Are you anxious about the coronavirus? And basically everything else going on in our world right now?
Then you have come to the right place, because, sweet mama, I want you to know that you are not alone. I also want you to know that there are a few things I am trying to do to help me live in these crazy times with faith and victory instead of fear.
#1 – Look Up
I took Jethro to his piano lesson the other day and while he was inside his teacher’s home, I sat outside on a swing that was hanging from a large tree in her front yard. I did what I normally do when I have a few minutes to myself – look down at my phone. I spent some time checking emails, social media, etc. Within 20 minutes I found myself stressing over a work situation, discontent over comparison to others, and discouraged about some things going on in the country.
Then a small breeze blew by and caused my skirt to fly up. I dropped my phone to catch my skirt so as not to give the piano teacher’s neighbors a surprise peep show (and let’s be honest, even if they had seen something, they would have been disappointed by granny panties and legs that haven’t seen a suntan in over 5 years). While looking around, another breeze blew past and I suddenly became very aware of my surroundings. The sun warmed my face. The leaves rustled quietly. A ladybug landed on my arm. Feeling lighter, I leaned back in the swing and looked up. I am embarrassed to say my neck hurt to look up because it is so used to looking down, but as I settled back, I felt peaceful. Present.
That whole situation reminded me of the power of looking up. When we get so focused on looking down at our phones, absorbing piles of information I am not sure the Lord ever intended for us to bear, we miss out on the gift of the present moment right in front of our eyes.
Another illustration of this happened the other day when I was seriously fretting over some news report I had heard. I spent the day distracted in my thoughts and tied up in knots emotionally. That evening, while I was giving Zion his bath, I looked down for 2 seconds to text a friend for prayer, and in that exact moment, Zion took a massive poop in the tub. It happened so fast and the mess was so epic I had to call Ryan into the bathroom for support. When we set our minds on things we cannot control, things get messy – and in my case, quite literally.
Matthew 6:34 says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Translation >> I don’t need to be focusing on outside poop when I have my own poop right in front of my nose.
#2 – Rehearse Truth
Do you know what I am really good at doing? Stewing. I will mentally stew on situations until I am so far down a road of confusion and fear I am almost paralyzed. Take this coronavirus. My thoughts have included is this the beginning of the end? Did this start as an act of terrorism? Do we need to build a bunker? Goes on Amazon to search >> HAZMAT SUITS FOR FAMILY.
And do you know where that kind of thinking ends? In a dark place of despair. So I have learned that I have to speak God’s Word out loud to remind myself of what is true, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When I am really struggling in my head, I will literally say out loud, “LORD, HELP ME TO LEAN NOT ON MY OWN UNDERSTANDING,” as a way to command my spirit to trust the Lord instead. My understanding is so so limited. And so easily burdened by the voices of the world! So, protect yourself! Turn off the media if it’s wearing you out. Lean not on your own understanding (or everyone else’s interpretation) of what’s going on around you. Submit your heart to the Lord. Depend on what HE SAYS about this life.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse says the following in words better than I could ever say,
Throw your cares, which are so cutting and distracting, which wound your souls and pierce your hearts, upon the wise and gracious providence of God; trust in him with a firm composed mind, for he careth for you. He is willing to release you of your care, and take the care of you upon himself. He will either avert what you fear, or support you under it. He will order all events to you so as shall convince you of his paternal love and tenderness towards you; and all shall be so ordered that no hurt, but good, shall come unto you.
“He will either avert what you fear, or support you under it” >> all with the goal of drawing you closer to him and his undying affections for you! Take heart, sister! Everything is for our good and his glory!
#3 – Refresh Others
When I see myself spiraling down into a pit of sadness and fear over the state of the world, it is a pretty good indicator that I am getting too inward focused. That is my cue to try to find a way to bless someone else who is going through a hard time, too. And let me tell you, there are plenty of us out there! Take a meal to someone (HERE is my favorite), send them a card, tell a joke to someone who is tied up in knots (laughter is good medicine). Proverbs 11:25 says, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” When I set about finding ways to make another’s world brighter, my own starts to light up.
I know this to be true! We never would have survived Jethro’s first year of life were it not for our amazing church family. It’s why I wrote a whole book about how small acts of kindness can make huge impacts on yourself, your community, and the world.
#4 – Be Quiet
I am still nursing baby Zion and I notice that he is not quiet or still until I meet his need for milk. In contrast, a weaned child will sit in his mama’s lap not seeking provision, but rather presence. This image can be found in Psalm 131.
“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
God’s heart for us is that we not concern ourselves with all. the. matters. He longs for us to just quietly climb into his lap and trust him to be the Good Shepherd to supply our every need. Enjoy his presence. Stop striving for answers. Be still.
So whether you are at home in a hazmat suit (where did you buy yours?!) or losing sleep over media coverage or fearing the absolute worst, please know you aren’t alone. Find peace and joy in serving your community. Rehearse God’s Word frequently and out loud, and try to remain focused on what God has put right in front of you – today.
Which may simply be to clean out the bathtub with a joyful heart.