I’ve felt so scattered lately. Do you know the feeling? Not being able to focus on a task and finish it? School has been shut down for at least 3 weeks, restaurants have shut their doors, we are only to gather in groups less than 10. All because of a nasty, deadly virus. Truly it feels like the world is upside down.
On the inside, I’m reeling with how to process or feel about all of this, and on the outside, there is a lot to be done. Online teaching to be prepared, workspaces to be prepped for our four kids to learn at home, bathrooms to clean, meals to plan. But I feel paralyzed.
I feel like a hypocrite even suggesting ways to handle our uncertainty in the midst of this unprecedented event. I do not know the answers! But I do know myself, and I know that in order to find and choose calm in the midst of the chaos, I have to filter through the unknown to remember what is true.
Here’s how I’m employing the faith exercise I’ve found most helpful (Read more about it here) during this time.
The Unknown: How long will this last? Will my kids have their sports season? Will I finish the school year with my students?
The Truth: “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). It is so hard not to know what is next! And truly we are in a time when we have no clue. I believe it is a gift to be in this space and to grapple with not knowing. I can see this as an invitation to ask God about the unknowns and to trust Him more. It is true that God holds the whole world in His hands. He is over all things and through all things. Nothing surprises Him! He has had “coronavirus” on His calendar since the beginning of time. I can take comfort in knowing He sees me, and I matter to Him. He is on His throne.
My Action: I can choose to give thanks. I have a journal where I write down at least five things that I’m thankful for each day. The small things, the big things. This helps me to recognize the mundane and the obvious. Yesterday I wrote sleeping until 8 am, hot coffee, 4 kids that argue which teaches them how to handle conflict, fresh air, and walking my dog. It is through remembering God’s blessings that I can try to fix my mind on positivity so I don’t melt into despair. If I don’t write them down, I won’t remember them.
God has hit the “pause” button, so I can take time to re-evaluate. Where have I been and where am I headed? When all of our activities and time commitments stop, we can ask ourselves if we want to be involved in them in the first place. So often, I have asked God for more time. Time to get all the things done, time to think about what’s ahead. Boy, has He answered that prayer! He has given me an abundance of time, it’s all about how I choose to see it. I figure I can waste it by complaining, or I can try to use it well. It’s easier to see when we are not in the mess. We have time right now to sift through our priorities and rhythms.
The Unknown: How will I handle all of this?
The Truth: I’m not competing with anyone. I will handle it how I will handle it.
My Action: Take me out of the running. Jess Connolly is one of my favorite writers. If you haven’t read her book, You are the Girl for the Job, order it now. It is a game-changer. In one of her chapters, she talks about “taking yourself out of the running.” She describes a perspective switch for the way she lives life. It has brought me great freedom. It’s the idea of Stopping. Stopping from trying to be the best mom, wife, friend, listener, athlete, teacher—you fill in the blank. It’s finding the freedom in knowing and embracing that there will always be someone better than you at something—so stop competing! With this time of quarantine, it’s freeing to remember that I don’t have to be the best mom, creating special memories every day. My kids can learn to entertain themselves and be creative with empty time, which is one of the best skills I can give them. I don’t have to be the most amazing online teacher—I can do what I know and maybe learn something new—I will do my best. I don’t have to start that 30-day workout and diet program unless I want to. I can take myself out of the running.
The Unknown: When can I hang out with my family and friends again?
The Truth: Technology is a gift from God. Like any gift, it can be used excessively, or in the wrong way. It is a great way to stay in touch with friends during this time.
My Action: Setting a timer. While the world seemingly shuts down—one way we are all communicating is on social media. However, I find that I have been so busy watching and listening to what everyone says on social media that I haven’t had time to process what I think. I have to be very careful about my social media intake. If not, it often leads to me wasting a lot of time, a rise in my anxiety, information overload, and deep-seated comparison. As a result, I find that it works to set a timer. I allow myself to see what my friends are doing, or catch up on news for a certain amount of time, but when the timer goes off, I am done. This helps me to find a balance.
The Unknown: What does God have for me and my family in this?
The Truth: I don’t know yet.
My Action: Worship and prayer. I will choose to read Scripture to our kids. Last night we read Psalm 91 and talked about how God is our Protector. Whether that means we get the virus or we don’t isn’t the point. The point is that God protects us, goes before us, and is behind us. We will focus on His unchanging character during this time. I will carve out time to talk to Him. It may be in my journal, or on a walk. Over time, I trust that He will show me how He is using all of this in my life and in my family.
Just like you, I struggle to process and digest all that is happening around us. But I believe that in the midst of all of this crazy—we can find calm. It’s all about perspective. And it’s not an easy place to land; it’s a moment by moment choice to see it this way. He’s got the whole world in His hands.
Keep up to date with all the content we have related to coronavirus here!
For more encouragement during uncertain times and related content, start here:
Battered Faith: Holding on to Hope Even When You Struggle
A Psychologist Shares How to Talk to Children About Coronavirus
This Is My New Exercise Regimen (for My Faith)
3 Things to Hold on to When You are Barely Holding On
Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Causing You Anxiety? Read This
An Adventure in First Time Homeschooling (We Miss You Teachers)
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