In These Times of Great Anxiety

Credit: Artist-David Bowman

At the beginning of March, I read an article about people hoarding toilet paper and paper towels due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus had not reached The States quite yet. I decided to prepare for it during my scheduled monthly trip to Costco.


I arrived at Costco at their opening time and the line wrapped around the building. The entrance of the store wasn’t chaotic, just crowded. However, inside the store, the atmosphere was different. You could feel a level of desperation in the store. People were grabbing things, but not in the Black Friday sense, just 3-4 times what they would usually get. I asked a person why they needed so much toilet paper and paper towels. The person replied, “if we get quarantined for months, I would need this much, and these were the items China ran out of first when they needed to stay inside their homes.”


I began to catch the “fever” of shopping hoarding. I grabbed as many cases of toilet paper and paper towels that I could fit in my cart. As much as I justified the need to buy, this convicting feeling came over me that this didn’t seem right to do.


I took a pause and began to rationalize the situation. We will still have water and electricity. One case of toilet paper and paper towels lasts my small family for many months. Safety and food are much more important than hoarding shopping. I took a few deep breaths and decided to buy one case of toilet paper and paper towels, bleach and other cleaning products for my family and some non-perishable foods.


In the next two weeks, our national government leaders claimed everything was under control but quickly changed their claim to this will be horrendous. The panic in our country began to grow, and more cases of the virus became evident. In the middle of this, my daughter got lice and then lovingly (through all the hugs and cuddles) gave them to me. I focused more on destroying the lice and doing 35 loads of laundry in one week than focusing all my worries on the pandemic.


Thank God, the lice are gone, and the washer and dryer took a day off. My family has been home this last week. Then the underlying anxiety in me rose to the surface at midnight. I truly began to panic. Every tickle in my throat or sniffle I felt began to worry me. My husband coughed, and I would think, “Oh, sh*t!” I thought about the “Downton Abbey” episode, where many characters caught the Spanish Flu and suffered or died. My mind did somersaults imagining the worst-case scenarios.


Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and poor eating habits contribute to low immunity and sickness. An event like this has not affected the world in a long time. There have been pandemics, but not in this day and age. We are all navigating this for the first time together. As much as I want to get mad and criticize our country for not being prepared for this, it won’t do any good. I could not imagine the responsibility that the medical field, the government (state, local, federal), the public school system, and first responders (and countless other entities) have in this situation. The best thing I can do is cooperate, stay home, wash my hands, and pray.


This image included in this post of Jesus holding a child always brings me great comfort. When I get anxious, I have to surrender to God, trust, and allow Him to be in control. While I know the health and financial crisis this pandemic has brought will affect us all, it will be temporary. I am not in any way diminishing the long term effects of it, but we will get through this in some way.

Stay safe, friends. Take this opportunity to do things that bring joy to your life every day. Reconnect safely with family and friends. And if you are having difficulty managing all of these feelings of despair, please reach out because someone would be glad to help.

Lesson Learned: Anxiety does not help me in situations like these. Gaining perspective is better. And, I don’t like creamed corn from a can unless it is very sweet.


Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I command this virus to cease spreading and be eradicated in the name of Jesus. Heal and restore everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially the victims’ families and the hardest-hit industries. I pray countries that have been devastated by this virus to be re-built. Protect those with low immunity. May family units become strong again. Give our government leadership and direction, which will be in the best interest of the citizens. I rebuke the idea for people to take advantage of the helpless in this time and bring to light anyone who does this. Let love, grace, and mercy rule as we re-build and restore our lives. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

No Record of Wrongs

“It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.”  1 Corinthians 13:5

 

Jesus came to the Earth to die for our sins.  His ministry was of reconciliation. Once the sin was confessed, it was forgiven, and healing would take place.  However, we get in the way of that. We say we forgive but we hardly forget.

 

A couple of weeks ago, professional golfer, Tiger Woods played in The Masters golf tournament. He won the tournament and it was hailed as his comeback.  He was back on top. The crowds at the tournament and the media were in adoration. A few years ago, the adoration was not there for Tiger, just hate and ridicule.  And I was a part of that.

 

When I was in college, Tiger Woods turned pro.  I was so excited because he was multiracial, like me and he just seemed like one in a million. Tiger Woods did exceptionally well. He grew more famous, wealthy, and popular.  Everything seemed like it was going for him. Then things began to crumble.

 

Tiger had a few rough years, where he sustained a lot of injuries and required many surgeries.  His personal life became front news because of his extra marital affairs and prescription drug abuse.  Tiger seemed to have everything and not appreciate it. I didn’t want him to succeed anymore.  

 

As The Master tournament progressed, there was word that Tiger could win the whole thing.  Part of me, was rooting for him, but memories of his infidelity came up and the excitement wore off.  Tiger came up to the last hole of his round and he was a few strokes away from winning. God said, “Aren’t you glad I don’t throw all your forgiven sins in your face?” Oh the conviction.

 

After winning, he ran to his family and hugged his son so tight.  You could see the love he had for his son. I was genuinely happy for Tiger.  He looked so relieved and had much appreciation for this victory. We don’t know the authentic side of famous people.  They are people with feelings and regrets. Tiger probably made his peace and asked for forgiveness from those who he hurt.  

 

When we hurt someone, we would not want them to keep record of our wrongs. And when it happens to us, it is important for us to not do that either.  Our health depends on learning and practicing true forgiveness.

 

Everyone loves a good comeback.  But sadly, these same people love to harass and bully relentlessly of someone who did something bad.  Unforgiveness, is detrimental to one’s health. It may be safer sometimes to not have certain people in our lives.  But forgiveness is still necessary. In the wise words of Jay Shetty, “Sometimes you just have to be done. Not mad, not upset.  Just done.”

 

If you need to make a comeback, forgiveness is a good place to start.  If someone has righted their wrongs, allow yourself to forgive them and not remember their wrongs.

 

Lesson Learned: Jesus died for our sins, so we don’t have to remain in bondage to sin or to stay in unforgiveness.  Forgiveness is necessary.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, reveal to me people who I need to forgive.  Help me let go of the pain. Renew my mind, so that my thoughts are honorable.  Heal my anxieties and fear towards people. For every tear that was shed, thank you for redeeming me from the pain.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

When People Disappoint

“He heals the broken in heart and binds their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

My child has just started 4th grade.  She loves her teacher and seems to desire to do well in school.  Unfortunately, she is having trouble socially.  She has been coming home sad that she lost a friendship.  It is hard to watch.

As a parent, all I want to do is fix the problem for her.  I want to make the hurting she is feeling, to stop.  Yet, deep down I know, this something we all go through in our lives.  These situations build character.

I may be hurt by this more than she. It stirs up a lot of old wounds where I was rejected by friends growing up.  I have done everything within my parental power to try to fix this situation, but nothing has helped.  

Then I came across this photo on Facebook and it came at the right time.  This photo is a great lesson for letting go.

 

        

There are seasons in life, where we  just have to let people or things go.  This can be friendships, relationships with family, a spouse or a significant other, commitments at work or school.  My daughter may have to let this relationship go.  I have to let go of trying to control that I think I have and let my daughter experience life as it is, hurtful and messy.   So, the only option maybe to walk away when we have tried our best to save it.  As difficult as it maybe, life isn’t fair.

We learn we have to cleave to God, when people disappoint us.  Otherwise, our situations or circumstances will continue to drag us down.  We pray for healing of our wounds and restoration in our life.  God never wastes any pain we experience.  God has something or someone better for us in the future.  

America has been going through some tough times.  This country is divided politically on many issues.  Both sides are relentless in their pursuit of trying to prove each other wrong.  It has been bad for the last couple of years and even uglier in the past month.  People are disappointing one another in record levels.  

Recently, North America (as well as other places in the world) have been encountering many natural disasters: hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and major earthquakes.  In the wake of these natural disasters, we have been seeing strangers being kind to one another and people helping out in anyway they can.  They are giving food, water and shelter to those in need.  Many are putting their lives in danger to rescue others.  The human spirit is alive again.  

Seeing this example of love gives me hope that love truly conquers all.  We can still love someone or something after you have let them go.   And letting go of that someone or something, shows you love yourself.  Let’s learn to love ourselves enough to not be hurt or disappointed, is one of the greatest gifts.

Lesson Learned:  When people disappoint, let go and let God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for putting my hope in people or circumstances.  Help me to forgive those who have treated me or my family bad.  Let anger, turn to love.  Show me compassion for myself to let go and move on.  Give me discernment when to let things go and when to fight for them.  Help me to remember the season of letting go is short and that you will bring forth a beautiful Spring.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”