Finding Peace & Practicing Patience in an Unpredictable COVID-19 Outbreak

God’s Word reminds us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12 [ESV]). How do we balance feeling overwhelmed, yet cautiously hopeful while staying focused on our activities of daily living? The priceless yet achievable answer is by recognizing that we can only live this life one day at a day by taking one step at a time and realizing we cannot control every challenge we face. During this modern time of unprecedented human disease, disability and death, health researchers are uncovering the unforeseen wounds COVID-19 inflicts upon our mental health. Some people are experiencing emotional and spiritual anguish while others are finding it hard to make life decisions or having challenges doing what used-to-be everyday chores and tasks. During this time of unforeseen change and chaos, bouts of worry and anxiety are pretty normal. Remember, living through this COVID-19 pandemic or its infection can be overwhelming; for most of us these “anxiety” bouts are viewed as temporary, non-consuming situations with unpredictable endpoints. While this infectious outbreak is atypical, our bodies’ protective mechanisms like fight, flight or freeze will engage to help us maintain our mental and emotional health.

If you are feeling a little bit struck, unable to harness the strength to decide what to wear or what’s next? Just hold on, take a deep breath! Perhaps it’s time to reach out to someone and talk about those lingering thoughts, doubts and feelings. That person might be a trusted friend, a loved one, your Pastor, an Elder, a Stephen Minister, someone on the Comfort or Prayer Team, the Faith Community Nurse or your neighbor. Whatever your choice, don’t remain alone or isolated in your feelings, consider reaching out to someone! God calls His elect to help bear each other’s burdens.

According to experts with Mental Health of America (MHA), we need to find ways to reduce our stress, anxiousness and worries. Talking to God using heartfelt prayers, praise and worship keeps us focused on our Redeemer. God desires us to showcase our faith using godly actions! You can do this, you can make a difference in your life, start by telling yourself “I need help bearing this doubt, anxiety, fear.” (https://screening.mhanational.org/content/i-feel-anxious-about-coronavirus)

Strategies to “strengthen” your mental health and promote patience and hope! Begin your day with something heart-warming, encouraging or uplifting! Learn the difference between non-consuming bouts of anticipated anxiety and fears versus pervasive, all-consuming disruptive types of anxiety disorders. Validate your feelings and symptoms! Assess your lifestyle habits, are they healthy?  Focus on what you can control and perhaps consider making changes. Push back negativity! Limit viewing graphic or disturbing news, videos or e-messages. Educate yourself on the “real” facts to ease your anxiety and concerns. Look at resources addressing Coronavirus-related anxiety like https://idontmind.com/journal/how-to-fight-back-when-your-anxiety-attacks. Determine if you have pre-existing medical conditions that place you at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. Make an appointment with your health care provider to talk about your anxiety and fears. Take the Mental Health Screening test @ https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools?ref=MHAAZ

Talk about how you are feelings! It might feel a little scary or vulnerable, but remember, you can do this! Share what makes you feel comfortable with a trusted, reliable person. Text MHA to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor at Crisis Text Line to talk about life issues during this unusual time.

Need Immediate Help: If you or someone you know are currently experiencing a crisis or thinking about taking his/her life, please contact:
  • Call 9-1-1 for your local emergency medical services.
  • Reach out to someone who can help de-escalate the situation by contacting one of the listed Crisis-Suicide Prevention Hot/Helplines:
    • EMPACT 24-hour Crisis Hotline (480) 784-1500 or toll-free:
    • EMPACT 24-hour Crisis Hotline (855) 785-1500.
    • For Military and Veterans, Rally Point 24-hour Hotline (Veterans and Military) (855) 725-5948. 
PRAYER: Dear Father God, during this time of unthinkable emotional and mental health burdens, help us. I ask for shelter and peace for those in painful places or plagued by worrisome thoughts and ungodly plans scripted by the enemy of this world. Give us your strength, insight, protection, motivation and hope for healing. Bless this and every day thereafter in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.