My Guest Blogger today is Julie Reed, LPC, NCC (c)2020
Make no mistake; we are living in scary and unprecedented times. Our world is facing a new threat and it is taking a toll. The threat is, of course, COVID-19. The toll, well, that is so subjective and personal that we could spend days discussing it. Every person, every family, every institution and business has been impacted in ways that we will probably never know, ways we probably cannot fathom. I have personally heard stories of job loss, serious health issues, paralyzing fear, and financial devastation. It is no surprise that depression and anxiety are on the rise.
Staying connected to others, even if it cannot be in person, is crucial to our mental health. It is also beneficial to take breaks from watching the news, keep a regular schedule, get some type of exercise, go out in nature and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, continue to eat healthily and get enough sleep. Seek help if you need it. Many counselors are offering telehealth, and although this is not, in my opinion, the best situation for a counseling relationship, it is by far better than being isolated. The CDC has published an article with tips for dealing with the stressors during the pandemic, and it may be helpful: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
These tips do present wise reminders. Yet as Christians we also have a deeper wisdom and hope beyond our circumstances. In John 16 Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world, but that we are to take courage because he has overcome the world! This is so comforting! We are not alone in our fear or poor health or financial crises. Psalm 57:8 says, “Record my lament, list my tears on your scroll-are they not in your record?”. Even in our deepest sorrow, God is with us. He sees our every tear and cares so much that he records each one. One of my favorite scriptures is where God speaks to Joshua and says, “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV). We are not alone.
I have also heard stories during this time of families growing closer, spouses renewing their marriage relationships, people growing in their faith, and other positive opportunities that could only present themselves through this horrific virus. Could something good come from something so horrible?
As Christians we are presented with a unique opportunity during these times of uncertainty. We have choices to make. In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus tells his disciples they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Although there has been suffering, I challenge you to ask yourself what the meaning of this suffering will be. How can God use it for your good or the good of others? As born-again Christians, this is our task and our privilege. It might take some searching and most definitely prayer, but I believe there is good in even these scary times.
“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” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
There is nothing easy about the times through which we are living. But I believe that God can use it for our good and the good of others, in big ways and small.
God’s peace be with you.
Today’s Helpful Word
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!