No doubt, these are challenging times full of uncertainty and anxiety. As the days have stretched into weeks and the weeks to months, it is important that we use both our heads and hearts. Healthy faith always includes both reason and faith.
So here are some tools and tips for us:
1. Carve out 5-10 minutes to pray. Start now knowing that you are joining others around the world who walk the same path. You are not alone. You can do it the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning or you can do it at a set time each day, or as you retire at night.
2. Stand with those most vulnerable. Check-in on folks. Consider how you might serve others in their time of need.
3. Unplug, judiciously. While staying aware of developments, do not let chaos govern you. Instead, ground yourself in God in the present moment. Remember to feed your faith, not your fear.
4. Acknowledge your anxieties and concerns. Talk to God about them. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Feel what you feel, and know that it is not the final word.
5. Remember you are not alone. Ever. You are surrounded by care and support, and the unending love of God. God is with us, for us, in us, about us. It is in Him that we live and move and have our very being.
6. Create and sustain an online and virtual community. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Even while avoiding close physical contact, you can reach out to others. Do this through your existing connections–Bible study group, committees, and social platforms. Our student and children’s ministries are finding creative ways to connect.
We can find strength and solace in Scripture and prayer and in our online worship services at our church website. We might even rediscover the telephone. I encourage you to check-in with one another.
7. Stay healthy through sleep, good eating, and exercise (walks are wonderful as long as you maintain a six-foot distance).
8. Practice gratitude. In the face of crises, make note of the things for which you are grateful. Create a gratitude journal.
9. Practice hope. Put your trust in the God who has created us and sustains us, especially in the midst of trial.
10. Create/Set aside times of silence and solitude. Blaise Pascal, French philosopher, and mystic is supposed to have said that our unhappiness springs from one thing alone: our incapacity to sit quietly. Make time for silence and God will meet you there. That is my prayer for you.
May God’s grace be evident to you this day and every day in all that you see, feel and do. Stay safe; stay well, and stay connected to one another in ways that you are able!
What practices are you finding helpful? What are you learning?