We are living at a time in history that will not soon be forgotten. 2020 has been a year that has been fraught with one stressful thing after another in quick succession that has deeply affected our lives. For many people, it has resulted in anxiety and depression, which can then morph into mental issues and many kinds of physical issues.
First we had the plague (pandemic) that hit the world. That resulted in a hard shut down of our lives. Life as we had known it pretty much came to a screeching halt. Many people were frightened and for weeks did not even get out of their homes – if they did it was with a mask and maybe gloves and they would just run into a store to quickly pick up necessities and get back home as soon as possible. They would feverishly wash their hands, their clothes and try to sanitize anything and everything they brought into their home. While we were all trying to deal with these issues, there were those that we put our trust in, that would flip-flop on the advice they gave and totally change positions – sometimes so fast our heads would spin. We did not know who or what to believe. This certainly did not help the anxiety levels.
During most all of this we continued to see the infighting between our politicians – all of them trying to make points with their constituents, sometimes leaving those constituents between a rock and a hard place trying to survive. Businesses were forced to close (some never to return), people lost their jobs, concerns skyrocketed about how they were simply supposed to survive. More anxiety.
We saw an incident when some police officers made horrible decisions that resulted in the death of a man. As a result we saw violence break out across the nation, with opportunists milking a tragic situation to promote their organization. An organization that does not truly stand for what is reflected in their name – but instead for anti-democracy beliefs. Important people, business leaders, entertainment big dogs, tech moguls all jumped on board. I believe some of those people knew exactly what they were supporting with their words and their big money – but I also believe that many people had absolutely no idea what the organization stands for and promotes. Anxiety.
Some of the effects of all these waves of tragedy have lessened and consequently some people are almost back to normal. But there are still those that are fearful and close themselves off from friends, family and social activities. All of this is an invitation to loneliness – something that most humans do not handle well. I am not trying to shame or judge anyone, because everyone has to make decisions for themselves about their comfort level in these kinds of situations; but, do keep in mind that fear is always one of the strongest ways used to control people.
Now we are facing the uncertainty of our national leadership with the unresolved Presidential election. Many millions of people voted for their preferred candidate, both thinking they should win the contest and everything remains up in the air, for who knows how long? More frustration, anger, stress, anxiety…will it never end?
So what is a person to do when they are facing so many serious issues like these? How are you supposed to stay calm and feel confident that everything is going to be okay? How do you normalize your life? How do you find that elusive peace?
I am going to be honest – I just really did not get into a panic about any of this. For many weeks I tried to do what they asked of us at the beginning of the plague – stayed home all the time except when I needed to run to the store and then I would wear the required mask. I just determined that I was not going to become fearful and I was not going to allow it to rob me of my peace. There were a couple of days when I did become a bit anxious about some news I had heard about some potential violence, so I just took some extra safety precautions then moved on. That calm and peace still reigns in my life today amid all that is going on.
I believe that when turmoil swirls around us, we have a choice to make. We can allow it to swallow us up with all the negative things that come along with it – or, we can determine that we are going to let God handle things and live in peace. God is always in control, but we can mess our lives up by trying to take the initiative and go our own way. When we move out from under His protection then we open ourselves up for negative things to happen. We need to read His word, pray regularly and believe what His Word tells us. Is it always easy to do? No. But, remember, practice makes perfect, regardless of whether you are leaving the control with Him where it should be, or if you are taking it away and pulling it back to yourself where the possibility of failure increases.
It seems there are still so many people that are letting the things going on in our world affect them in negative ways. So I want to share some Good News with you and I pray that if you are still feeling anxiety and/or fear in your life, that you will take these words to heart and find the peace that is just waiting for you to seize it.
Psalm 94:19 TBL “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”
Proverbs 12:25 TBL “Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!”
1 Peter 5:7 TLB “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Psalm 34:4 MSG “God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
John 14:27 GNT “‘Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.’”
Written by Karran Martin – November 11, 2020