the comfort you need right now. When you feel refreshed, do something that gives you comfort: reading, writing, baking, art, putting together a puzzle.
Realize that this isn't a situation that you can control. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 When I remind myself not to worry, I listen, and it usually helps. Trust. Try it!
Consider that challenges can be a gift from God. Look at the situation in a new way.
Remember, God is still on the throne. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7 Pray, don't worry. Then pray again when/if worry creeps back.
Draw near to God for the grace you need. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 Lay it on the line, and tell God how you're feeling. He cares, and if you open yourself to Him, He will provide comfort.
Be of assistance to others. Spread hope, not fear. Share the Good News of the gospel. Send a greeting card. Share a favorite recipe with one of your foodie friends.
Begin to praise God. It helps to shift your perspective. Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms. Psalm 68:19 For one thing, praise takes the focus off your situation and puts you in a better frame of mind—a godly frame of mind.
Rely on God. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
We should be those who show the world what the peace and confidence of being a child of the Almighty looks like. Right? Then let's do it!