Thanks to the Coronavirus, I am learning new things.
Like, I didn’t know what “social distancing” was, or that it could be a healthy thing. Now I do. And I have a whole new respect for folks like my husband, who has never once struggled with FOMO and will be fine if we get quarantined.
Or WFH. (Who knew that what I’ve been doing as a writer for the past 25 years had its own acronym?)
Or even the fact that people, when panicked, will hoard toilet paper. I read where one newspaper actually printed eight extra pages in a recent edition–“emergency rations” was how they put it. Can you imagine?
Actually, I can.
Because the newspaper people are not the first ones to make this particular link. Years ago, my mom asked me to donate a carton of books for a mission trip she was going on. When I learned that the supply coordinator had asked her to bring toilet paper, I balked. “Mom,” I said, “Don’t you think the missionary people will wonder why, when they asked you for toilet paper, you brought books instead? What will they think when they go to the supply cabinet and open the box?”
“They will think that it’s brilliant!” my mother exclaimed. “Because with toilet paper, all you have is toilet paper. But with your books, you can read them, and then, if you still need supplies…”
I hadn’t planned to post a blog this week, but I figured that if we’re all WFH and feeling socially distanced, maybe a few words of comfort would help.
I’ve written about things like worry and fear in the past. If you’ve got time for a longer post, click here to read about how–whether we’re up against a bear market, a bear of a disease, or an actual bear–God doesn’t want his kids to be scared. For now, though, I’ll share just two quick recommendations.
Replace the bad with the good.
First, have a plan. Anyone who’s ever tried to accomplish a goal–Lose weight. Save money. Stop cussing–understands the importance of action steps. It’s not enough to just state the objective; you have to replace the bad habit with something better. Something good.
Which may be why, when Paul said, Don’t worry about anything, he followed that command up with this charge: Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
That verse–Philippians 4:6–was apparently the “verse of the year” for 2019. I don’t know who decides stuff like that, but if we needed to swap our worries for prayer last year, how much more do we need to make the trade now?
So here’s Part One of the plan: When you feel the fingers of worry starting to crawl up your back, don’t panic. Use them as a trigger–or a prompt, if that’s a happier word–to remind you to pray.
Part Two of the plan is to quit looking around and look up.
Longtime blog readers will know that Sara Hagerty is, in my view, one of the most gifted writers of our time. I savored her last book, Unseen, and now she’s got another masterpiece hitting the shelves–one that can help move us from panic to peace.
I pre-ordered Adore the moment I caught a glimpse of the cover. And now that I know a little more about what’s inside (click here for a quick peek at the trailer), I CANNOT wait for this book to arrive.
Because here’s the thing.
Sara knows what it feels like to worry. To live in the world of what if. To wonder if you’ll ever measure up…or if your child is okay…or even why you didn’t get invited to that party.
Or if your loved ones will be safe in the weeks ahead.
More than that, though, Sara knows that God wants to meet us right there in those thoughts–in the “middle minutes” of our lives. And to get us to look up. At him.
Adore releases on March 31st.
Which, if you think like my mom does, might turn out to be perfect timing if you run out of supplies…
And in the meantime, here’s one of my favorite anti-virus prayers you can pray for yourself, for the people you love, and for strangers on the other side of the world:
Spread your protection over ______. Surround them with your favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12)
P.S. If you want more scripture-based prayers to keep Coronavirus fear and worry at bay, hop on over to Instagram and check out the latest post by @abigailCBN. And as always, if you order a book that I recommend in this space, Amazon sends me a teensy commission…which means I can keep buying new books and letting you know which ones are the best!