Emotionally Settled? How are you doing?

By Jan Bernick, Parish Nurse
Maybe like you, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking these past few weeks. And for a person who is accustomed to dining out 4-5 times a week, this has been quite a change! I’ve really been enjoying it though, experimenting with new recipes, bringing out old ones from when my now adult children were little, and falling back on tried and true simple culinary delights!

Yesterday I made black bean soup. As I increased the heat and watched the soup come to a full boil, then turned it down to a simmer and eventually to serving temperature, I thought of a parallel.

Being under quarantine with heavy social restrictions might be physically health-preserving during this time of a serious, highly contagious disease spread, but it is not emotionally healthy. We humans long for human contact. When God created man, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  This is the first time God says something is “not good.” Being alone for long periods of time can bring about feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, hopelessness and fear. When not dealt with appropriately, these feelings can become emotionally destructive.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “I don’t know where she’s coming from but I’ve been working from home, kids and dogs underfoot, trying to teach my kids lessons I don’t even know how to do, trying to keep everyone occupied and out of trouble and myself sane with everyone under the same roof 24/7! I’d love some alone time!” You might, but not for long.

Add to the stress factors the fear factor of this novel coronavirus. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Left unchecked, these factors can result in negative thoughts, resentment, bickering, irritability, harsh words and broken relationships. Minor annoyances can become major issues under these circumstances.

What does this have to do with soup? Like the bubbles in the soup, if it heats up too much that soup will no longer be contained in the pot but will start to boil over and splatter out of control, and someone could get hurt. So it is with our emotions. Like the splatters of the soup, hurtful words spoken cannot be put back in the pot and we are left with a mess.

Scripture

As is always true, God is the answer and He is in control. I’d like to share some scriptures to meditate on when our emotions are feeling unsettled:

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Luther said the origin of peace is our hope and faith. Let’s keep our minds focused on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Confess your trust in the God who loves you.

When we make a mess…
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.”
James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

The mess that came to all mankind at Adam’s fall has been cleaned up by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the victory!

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Prayer

Lord, I pray that as we endure these times of trouble, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Peace with You, ourselves and each other. I pray that your lovingkindness would bubble up and overflow from our hearts onto those we encounter every day. In Jesus name, Amen. Settled.

Activities

  • If able, take a walk outside every day. Breath in the fresh air and notice the new life springing from the earth. If you can’t take a walk, find a place to sit quietly or meditatively in the fresh air.
  • If you need alone time, ask for it.
  • If you’re lonely, reach out to someone.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, by all means talk with someone who can help.
  • If you pass another human on your walk, smile and say hello. It’s a way to connect to another human and let them know they are not alone.
  • Set a coffee time with a friend over the phone or Skype.
  • Plan a meal to make “together” then sit down either over the phone or virtual meeting and eat together.
  • Set up a Skype or Zoom meeting and do normal things. Have it going while you are folding laundry or preparing a meal, and just chat.
  • If you enjoy museums here is a great way to attend a virtual tour of many museums. 
  • Write actual pen and paper letters to friends and family members, even in your own household. They will be keepsakes.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings, then make those entries your prayers. The Lord does care about every detail, remember He knows the number of hairs on your head and your tears in a bottle.
  • Each day, identify 3 specific things for which you are grateful and give thanks.

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