We’ve entered an unprecedented time of uncertainty in our country. The response to the coronavirus in the United States and around the world is rapidly evolving. Many of us have been affected, both personally and professionally. At work, we may be adjusting to new routines and requirements like working remotely. At home, we may be managing children who are home due to school closures. All the while, we grow concerned for ourselves and the health and well-being of our loved ones. When events threaten to disrupt our work, home, and everyday life, how do we navigate them? How should we as Christian women respond to this pandemic? Here are 6 steps we can take to approach the days ahead:
1. Trust in God
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.— Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
As we read the headlines and hear the reports, we need to remember God’s repeated message throughout the Bible when he encourages us to “fear not” (Isaiah 41:10). During this time, hold fast to God’s promises and remember that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Rest in God’s power and know that he is an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.— Psalm 50:15 (NAS)
God answers prayer. He gives us peace and strength in the midst of our trouble. In addition to praying for ourselves and our loved ones, pray that God will give our world leaders wisdom and discernment as they make decisions every day to help contain the virus. Pray for the medical professionals, scientists, and institutions who are testing for the virus, developing vaccines, and caring for the ill. Pray for the sick, the elderly, and the vulnerable.
3. Guard Your Mind
Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.— Proverbs 4:23 (CEV)
Whatever we focus on, we give life to. We need to balance the need to stay responsibly informed with filtering messages that cause worry and anxiety. Be proactive about filtering where you get information from. Block negative posts on social media. Only seek out information from sources that practice responsible reporting. Minimize time spent speculating about the what-ifs. God calls us to take every thought captive (1 Corinthians 10:5). Instead, fill your thoughts with God’s truth (Philippians 4:8).
4. Be Wise
I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.— Proverbs 4:11 (NIV)
Relying on God does not mean that we close our eyes to the realities around us. We must live by faith, but God also calls us to be wise. During these uncertain times, we need to pray for wisdom and discernment as well as take precautions to care for ourselves and our loved ones. Preparation is key.
In the Bible, we see examples of how God prepared His people in advance of difficult times. In Genesis 47:13-27, Joseph took steps to prepare for the famine. In Exodus 11 and 12, God told the Israelites to prepare so that the death angel would pass them by. In everything get wisdom (Proverbs 3:5). Stay informed. Wash your hands often, practice social distancing (at least 6 feet), and clean and disinfect hard surfaces that you use regularly. Go to the Center for Disease Control’s website to get more information on how to protect yourself.
5. Develop and Stick to a Healthy Routine
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.— 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
One of the most effective ways to manage stress (especially during what could be an extended period of time at home) is to create healthy habits and routines. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Take time to stretch and move throughout your day. YouTube has plenty of free workout videos you can work out to, or just turn up the music and have a personal dance party. Don’t resort to eating junk food out of boredom. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals and drink plenty of water. Healthy habits will give you the fuel, stamina, and clear mind needed to manage the days ahead.
6. Make the Most of Every Opportunity
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.— Colossians 4:5-6
The outbreak of the coronavirus presents Christians with a unique opportunity to encourage others. People are anxious and scared. Many are looking for guidance and are in need of hope. Even in a world of “social distancing,” we can serve others through peace, comfort, and kindness. Make it a point to connect with others. Send texts, make phone calls, or schedule virtual coffee dates by video conference. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. But, we should do this with gentleness and respect.
Hold fast to your faith. Keep God at the forefront and let His peace fill your heart and mind. Be well and stay safe!
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