As our social distancing and self quarantining continues fear continues to be prevalent among us. It’s a scary time right now. Our routines have been dismantled. Anxiousness fills our minds. Fear about our loved ones and day to day lives moving forward stays on the forefront of our brains.
So how do we focus on hope when fear abounds in our daily life? It’s important to note that we are not the first ones to have a life changed and occupied by fear. There have many historical events that changed peoples lives. They have all brought an opportunity to identify what really matters to people.
Often in times of great struggle or uncertainty people turn to find God. This is because our relationship with God is more important then we usually tend to acknowledge. Our daily lives get overrun with responsibilities and obligations. In this time we each have this opportunity to seek God in the midst of chaos.
So what do we do with this fear? How do we seek God during this time? How do we deeply connect with the divine? Let’s explore further.
Acknowledge Your Stress, Worry, and Fear
This chaotic time is something we have not known. But most likely you are feeling some level of stress, worry, or fear. Often we may not even recognize our stress. Other times we run from it and eventually get to the point where it is too much. Stress can come out in many ways.
Here are some things to look for:
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Change in eating and sleep patterns
- Constant fear and worry (checking phone for new updates constantly)
- Increase use of alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Health problems worsen or unexplained headaches, etc.
- Irritability, anger, short tempered
Know you do not have to bear these emotions or the emotions of your household alone. Take this opportunity to sit with your feelings and start on a path of resilience. Be vulnerable and acknowledge your feelings. This will not only help provide some relief for you but give others opportunities to support you as well as share their own. Being real with ourselves in these moments puts us on the journey to figuring out how to manage them. With any loss of life there is a natural grieving process we go through. This in particular is challenging because we are a part from the people we connect with on a daily basis.
Its important you take care of yourself during this time. There are many ways to do this. It's important you connect with others through text, phone, or video interface, exercise and take care of your body, and talk with others about the facts. Faith can also be a major resiliency factor in these times. Faith provides hope in times of uncertainty and calms our fears. There are some ideas of how you can find your faith during this time below.
NAMI provides some wonderful ideas of taking care of your mental health in this article "Mental Health Coping Strategies." You can also check out the CDC's recommendations for "Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event." Hang in there we are all in this together.
Remember fear only has a hold on us if we allow it to. Lets end this section with a famous quote from a Kansan.
“I am not afraid of tomorrow,
for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
- William Allen White
Avenues for Faith
People are using unique ways to connect their faith groups. I have seen virtual worship's, a car drive up worship, family church time, or even neighborhood get togethers (with distance). Now is exactly the time to try something different! Some people are anxious and stressed and need the comfort of knowing God is in their lives.
Online Worship - There are various churches providing online worships through interfaces like zoom, skype, Facebook Live, or live streaming services. I encourage you to check out these options. This last week Midlands Mission Center hosted a Thursday night connection group via zoom to worship and dialogue together. If you are interested in joining next week go to our contact us page and submit a request and I will get the information to you. You can also check out Community of Christ Online Ministries for more options.
Spiritual Practices - I have heard many people say this last week has really helped them draw away to spend time with God. Finding a spiritual practice that works for you is essential. Spiritual practices are acts that help us connect with the divine in a deeper way. Check out our past blog posts on spiritual practices for more insight. Practicing kindness, prayer, exercise, meditation, silence, music, knitting, scripture study, etc. can all be forms of spiritual practices. Find one that works for you and do it.
Out of the Box Ideas - Be creative in expressing your faith. People are sewing face masks for hospital staff. Others are creating scavenger hunts in neighborhoods and cities you can do in your car. Some are asking elderly neighbors to get groceries for them to ensure the most vulnerable are isolated and safe. Faith in action is using love to think of others. Use your creativity!
Connecting to God
Connecting to God is about searching your heart and seeking something greater than yourself. Holding the understanding the gospel is not about me. When we move out of the way and focus on God and others we see with different eyes. I encourage you find a quiet place, close your eyes, and search your heart and mind for God in this moment. God's spirit is all around us and through us. God is in our suffering in these dark hours. God's spirit breathes in you! Allow love to come forth and there you will find God. There you will find hope amidst the fear.
This is a challenging time. I pray we will be led by our faith and that fear will be wiped away with hope. May you all stay healthy and well.
Find time to connect with God this week in whatever form you see fit.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.