Tips for Staying Grounded When Life Feels Upside Down
I cannot count how many times lately I’ve heard, “I just want things to get back to normal.” I get it. These last few months have thrown all of our lives off-track, and we want our “normal” back.
What was normal? It was going to church, feeling free to shake a hand and give a hug. It was getting kids off to school, picking them up from band rehearsal, only to drop them off again somewhere else for this class and that activity. It was going to work. It was watching sporting events and going to the movies. The old normal was walking into the grocery store to shop, or into the hospital to visit. It was a world without “social distancing.”
Ask yourself, What part of my old normal do I want to return to? What do I now appreciate today that I did not before? What were my priorities then, and what are they now? What about my life needs to change?
Not too long ago, normal was the family sitting down to dinner every night and talking about their day and lives. People took Sunday afternoon drives, visiting family and friends. A much slower pace allowed people to really get to know one another.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the One in control – the Creator of our world. None of what’s happened in 2020 has caught Him off guard or caused Him to freak out. He’s working in spite of how the virus spreads or doesn’t, where it originated, or who contracts it. Christ tells us in John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.
This may be the first time in our lifetime we’ve experienced unprecedented times, but there have been many unprecedented times throughout history. Remember when Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? When Pharaoh said, “No,” 10 different times, the Egyptian people suffered 10 different plagues. There were no vaccines, no hospitals, no modern medicines or equipment, and no pesticides. Can you imagine?
Another unprecedented, fearful time in recent history was the Holocaust. Millions of Jews were gunned down or gassed. Their crime? They were Jews. This atrocity pushed our world into its second world war to fight to free the Jewish people and to defeat an evil, twisted narcissist named Hitler. God knew about those times and He knows about this now. He even knows what’s coming next. We can trust Him to handle the here and now, our unprecedented piece of history. Because, when it’s all said and done, if we live or die, those who love God have an assurance that we will live with Him with no more pain, sickness, or sorrow. That’s unprecedented!
We were created to be together. Connecting with God and others is what helps us get through life’s trials and tribulations. So many people have figured out creative ways to be together and still distance themselves in a respectful way. One of my favorites has been the parades for birthdays, high school graduations, and other celebrations. After leaving my former place of employment, my co-workers surprised me with a parade since they couldn’t host a traditional work party. I could not have felt more appreciated and loved if they had given me a traditional send off. Being able to see them face to face was such a blessing.
Familiarity produces feelings of security. Even if our environment is unhealthy, false security can make us think we’re safe. But real security is found only in Christ Jesus. So, during these so-called unprecedented times, it is of utmost importance that we focus on what’s best for our physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.
Choose an attitude of gratitude. Be intentional about giving thanks for what we do have. Are you in good health? Thank Him. Do you have food to eat? Thank Him. Look for the blessings, even when life is hard. God delights in our praise and thanksgiving. Let’s delight in Him as well.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).
Remain in the Word. Stay connected to God and His people. Worship together whenever you can. We need each other more now than ever. Prayer walk your neighborhood with a neighbor. Reach out to those feeling lonely. My grandmother is in a skilled nursing facility. My mother and aunt visit her weekly from outside the door with the telephone. Send a card. Phone a friend. Video chat. Be creative!
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).
Work looks different these days for many people, but it doesn’t have to keep us from working for the Kingdom. If you’ve been laid off from your job, start a project. If not for your family, work on something for someone else. Mow a neighbor’s lawn. Take someone meal. Help a shut-in with a home project that needs attention. Our “work” is how we serve and minister to the needs of others.
…through love, serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Galatians 5:13-14, ESV).
Remember, God is in control.
Most of all, remember that God is in control. He never sleeps. Nothing catches Him off guard. No matter our circumstances in these uncertain times, He knows, He cares, and He’s always with us. That’s the only normal we need.
The LORD is your keeper; (Psalm 121:5a, ESV)... the LORD will keep your going out and your coming in (Psalm 121:8, ESV).
GENA LINDSEY, MA, LPC
is as an individual and family therapist. She is married to Morgan and has a daughter, a son, and two step-daughters. Gena enjoys spending time with family, baking, crafting, and reading.