One of the scriptures that has been important to me during this time is Psalm 57. David says,
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.” Ps.57:1-3
Many times in the Psalms, David tells us that he is taking refuge in God. Good advice. Psalm 91 is helpful also but note that it is conditional – those who trust in Him must run to God, actively take refuge in Him, not just by association but by practice. We choose to be people of Hope. In his last days, King David recounts his life and as a son, raised up and anointed king and sweet psalmist, he tells us the dearest thing to his life:
“Although my house is not so with God (note broken family, still usable), Yet He has made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire.” 2 Sam. 23:5
Covenant with God meant bond, time and reflection, worship and praise. That was David’s secret. We have a New Covenant with Christ. That can and must be our secret too! Whatever trials and temptations we face, we nestle under God’s wings and covenant with Him – then He will tell us our outcome and His amazing, wondrous plan.
Many are saying this is a very stressful time. People are overwhelmed. Like a polluted stream, poisons keep spilling over and making things unbearable. I personally had 3 people close to me die since the quarantine began. It became more than just being out of toilet paper or laundry soap. Added to my previous grief, it felt toxic. I needed to “run to the One who is greater than I” (Psalm 61:2). Not all are having the same experience however, some are working 24/7 as emergency responders, some are splitting their time between teaching online and family, some are plastered to the television in their pajamas while some are thriving and refreshed. Not all are having the same experience, but all are having increased levels of anxiety.
There are four types of stress:
- Acute – Any life change. Maybe you run out of your favorite creamer for your coffee. Maybe your library closed, your car broke down or perhaps your hours changed at work.
- Episodic – This is when multiple stressors come at you all at once and it becomes difficult to juggle them. Bills are due, friends are getting divorced, shopping is difficult, and you can’t find your keys. It can be a death, a birth or several things all at once. It is not the severity of any one thing but the combination of many.
- Chronic –This is when stress is full blown and continuous. Perhaps you live incarcerated or with an abusive partner. Maybe you have pain that won’t ease up and a blended family you can’t fix. This stress is long term and repetitive.
- Catastrophic – Very few people have this type of stress within a lifetime. It is WWIII, Tsunami, 9/11 type stress. It tops the other ones in magnitude and happens without warning. It spans time and location without an end point. Tornadoes, earthquakes and viruses that supersede all other stress in one’s life is in this category.
This sounds textbook until you realize that some may have all of these happening at the same time and with each new level comes new outcomes such as acne, hives, heart trouble, nervous breakdowns, anger, irritation, loss of concentration, despondency, etc.
No one needs to tell you this is a time of great stress, but it might help to know that what you are experiencing is natural and typical. There are also changes going on inside your body that affects 3 basic hormones:
- Serotonin: this is your sleep hormone and it can cause extra sleepiness or give you insomnia. Stress is when your equilibrium is off, and you struggle to function properly. Having not enough or too much sleep will affect your schedule – day and night. Pajamas we need to talk!
- Dopamine: This is a “pleasure” hormone that makes you happy and gives you a sense or rush of reward. When its depleted you feel down, moody or flat.
- Nor-adrenaline – disrupts your body’s normal productions and will deplete your energy and motivation.
Sitting around all day may not be from the COVID19 circumstances, it may be from the accumulation of all this prior stress! Your normal drives and desires are not in play because your mind has told you from Facebook, the news and random crazy calls from relatives that things are “awful and scary” out there. Calculate how much stress you had prior to this season and think about how much rest you needed in multiple areas. The stress may be self-inflicted as much as normal from the events at hand. That’s good news though because it means you can CONTROL it. How?
- Turn off the phone, news, gossip or at least curtail it.
- Get exercise = not only will this offset the carb overload but the blood with feed your brain causing new thrills and reminding your body you are still in the game!
- Drink water – 9 glasses or more a day is the aim. Your skin, heart, cells and brain will thank you with new feelings of peace and happiness.
- Connect – Call others and share jokes, memories and make plans. Hope can be shared.
- Take Vitamins and things your doctor recommends
A couple of years ago I studied stress and the family. I wanted to find solutions for my family and friends. I researched every area of stress possible – physical, nutritional, sexual, national, relational, emotional, financial and spiritual. I was desperate to find answers for the carnage and chaos I was seeing around me. The Spiritual was the most interesting and led me to study things like the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor and Azusa Street, civil rights and more. I then read the Bible from front to back to see what God and His people had discovered. My dissertation was fascinating because there were numerous similarities in all these crises and when certain disciplines were inserted into the family structure instead of dying – they thrived. The solution and outcomes were measurable.
Some of the research from that time has been put into a book “Homeplate Advantage”. You can purchase it at this link: https://www.amazon.com/ or go to Pathway Press. There is also a Kindle format if you prefer to read it on your Phone or tablet. There are many helpful things about stress and managing it in that book. The advantage is having a Home family time of devotion with Christ, letting Him re-calibrate your heart to humility and holiness – giving Him a chance to minister to all of you.
The website you are on now has a tab for finding out how to have a personal relationship with God and I highly recommend that as being the BEST way possible to deal with any stress. There is another tab that contains Biblical study. It is commentary on one book of the Bible each month. Focusing on scripture and sharing it with others is a way to keep your mind disciplined on something good but more importantly it helps you understand and connect with God. Getting in the Word and seeing how other people lived in desperate and dark times will empower you to live courageous and strong. There are tons of great resources out there to study the Bible.
Lastly, connect with your church and worship God. Use You Tube to play and sing songs daily – worship lessens the pain of grief and anxiety. Put on your praise and put off your fears.
You are NOT alone. You are loved with an abiding and Everlasting love.
Use these secrets, resources and tools to give you strength.
Remember – who you are and WHOSE you are, and that God is, right now, beautifully writing your future!
Renae Roche 2020