By: Jamie Meyer
Who could have imagined that a tiny virus could bring the world to its knees? Every day brought more shocking news as the coronavirus spread like wildfire. When we didn’t think it could get any worse, it did. Like so many of us, my anxiety level ramped up. Daily routines that help me manage my mental health were suddenly interrupted. Having to socially distance from friends and family has been painful. Honestly, I can’t wait until life gets back to normal.
But what if it doesn’t? I don’t want to think about that. What if mask-wearing becomes the norm? What if kids can’t go back to school in the fall? What if, what if. I want to get back to my normal, everyday life. It feels like I’m living in a state of pause, like pausing a movie I’m watching to grab a snack from the kitchen. Hit Play on the remote and pick up where the movie left off. But wait. What if a different movie came on? I’m sure I’d be terribly confused. Me and technology don’t get along very well, so I know I’d be frustrated and pushing all the buttons on the remote. At this point I’m angry because I can’t see the rest of my movie.
Right now, we’re all cast members in an unfamiliar movie. Try as we might to bow out, there’s no escaping the story we’re living in at present. This begs the question: Am I going to be angry and frustrated until things get back to normal or will I accept life as it is right now? Can I learn to live as if things may never go back to the normal I once knew?
I believe there are a few things all of us can do to stay fully engaged in the here and now, rather than putting our lives on hold until sometime in the future. As I see it, an important key is trusting in God’s unwavering faithfulness. Looking back on my own life I can see that He’s brought me through many painful situations where the future was uncertain. Whatever challenges lie ahead in your own life, God’s got you. In fact, his Word tells us we have “hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Heb.6:19). I definitely need an anchor right now.
My mind believes this is true, but to be honest, sometimes my heart is slow to feel it’s true. I have difficulty sitting still with my feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones like fear, anxiety and helplessness. I tend to look for distractions and a big one right now is food. When the overwhelming craving for junk food hits, I can’t say no even though I’m not physically hungry. The reality is that it’s a numbing escape from the uncertainties and losses I’d rather not think about.
Another way we can anchor ourselves to the present is to consciously look for what’s beautiful and good around us. When you find it in people, express your gratitude to them. Be intentional in looking for the beauty around you, whether in nature or in the kindness of others. Take time to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Jot those thoughts down in a journal or share them with the people you love. Bring hope and kindness to others by finding little ways to help.
The real danger of putting our lives on hold until the old and familiar returns is that it may never happen. Today is here and gone. There are no do-overs. That reminder humbles me and brings to mind a book written by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s entitled “Your Best Life Now.” There’s a lot of wisdom in those words, encouraging us to live our best every day in this age of coronavirus.
We of course continue will continue to offer our online Fresh Hope support groups and most of our local groups that used to meet in person are now meeting online also. People can register for our regular weekly online group meeting by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com