One of the most important things to remember right now is that it is normal to have concerns and worries.
The world has become a little bit scarier with what’s going on in our country and around the world (and also what’s been going on for the past two years), and that’s OK. As we start to get back into a normal flow of life, you may find yourself doing triage on the emotional (and mental, physical and spiritual) damage that’s been done for the past year or two.
It’s OK to feel like you’re still trying to catch your breath. Your activity schedule may be back to normal, but that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you are OK. There’s some healing that most people need to go through to assess and treat the damage that’s been done, and we have a few tips that can help facilitate that process.
What is normal for you and me right now?
The most “normal” thing we can do in seasons of hardship is to not ignore our concerns. For many of us, we swept our fears under the rug for the past two years because we didn’t have the time or emotional capacity to sort through everything. We were operating in survival mode. But now we can breathe again, and it’s time to do the work to heal. For most people I speak with, these are the main concerns that crop up in conversation:
- Health concerns — It was already a challenge to stay healthy before the pandemic. It almost seems like we have no control over what happens with our health. Many of us have lost people due to the virus and its variants. You can’t help but wonder if you and your loved ones will be overcome by sickness.
- Financial concerns — Most of us were probably not ready for the financial blow that the pandemic has caused. People have lost jobs and businesses. Expenses have increased to pay for medical bills, inflation, the unexpected, and staying on top of everyday costs we have always had! How can we not worry about not making ends meet?
- Emotional concerns — What is normal right now is that we feel undone emotionally. Honestly, it’s hard to say how much the last two years of our lives have had an impact on us emotionally. Especially if you have children — they have been affected too in their formative years. With all the uncertainty of the future, feeling hopeful about life is hard.
- Job and career concerns — There has been no control over what has happened with our jobs and careers. With lockdowns, layoffs, terminations, and businesses shutting, it is customary to think about our professional futures. Everything about jobs and careers seems to be on the chopping block!
- Concerns about family and friends — We all have seen friends and family suffer in one way or another during this season in our history. It’s hard to see the ones we love suffering or in some kind of hardship. You can’t help but think, “What will happen next?”, or “Will this new normal put them at a permanent disadvantage?”
How do we handle what is normal for us now?
Times like these can move us into survival mode. We tend to overlook discovering ways to emotionally, mentally and spiritually handle what is going on. There’s no need to plow through life in survival mode. You deserve more. Here are three ways to handle what is normal for us right now.
- Talk about your feelings — You are not alone! You must find someone who will listen when you want to talk about what you’re going through right now. You could also write down your feelings in a journal or do some creative expression that shows how you feel inside.
- It’s OK to cry — Stress, grief and loss are all ingredients for tears. That includes being moved to tears by watching those we love face world-shaking hardships. There’s been much of that lately. Don’t hold back; cry if you need to. In John 11:35, Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. It was not merely a sign of sympathy for those who mourned Lazarus’ loss; the Lord was mourning also. Jesus had a close relationship with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus shared their grief. Jesus shed tears because He loved them.
- If you’re still alive, there’s still hope — Every era has had its significant events that affected the lives of millions. We are living something like that now as history repeats itself, and we know that the human race always bounces back.
What is normal right now? An interesting question, but for the most part, a difficult one to answer as our new normals might continue to change. We all have our ideas of what is normal and what isn’t, but in the end, we are all human and can use some peace. There is peace in knowing that God in human flesh (Jesus) had sorrows (Isaiah 53:3), but He has also overcome the world (John 16:33).
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