If you’re an adrenaline junky like me, then you love that moment on a roller coaster where all you can hear are the gears below you clicking you to the top of a giant hill. Feeling the still air and surveying the view for a split second before the ride plummets you toward the ground; it’s one of my favorite experiences. These amusement rides are so fun for me because, despite the illusion of danger, I know that I am safe, protected, and when the ride comes to an end, I will shuffle out of my seat and continue on with my day and with my life.
I’ve heard this past year described as a roller coaster, and it has felt like that, hasn’t it? I have whiplash from the back and forth, ever-evolving updates on all things COVID. Everything feels like a perpetual amusement park ride, down to the charts recording COVID cases – up and down, over and over. But this doesn’t feel fun, and I’m not screaming with joy as we fall together to another valley. For the past several months, all I’ve felt is fear, worry, and anxiety because I don’t see an end in sight. And all I keep asking myself is: Is this ride over yet?
All those feelings are exhausting in long-term waves, and not only are they exhausting, but we weren’t meant to live in any of those states. Over and over again, the Bible tells us to be joyful, rejoice in our suffering, and do not be afraid, but instead be peaceful and pursue peace.
Joyful? Unafraid? Peaceful?
While pursuing peace and joy sounds near impossible after consuming any form of media for more than 30 seconds, God does want that for us. He tells us is it important and something that can be obtained out of intentionality. Pursuing something takes focus and determination. If you too feel overwhelmed during this “season” (what even does that mean?), then it is the perfect time to create structure around your habits to not only sustain you now but keep you strong when the next valley comes. Covid or not, circumstances in life have a way of making us discouraged, and putting practices in place now will only reinforce our stamina and mental stability when the next wave hits.
So how can we take steps now to help prepare us for the future and sustain us throughout Covid?
Start your day with scripture and worship.
This sounds like an age-old practice that I almost don’t even need to say, but it is worth repeating. Not only does this start your day with intentional time with God, but when you are fully focused on reading or worshipping, it takes your mind off of your problems and redirects your focus to the presence of God. Especially in “uncertain times,” beginning your day with deliberate time directed towards God provides you with something to cling to throughout the day when the inevitable trouble or bad news hits.
Find a few minutes a day to sit in silence.
Introverts and extroverts alike can benefit from spending time alone and silent. Yes, that means turning your phone and devices off. It’s okay, you can turn them back on after a few minutes of quiet time. 🙂 I connect best with God in nature, so that is where I go for my silent time. After sitting outside, surrounded by the creation of the creator of our universe, it’s hard to remember my crises or walk away without peace. I’m sure you have a happy place too. GO THERE! Set aside time every week, or as often as you can to go to that place, alone. It doesn’t have to be miles away. It could be a bench in your yard, a forgotten space in the office, or a quiet house in the morning before everyone wakes up. Wherever that place is for you, go there, and ask God to show up too.
Don’t pretend you are okay if you’re not.
We all want to pretend we are strong when everything is clearly not okay. If I show that I can’t handle things, then everyone will think I’m weak, fragile, and inflexible. However, I think strength is found in acknowledging our weaknesses, choosing to embrace them, and learning how to improve them. There are many reasons we feel compelled to hide our issues or struggles, but regardless of the scenario, we also weren’t meant to go through life alone. It’s okay to admit you’re not okay, and it’s even better to be able to admit that to a trusted friend, or group of friends, that will support and encourage you throughout. Vulnerability provoked with empathy is a gift, especially during a time when the word “normal” has been erased from the dictionary.
These few steps are not an exhaustive list, but they do begin to build a lifestyle of practices and behaviors that will help us all recover from all that COVID-19 and 2020 brought to us.
When the ride is over, we can emerge stronger, healthier, and wiser; prepared for whatever 2021 has in store.
YouVersion’s From Anxiety to Peace Bible reading plan
Max Lucado’s Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Stoher believes imagination is a gift that should often be exercised as a reflection of the creativity in the designs of our Creator. Here at KNOWN, she is the branding guru, crafting and formulating all things aesthetic.