10 things to remember during the corona virus pandemic

Corona remember

How are we doing today with all the latest news of the pandemic? I was thinking today
about some encouraging things to remember as we navigate this “new normal” and
came up with the following list:

Decide who and/or what is steering you. Yesterday, my teen daughters and I went for a bike ride. As we started on mile nine on a gravel road, my youngest hit a bump and her handlebars were knocked loose. Now, instead of being able to rely on her handlebars to steer her where she wanted to go, they went one way and her front tire went the other.

Who is steering you? Where is your focus?

The second we take our eyes off our Savior, we’re prone to succumb to fear, anxiety, worry, and depression over the current situation. If our focus is on the worldly events, suddenly things seem impossible to overcome. Instead, let’s fix our eyes on the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let Jesus steer your life. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5).

Hebrews 13 5

Persevere. There is a certain challenging part of our bike ride course that I especially love. Our family has nicknamed it “Hairpin Curve.” It’s a sharp curve, then a downhill sprint, followed by a steep uphill climb. My goal is to make it to the top of this steep hill while still in the saddle. Nine times out of ten, I achieve that goal. Heart pounding, quads burning, I keep my focus on what lies in front of me at the top of that hill (a quick break before I decide to tackle the whole thing again!) If I give up, my wheels will spin on the loose gravel, rendering me helpless to push through to the top without climbing off my bike.

Even though things can seemingly become bleak with the Covid-19 lurking around every corner, we must persevere through this pandemic. We can’t give up.

Reach out. This is a difficult time for many. (For those of us extroverts the struggle is real!) Silliness aside, don’t ever assume someone is fine. People who live alone are struggling with loneliness. Moms are trying to figure out how to keep their children entertained while being “cooped up.” (Join me in the near future for my blog post about 55 activities to keep kids entertained during the pandemic). Some people are struggling with keeping their jobs and paying the bills. Still others are facing serious health issues such as cancer. Reach out and check on family, friends, the people you know from church, work, and social media. Let them know you care.

Improvise. I remember watching as my brother devised a way to do his chore of hauling fireplace logs on his three-wheeled, low to the ground, pedal-powered motorcycle toy. He even figured out a way to do “spin outs” on our driveway (with impressive skid marks) without losing his load. Luke may not have especially enjoyed hauling in those logs by hand, but with his improvisation, suddenly it no longer felt like a chore.

While many things have changed due to the Corona virus, we can and need to improvise the best we can. Online church would not be the first choice for many, however, what an amazing way to use technology to continue to meet together and glean from our pastors the wisdom God calls them to impart. How phenomenal is it that we can sit in our living rooms and hear the word of God preached to us from anywhere in the world?

Have gratitude. We can certainly find a million and five things to complain about in times like these. Instead, let’s focus on being grateful. Can you breathe? Do you have someone who cares about you? Do you have a loving spouse? Great kids? Do you have food? Clean water to drink? Are you healthy? Can your eyes behold the beauty of the blooming trees or the falling snow? Do you have a voice that can encourage others? Make a list of all the things, from “small” to big for which you are grateful. It won’t take long to see that the thankfulness outweighs the complaints.

Melody Beattie

Intercede for others. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to intercede for others! What an amazing way to lift up the prayer requests of others to our Lord. Of course praying for our loved ones and friends is important. But how about even praying for random people? (Any neighborhood prayer walkers among us?)

Keep your mind and body active. It’s easy to sit around all day and lament the happenings of the world around us. Instead, let’s keep our mind and body active. Put together a puzzle, play board games, do crossword puzzles, even coloring has made a comeback in recent years.

In addition, focus on getting at least a half hour of physical exercise every day (please check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program). Even walking around your house or up and down the stairs counts.

Set goals and plans for each day. Keep a list of your goals for each day and cross them off as you tackle them.

Find the funny.  Reminisce with your family or friends (this can be done in person if you live with your family, via Skype, phone calls, instant messaging, or texts) of all the funny times you remember. Watch a humorous movie or play a silly board game.

Focus on the good. Check out the headlines right now. More people are infected with the virus, there are political wars over a stimulus package, and the list goes on and on. Instead of focusing on (and even reading!) the negative, let’s focus on the good. My friend, an accomplished seamstress, is sewing masks for high-risk individuals. Another friend, with her teens, is delivering goods to those who aren’t able (or shouldn’t be) shopping for their own groceries. They’ll even deliver take-out food. (Pizza anyone?) On a personal level, a friend messaged me yesterday that she found my favorite black beans at the store while she was there and picked up a couple cans for me. Her thoughtfulness was such a blessing!

There is so much good news if only we are willing to open our eyes to see it. There are so many kind people if only we are willing to acknowledge them.

Philippians 4 4 (2)

Spend time with Him. Most importantly, spend time with the Lord. Get to know Him. Read His Word. Rekindle your relationship with Him. Rediscover the One who gave His very life for you.

Mom Rediscover

 

5 ways to be happier

5 ways to be happier (2).png

We live in a challenging world. Bad things happening all around us – kidnappings, shootings, assaults, Christian persecution, severe weather, car accidents…and the list goes on. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to not get discouraged by the negativity that can be found at the touch of our fingertips via social media, news outlets, or on TV.

So how can we push past the dangers lurking behind every corner, the fears that overwhelm us, and the toxicity of our fallen world?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”

The website further states, that Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is”The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3…MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.”

Aside from the usual therapy options, including medication (because I am a firm believer that God allowed medicine to be created for those who truly need it), what can we do to take our focus off of the world around us and be happier? To find joy in the midst of all that is going on around us?

Here are five suggestions:

1. Spend more time with the Lord. Keep our eyes on Him. Rely on Him. Seek Him. Rejoice in Him. I can tell you from experience that the moment I take my eyes off Jesus, things take a turn. Set aside time, preferably each morning before you start the day, to dive into His Word, pray, and seek His guidance. The morning is the best time, as with all the busyness in daily life, this important action can quickly take a backseat to all of the other demands on our day.

Philippians 4 4 (2).png

Two of my biggest prayer requests during my morning quiet time with the Lord are that I would walk in a manner worthy of the calling He has placed on my life (Ephesians 4:1), and that I would be a blessing to my family first and foremost – and not only to them,  but also to others I encounter throughout my day.

For those of us who have made Jesus our Lord and Savior, this is not our home. Not our permanent home, anyway. Remembering that can put our circumstances and the bad things that happen around us in a different perspective.

2. Spend more time with our family and our close friends. Sometimes in the midst of employment, soccer practices, cell phones, and extracurricular activities, family time can be all but forgotten. Seek to spend more time with your family: your spouse and your children, and your close friends. Doing so makes for a much happier life. This can be as simple as going on walks, playing games, or just sitting down to talk. Whatever the method, your relationships will be strengthened, and you will find yourself with a lighter heart.

3. Spend more time putting others first. We are definitely happier when we put ourselves aside and seek to serve others. Doing nice things for someone, volunteering, and showing random acts of kindness can all add joy to our lives. According the HelpGuide website, “Volunteering is good for your mind and body”, and “Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life”, among many other benefits.

And you don’t have to commit to a huge volunteering project to reap the benefits of happiness, but rather pray that God would show you who you can assist each day, whether in big ways or small ways.

4. Spend more time in nature. Studies have shown that nature is important to our well-being. Who can stay crabby after being outside with the chirping birds, gentle breeze of the trees, and the warm sunshine? And summer isn’t the only time nature can make us happier. Just being outside in all seasons can improve our outlook on life. When we are out in God’s creation, our thoughts will center more on Him.

5. Spend more time exercising. Regular exercise can make us happier. According to an article on Livestrong, besides the usual health benefits, exercise “can also improve your mood, lift your spirits and make you feel better about yourself. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that boost your sense of well-being and suppresses hormones that cause stress and anxiety.”

There are many more ways of gaining happiness. Rather than focusing on the world and it’s negativity, focus on God, family, and others.