I made it through week one, friends: Week one of a pandemic in our country. Of social distancing. Of everyday life being quickly and drastically turned upside down.
Is anyone else out there reeling?
I’ve seen my share of humorous Facebook posts and memes, featuring everything from ridiculous antics of bored kids to jokes about the shortage of toilet paper. There’s a blessed relief in laughter about these strange circumstances. And despite the challenges of having my whole family at home all day, we’ve shared many moments of genuine joy and goofiness in the past seven days.
Then my kids ask “How long do you think we’ll have to do this distancing thing?” Then I read the news updates about closing businesses, crashing markets, and soaring numbers of people sick. Then I endure the tenth interruption to my “work time” as I try to balance my job with caring for my kids.
In these and countless other moments, knots of frustration and worry start tightening in my heart. My patience stretches thin. And all the many questions I have about the future make constant background noise in my mind. The future is uncertain and the anxiety is real.
These days, I’m finding that my usual “quiet time” routines have been upended too. My mind doesn’t seem to have the bandwidth for in-depth Bible study or large passages of Scripture. It’s hard to focus on prayer when there are so many other thoughts whirling about my mind. Honestly? I’m finding that all I can seem to absorb right now is a verse or two at a time. Even then, it’s a very real battle to stay connected to God’s encouragement during the topsy-turvy reality of this “new normal.”
I know I’m not alone in this struggle. With so many unanswered questions before us, anxieties about the future plague us all.
Now, more than ever, we need to remember God’s promises, friends. We need to let His Words fill our minds, rather than all the worries that can so easily take control of our thoughts.
We need to remember that He’s present with us, right here in our whirlwind days.
For everyone struggling with uncertainty and anxiety right now, I’d like to offer a simple prayer journal you can use for the days ahead. It’s nothing in-depth or fancy. Just a little space to call a “time out” on all the distractions of our world right now and have a heart-to-heart with God. I filled it with the things that are helping me find some stability in the mist of this storm:
- space to write a Bible verse (Because the act of writing helps my scattered brain focus right now)
- space to write down my fear/frustrations (Because naming them helps me hand them over to God)
- a reminder to think of others (Because it gets my mind off my fears, and helps me remember that we’re all in this together)
- a reminder to be thankful (Because God still gives so many small pleasures and blessings every day)
These are the simple practices that are helping me pull my thoughts away from my fear and toward my faith.
I can’t eliminate viruses, restore financial losses, or erase the real challenges we face. But I hope this little journal gives you what you’ll need to persevere through the storm. And I hope it encourages you to see the things that are unchanging, even when everything around us seems to unravel: God’s still holding you close. He’s still speaking. And he’s still working through it all, molding you into everything you were meant to be.
(To grab the free printable Prayer Journal, just click on the blue button below.)
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