Anxiety catches me unaware as I turn the page to a new month.
My plan was to retreat during spring break at a cabin in the treetops somewhere in Tennessee. Away from home responsibilities and work. I would breathe fresh air, contemplate my life direction, write in my journal, read good books, visit a few thrift stores, eat out, and generally relax.
That changed a few weeks ago as I canceled one thing after another, marking out time with friends, church, band practice, piano lessons, doctor appointments, and trips to the grocery. Two weeks of confinement looked doable. Thirty more days feels daunting.
I walked with Maisie after watching the morning news, talking myself down from the ledge of worry and fear, speaking Bible verses I’ve learned, hoping to change my thought process. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You.” “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”
Even the glass-half-full people are dealing with the angst of world crises. Anyone watching the news is susceptible to uneasy concern. Change happens daily as I try to keep up. Am I allowed to leave my house? Can I work in the garden? Is it OK to walk my lane and wave to my neighbors? Do I need a mask to visit the grocery or will a scarf protect me?
And what is really happening to my dear ones who are miles away from me? How can I support them when I’m in confinement?
I read tips for coping with the pandemic. I wash my hands until they are beginning to crack. Authorities say dark days are ahead.
On the positive side of my coin, I work hard in the garden. Minimizing and making them more manageable is a way to use my hyper energy.
I plan virtual piano lessons with my students, looking forward to a sort of normalcy with them. This challenges me technologically, but I know seeing their faces will boost my mood.
At this point, there is little I can do except stay home, self-distance as directed, reach out to people any way I can. And pray. Praying focuses me on mighty God who is stronger than any virus.
I remember a story in 1 Samuel 30:6.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
David encouraged himself in the Lord. I can do the same. I look backward, remembering the days of my life, how God was with me, how He brought me through difficult pathways, how He taught me to depend on Him, how He is the strong God and my Savior.
I encourage myself in the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5-6 became a song my mother sang when she was alive. I can almost hear her powerful voice, filled with faith, eyes closed in a prayer of worship. In the great cloud of witnesses in Heaven, I wonder if she is singing to us right now. I will join the chorus.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
If you are fighting anxiety, join the multitude. Admitting and naming a thing takes away some of its power. But then encourage yourself in the Lord. He is here, as near as your next breath.
A friend sent me a verse after we talked by phone, 3 John 14. It seems an appropriate closing to my friends, wherever you are.
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here [Sweet William and Maisie] send their greetings.
Don’t be afraid. God is near.