While working remotely, I have had a lot of time to read and relax. I have extensively read about stress and mental health as experienced by many individuals in this pandemic. Various articles have addressed the importance of self-care including meditation, journaling, massages, exercise, walking in nature, eating healthy, and mindfulness.
I was inspired by the variety of techniques, and they became even more important as I became challenged with anxiety.
One of my favorite bible verses is "Be anxious for nothing, and in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
I found myself repeating this verse night after night to feel a sense of peace.
The reality was that I was stressed by the pandemic and didn’t know it. During this time, my work schedule, plans and goals had been turned upside down. Maybe like you, I could no longer live life as I once knew it and that reality created stress.
I also did not know what the new normal should or would look like. I really had to learn to be present and take one day at a time. To reduce my stress and experience peace, I had to look at how I was spending my time, whether I was being true to my values, and I had to rediscover what was important to me.
During the years, we may tend to fulfill family obligations, meet expectations, try to please others, and minimize disagreements and chaos.
Too often, we push down our feelings and cover them up to make peace with others. We pay more attention to our human conditions and less attention to our religious beliefs or spirituality. Yet, it is by practicing our religion and/or spirituality on a consistent basis that we can find peace.
God promises that "you will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you."
/8During this pandemic we have had to focus on politics, environmental crisis, racism, tragic deaths and millions of individuals being unemployed. Childcare and education, the lack of health care and homelessness have all impacted our families and communities.
Our attention has been on these tragedies and issues and now it is time to turn our attention back to the foundation of living — our religious practices and spirituality.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14: 27)
In seeking peace, it is important to turn your attention to your passion and purpose in life. Each of us is yearning for significance, and it can be found by acknowledging and activating God’s will for our life, which includes peace.
To experience peace, we must strengthen and confirm our faith in God. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." ( Romans 5:1)
In those moments when one feels overwhelmed by the impact of the coronavirus, that is the time to withdraw and be still, tap into your inner spirit, quiet your inquiring mind, and pray for peace. In the stillness you can invoke God’s grace and peace and feel the assurance that God is near and hears you.
Peace is a feeling of calmness, not because of anything specific, but a calm feeling despite everything. Feeling peaceful is evidence that God is working in and through your life.
While we can’t end the pandemic with wishful thinking, we can certainly manage our life around it by living in faith and knowing that the peace of God is available to us. Peace will help us find the strength and grace to endure.
"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be of comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God love, and peace will be with you." (2 Corinthians 13:11.)
As we sail these uncharted waters, hold onto your faith and trust in God.
Gerry J. Tucker is a spiritual writer and the author of "Bedside Chat," which can be found on Amazon.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org