Do Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures?
Marti Wibbels, MS, LMHC
Being quarantined drives many to a sense of desperation or fear. Instead, let’s consider the global pandemic with new perspective. If we allow COVID-19 to minimize our lives, it will. But we don’t need to give it that kind of power. We can discover new ways to live full and meaningful lives, even with the constraints of COVID-19, when we choose to:
BE still, relaxing in God’s perfect care. In Psalm 46:10, God says Be still and know I am God, which in Hebrew means, “stop striving.” The stress we allow in our minds and bodies when we’re anxious about anything (even a pandemic) actually causes us to be more likely to get sick. Dr. John Gottman explains what happens: “Simultaneously digestion shuts down because blood flow to the gut and kidneys slow down; hearing is impaired. The heart rate increases, adrenaline and blood pressure rise.” That process is referred to as Diffuse Physiological Arousal, or DPA. Gottman says, “DPA allows us to hear and see danger and nothing else.”
BE confident, knowing God is good. Spend time throughout each day, not only reading His Word but meditating on it, allowing yourself to realize you’re completely safe in His perfect care. In Hebrews 13:5-6, God assures us, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’
BE intentional. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:2-3, MSG).
BE creative, cooking, singing, making music, reading, enjoying nature, taking walks, completing an online course, etc. Notice friends and neighbors, such as single parents struggling to find childcare so they can keep going to work or the elderly who aren’t venturing out to get groceries or needed supplies, and offer your help whenever you safely can.
BE connected. Instead of social distancing, we can practice physical distancing, maintaining recommended interpersonal space while staying in touch with others through texts, phone calls, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. Grandparents can read stories to grandchildren via FaceTime or Zoom. In some neighborhoods, people are actually building new relationships and social strength, from a safe distance seated in lawn chairs in front of their homes to playing music from apartment balconies. One group of students recorded their individual voices on YouTube to beautifully perform a school concert in a new format
BE growing. Whether listening to podcasts or meeting with your church online, allow your mind and soul to be nourished by God’s Word. Like wilting plants need water, we consistently need the water of God’s Word. He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water (John 7:38, AMP).