The Floor of the Valley- Part 2
Assuming you have addressed these two pre-requisites, take a look at just a few suggestions for moving through the threat of COVID 19.
Super Fear #1 - Breathing For the threat of breathing in spite of the negativity swirling through media of all types, learn what your triggers are and make those your prayer to God. Jesus’ words in John 10:10 state, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
When Jesus said he offered life to the full, what does that mean to you? This is where our idols are exposed. All of us have them. It is simply an exercise to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal yours. Many people see life to the fullest as having a good-paying job, health insurance or enough money to retire comfortably. Others might be good health, lots of friends, a tight-knit family, or fun times. All of these answers point to idols if your well-being is threatened when it is removed. What is causing you to worry? It is natural to worry when our income or health is threatened. But the moment you begin believing that you are responsible for your provision is the moment the enemy has a foothold in your life. God promised that He is our provider and that He is in control even during our trials. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4. Once you’ve identified what triggers your fear or anxiety, make an effort to fully understand the verse above and allow God to walk you through this valley. Read Psalm 23 and recognize that there are indeed valleys but that we aren’t to remain in them. We walk through them. There is something on the other side. In addition, we aren’t alone in the valley. God is there with us. Let Him bring you comfort as He walks you through this time. Turn your fears over to Him. This too shall pass.
Here are a few additional suggestions for addressing the fear that feels suffocating.
Disconnect from news feeds via television or social media that are focused on the fear. Check-in for a balanced status update and then be disciplined to disconnect. Then, plug into a more positive activity.
A list of scriptures is at the end of this article. Focus on one scripture each day. Memorize it, say it aloud and post them where you are reminded often that God is bigger than your fear or anxiety.
When anxiety attacks, take out a piece of paper and begin writing the thoughts that come to mind. Don’t judge those thoughts, just write them. When you’ve finished, begin talking to God about anything that you wrote. Ask God for a name for those thoughts and turn them into specific fears rather than general worries.
When your fears have a name, work with God to devise a plan to tackle each fear. Ask God to identify who can assist you with those fears. Write down all options to tackle each fear. Consider the pros and cons of each option. Then begin eliminating options until you settle on one plan.
Address the fear and then assess it. Repeat if necessary.
Find resources to fill gaps that you have. There are Facebook pages where the community is helping each other. Needs can be posted and those who can assist can reply.
Super Fear #2 – Basic Provisions The real threat aside from the virus itself is a loss of wages. This leads to the fear of not having adequate food supplies. It can seem too simplistic to say that God is your provider when the cupboards and fridge are bare. Fear and anxiety, like all emotions, are messengers meant to move us to action. Consider the following three things to see how God might be speaking to you in times of anxiety.
Remove sin. If there is sin in your life, God may lift His hand from you in order to allow pain to bring awareness of sin that is separating you from a full relationship with the Father. If the Holy Spirit reveals areas of sin, repent.
Increase faith. If God is providing, but it is day to day, thank Him for the provision and allow Him to stretch your faith. We all prefer that God stock us up for months at a time. But He might find it necessary to allow you to lean on Him for your provision in order to grow your faith. When He does provide, allow Him to receive the credit. Maybe God is stretching you on behalf of others. Someone else may be watching who does not know the Lord. Your ability to be self-sufficient may not reach them for Christ. But singing the praises of how the Lord met your needs allows them to be introduced to your Father.
Turn a new direction. God can use any situation for good. A trial can lead to a change in careers, a new understanding of who is really in charge, learn a new skill or introduce you to new people.
Ask God to give you an insight into His plan for you during this time.
Super Fear #3 – Belonging Being alone or even cooped up with those in your household can be a frightening thing if you use connection to escape your internal voice. People often hotwire connection in order to avoid nagging thoughts, memories or fears. The problem is that they don’t go away. If this applies to you, use time alone to engage in a meaningful conversation between you and God. Work through painful things via activities like journaling, painting (finger painting is very therapeutic), reading a self-help book, etc.
We may need to engage in social distancing at a physical level, but don’t confuse that with emotional distancing. Stay engaged with others. Residents in Italy recognized this as they sang songs from their balconies in order to remain connected. God has hard-wired us to belong. This threat has created division physically which can be hard on anyone struggling with mental health symptoms. Even if we are advised to practice social distancing, that doesn’t mean we have to disconnect. In fact, we should connect even more during times of isolation. Find ways to connect with others.
Call a Friend – yep, the old-fashioned way of communicating
Google Hangouts, Facebook Portal, Skype or other online chat options
Write a letter
Use time together (family, roommates, etc.) to strengthen bonding
Stream a class (cooking, exercise, etc.)
Enjoy learning about our world (Creepy but cool buildings, birds, Wolf Conservation Center, San Diego Zoo)
Virtual play dates for kids
Other virtual activities Lunch Doodles, Georgia Aquarium, Virtual Museum Tours or other virtual field trips, more virtual field trips
Get creative with playing with kids 2 Weeks of Science, Activities
Scriptures on Fear
Isaiah 41:10 Psalm 56:3 John 14:27 2 Timothy 1:7 1 John 4:18 Isaiah 43:1 Psalm 23:4 Joshua 1:9 Isaiah 35:4 Psalm 27:1 Mark 6:50 Deuteronomy 31:6 Isaiah 41:13-14 Psalm 118:6-7 Proverbs 29:25 Psalm 34:7 1 Peter 3:14 Psalm 34:4 Deuteronomy 3:22 Revelation 1:17 Mark 5:36 Romans 8:38-39 Psalm 91:1-16 Luke 12:32
Scriptures on Anxiety
Jeremiah 17:8Isaiah 35:4Matthew 6:25-34 (mentioned 6 times) Luke 10:41I Corinthians 7:32-34 (mentioned 4 times)Philippians 4:6-7 Psalm 94:19 Proverbs 12:25 1 Peter 5:6-7 Luke12:22-27 (mentioned 3 times) Psalm 55:22 Psalm 46:1 Mark 4:39-40 Zephaniah 3:17 Psalm 34:18-19 Psalm 43:5 Psalm 40:1-3 Psalm 46:10