We are living during an unusual and unprecedented time. Terms like flatten the curve and social distancing are now a part of our vocabulary. Our behaviors have changed from wearing masks and gloves to wiping down our groceries and not eating in sit-down restaurants. Schools have closed as are non-essential businesses.
These drastic changes to our lives are being driven by a novel virus called COVID-19, which has created havoc across the world. I have been watching the news about this since January this year. At that time, I never thought it would come to our part of the world. When the first cases appeared in the U.S., even then, I hoped we would not be affected too soon. One flight from Italy to Tampa changed the probability for our area. As of this writing, there are just under 900 cases in our county, with 18 souls passing away.
As our family does all it can to self-isolate, social distance, and use grocery delivery, one question comes to mind, “Will my son, my husband, or I get this virus?” Letting that question run amuck in your mind leads to others like, “What will happen to my family if I’m not here?” Then you send a birthday gift and wonder if this is the last kind act you’ll do.
Well, at least these thoughts have gone through my mind. How about you? What should we do with these musings considering the times we are facing? Here are four things I’m doing to help me KEEP CALM.
- Reading Verses
- Pray & Trust
- Day by Day Grace
1. Reading Verses
There are several verses to help calm my heart. Here are a few I hope will encourage you as well.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. Exodus 14:14 NIV
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NIV
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. Psalm 118:6A
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12 NIV
But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV
…like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 1 Peter 3:6 NIV
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Which of these verses calm your heart? Write it down, post it on your mirror, and share it on social media. Also, comment on your favorite below and share why it comforts you.
2. Praying Trusting vs. Praying Fearfully
Have you ever noticed the tone of your prayers? My respirations increase, and I realize I’m praying in fear of what will happen. My thoughts run amuck before I remember Who it is that I am addressing. The God of the Universe who loves you and me desperately. Who longs to hear from us and desires to answer our prayers. He is the One who made the oceans, the sky, and everything in it.
I’ll catch myself mid-prayer and pause. I pivot from a fear-based prayer to one of trust, remembering that nothing is impossible with God. My answered prayer is not based on my demands or my ability to control the situation, but on the God who foresees things I cannot. I must simply trust.
When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I am thankful for answered prayer. For life and health. For the ability to lay my cares at God’s feet and rest knowing He’s got this. This kind of faith, this kind of trust, is not based on circumstances, but on the who loves us best, is pleasing to God.
I don’t drum up this faith and trust in my own strength; it is the gift of God.
3. Day by Day Grace
A new day dawns. The trust I held onto yesterday needs to be grasped again today. A new worry or fear crops up in my mind again, threatening to take my peace and my joy. Then I remember a verse I have repeated many times.
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5b
When I first became a Christian, I repeated this often. Sometimes, three times or more at one time. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough for God to love me.” Or, “God won’t accept me because of my sin.” Both of these lies needed to be abolished by renewing my mind with God’s word and truth.
Though I don’t have these thoughts buffeting me now, a sinister replacement is worry. This is another mental monster that needs to be grappled with. Praying “I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” and following the directive to “cast my cares on Him” brings peace and calm to my heart. Some days the battle is won, other days, not so much. Because I am still human, and yet, I know God sees my struggle and comes alongside me.
May this verse bring you comfort: So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 NASB
Not that I have conquered worry. It is a daily work in progress, as am I. How do you battle fear? Have you found ways to calm your heart and solder on daily?
I once knew someone who would sing all the time. In the car, in the elevator, humming at work… simply everywhere. It helped that she could sing well. Me, well, I can’t hold a tune. My voice is what could be described as a joyful noise. I attempt to sing mostly during church. Since our church is virtual due to the safer at home ordinance in my county, I find myself silent.
Then something curious happened one morning while Samuel was eating breakfast. I turned on a playlist on YouTube and heard a song I’d never heard before. It lasted 10 minutes. I replayed it three times. This worship song simply lifted my soul and my spirits. Amazingly, while I listened, I did not worry. Two competing thoughts can not occupy your mind at the same time. Worship or Worry? Which one prevails? While listening to the song, worship prevailed. It had a lasting effect on my day as the lyrics came to mind several times throughout the day.
Playlist Song: https://youtu.be/cb1k3DxnpVQ
While I’m not musically inclined, this experience gave me an appreciation for the power of worship. As we continue living during these surreal times, I plan to add worship to my coping toolbox.
Do you have a worship playlist you enjoy? Does it help you banish your worry and place your trust in the God who loves you? Share your favorite song below to encourage another reader.
P.S. Do you have a relationship with God? Pray and ask Him to draw you to Himself. If you need a bible, private message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.