This first section was actually written after the rest of the post. Noah and I woke up early yesterday morning to have some productive self-time and to start shifting our routine for when the baby comes. I knew I wanted to write, but I had no direction or topic in mind. Fully equipped with a bright blue sleep mask pushed on top of my forehead, I simply started to type. The fact that the following blog post, which is very different for me, came out of my subconscious writing brings me curious joy. In fact, I’m almost too nervous to post it.
It’s not about cooking, baking, fitness, or pregnancy; however, I feel mental health is an integral part of living an overall healthy lifestyle. Mental health looks different for everyone, and spiritual health has been intimately tied to mine lately. As I use this blog to document my personal journey, I don’t want to leave anything out because it may not be what everyone likes to read. I finished, and I’m posting this on National Day of Prayer 2020 which was completely unplanned. So with that, here is how I’m processing COVID-19.
Life is weird for just about everyone right now. As pieces of “normal” society open up, I can’t help but feel confused about how I should be reacting. Should I be happy that people are going back to their jobs and that events aren’t being cancelled automatically? Should I be scared that the state of the virus in my community hasn’t really improved and people are starting to see each other again? It’s kind of like when you are a kid and you’ve been told something is off-limits or bad for so long that you don’t feel comfortable engaging or using whatever it is once it is no longer taboo for you. Your authority is saying you’re fine, but you don’t really feel that way.
Some days I’m like, “yeah, I’m okay. Maybe I’ll venture to Target with a mask on and check out the baby stuff.” Other days, I am fully against the idea and almost more scared of how anxious I’ll be afterwards than walking in the store’s door. My home has become my safe zone, and I love it. Right now, I’m in control, and some day soon I’ll be the variable in my home that’s been exposed.
I’ve observed two ways of mentally processing COVID-19, and it seems I have both sides in my head: fearfulness and fearlessness. Which is correct? I’m not sure, but there is one action that I’ve been doing that just feels right. No matter if I’m erring on the side of fearfulness or fearlessness, it is always the answer. That answer is prayer.
Trust me in that I’ve not always been the praying type. During a verbal group prayer in church or a youth group setting, I would be the person whose mind went a million places and could never focus. All of the sudden we would be saying amen, and I would snap back to reality. My heart wasn’t in it, and when your heart isn’t in the right place, things don’t work like they should. That goes for just about anything really and not just prayer. There are numerous buzzwords about “having a relationship with God” and “confiding in Him”, and I just didn’t get it. Well, here’s a news flash folks. It turns out that just like any relationship in life, you have to put time, effort, and communication into a relationship with God. Who would’ve thought?
This all goes to say that through the craziness and uncertainty of 2020, I know that when I do my daily “read the Bible in a year” reading, I feel at peace. God is a constant in my life no matter the ups and downs. Prior to this year, I had barely scratched the surface of the Bible, and my mindset reflected that. In the times of the Old Testament, the Israelites faced hardship after hardship. Did they always follow God perfectly? Absolutely not, and that was even when God was in some cases physically speaking to the people. They were humans just like us. Even when they felt like God had abandoned them, He was there. I know it is hard to understand how He would let thousands of people die whether that be in Old Testament battles over land or due to COVID-19. To claim that I understand it would be a full-on lie. What I do understand is that it isn’t because He doesn’t love the world or that He is gone. I’ll choose to cling to God’s goodness, not out of ignorance or disrespect for those that have suffered, but out of faith. I pray every night for my family, community, and world. Even if you don’t believe in Christianity, know that there are people out there that do believe in the power of prayer that are praying for you and for your health out of love. More love can only help no matter the source and no matter if you agree with it or not.
While our battlegrounds are more in the form of hospital wards, hostile political environments, and anxieties, they are still valid. I’ll just leave you with this piece of scripture. Be healthy. Be still. Pray.
Psalms 46: 1-4
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.