When I first awaken it all seems like a bad dream — a nightmare full of fearful things I can’t control…
Then I realize it’s all real.
There is a worldwide pandemic and people are falling sick and dying at an increasing rate every day in my region of the country. I have been quarantined in my home the past 18 days and will be at least for 30 more days — only getting out for walks in my neighborhood. My husband is at high risk (and by age, I am as well) for getting ill from this very contagious virus. I do terribly miss seeing my whole family. And the financial situation is dire due to lost work and everything closing down.
But I refuse to live in fear.
This world health crisis is real – we can’t pretend it’s not happening. How do we acknowledge such truth and still live vibrantly in our new normal? We go deeper than just surface responses – we garner strength of soul within to help us face the challenges without.
Here is how we can live Soul Strong for the month of April… and beyond:
S – Surrender Your Plans.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5.7
This is not the life you signed up for, but it’s the life you have right now. As many things get smaller (activities, finances) or non-existent, it won’t help to feed fears. Instead, try to hold all loosely – your plans, your loved ones, your need-to-control. Try this simple exercise: Open your hands to release all that to God by naming each one, “Lord, I release _______ to You.” Then, keep your hands open to receive what God will give in return, “Lord, I receive Your gift of _________.”
T – Trust God’s Presence, Peace, and Power.
“For I hold you by the right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” Isaiah 41.13
God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe who loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He is not wringing his hands in despair. He is, in fact, present through His Spirit – and nothing is impossible for Him. Can you say with King David, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You?” (Psalm 56.3) In the Bible God promises each of us His presence, peace, and power. You are not alone!
R – Reach Out with Kindness.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Ephesians 4.32
Tight spaces, deprivation, and anxiety can easily lead to bad tempers and self-centeredness. The perfect antidote is to make a deliberate choice to extend kindness to those in your household and community. Think outside the box of how to show compassion to the servers and the suffering. Your light in the darkness will encourage, provide practical help, and bring hope.
O – Observe a Daily Routine.
“Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.” Psalm 143.8
Awaken each day, get dressed, and make your bed. This and other established routines will provide security and order to your household. Limit your intake of media and news. Plan exercise, meals, reading, rest, chores, schooling, daily check-in phone calls, and projects. Hugs and listening to your children will go a long way to help them know you are their ‘safe place.’ How you handle this crisis may well be your last and greatest legacy.
N – Nurture Your Inner Life.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4.23
Take care of yourself – body and soul. Yes, do all the health mandates for physical safety. But also focus on your inner life through silence, prayers, Bible study, worship, rest, journaling, and those creative activities that renew and refresh. In addition to my morning prayers, I also have a hot cup of fresh brewed tea every afternoon with a favorite devotional book. Fill up your soul with deposits of that which is “true, honorable, lovely, pure, right, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4) Your strength of soul will then overflow to others.
G – Give Thanks Daily.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. And be thankful.” Colossians 3.15
No matter how bad life gets, there are always blessings. Look for the gifts you have. Name them. Make a gratitude list each day and then offer up thanks to the God who provides. Be generous to others. Say “Thank You” to those who rarely hear it and pray for them. And then, embrace the peace that God promises to bring to your own heart and life.
- Trust God
- Reach Out
- Give Thanks
I confess, I don’t feel very strong some days. But, by God’s grace, I am determined to live vibrantly through these unknown and unprecedented times as a soul strong woman. This is my prayer for you as well.
under the mercy, Lucinda
©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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