Fear and Love at the End of the World
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We live in interesting times. The coronavirus pandemic is a challenge to our society. All of the sudden our social norms and mores are being turned upside down. Instead of handshakes and hugs, we're giving fistbumps and elbow bumps. Schools are closed and we're being asked to stay at home. Introverts are thrilled; extroverts, not so much!
When I read my social media feed, I see so much free floating anxiety. What is this coronavirus going to do? How many people are going to get sick? How many will die? Will my kids get to finish the school year? How will I find child care now that the school is closed? Some friends are concerned that the virus isn't all that dangerous, but government is.
Yet, God has given us his extravagant, perfect love so we don't have to fear anything. Even a global coronavirus pandemic and everything that goes along with it.
The opposite of fear isn't bravery. No, bravery is fear plus action. The most scared person in the world can be brave just by acting in spite of their fear. The opposite of fear is love. Love wipes away fear. When we truly love someone, we trust that God has their best plan and we try to be part of God's best for them. God loves us completely and gives us the ability to truly love others.
Yes, this pandemic is scary. Feel those feelings of being afraid. There is nothing wrong with what you feel. But then, remind yourself of truth: you are loved by God and he will give you the ability to love and serve others.
During this pandemic, the most loving thing you can do is to follow the government and CDC recommendations so that you and others don't get sick. Or at least, don't get sick at the same time as everyone else. Take care of the people in your home by washing your hands and practicing good hygiene. Get lots of rest and eat your fruits and veggies.
In that 2 Timothy verse, God reminds us that, instead of fear, he gives us the ability to think, love, and self-discipline. These three things will serve you well through the quarantine. Be smart, love your neighbor, and be disciplined to stay home. All of those will protect you and those you love.
Fear and anxiety are real things right now. Schedules are messed up. Kids are home. Husbands are home. Kitchens will never be clean again! I have a few ideas to help you cope.
1. Write one or both of the above scripture verses on cards to carry around and remind yourself when you start to feel a bit anxious and life is too out of control.
2. Exercise. During the exercise, you can listen to a book or watch TV or wish for the exercise to end. In any case, you've burned 30 minutes and the endorphins really help.
3. If you are not usually a homebody, all the work-at-home websites say not to stay in your PJs all day. Get up and get showered and dressed as if you were going to work. Besides, those PJs or sweats are going to start to smell.
4. Keep eating real food - fruits and veggies included. Don't let your system get run down just because you're stuck at home.
5. Take the chance to read some good books.
Fear not!! Because perfect love casts out all fear.
I'm not going to give you any pie-in-the sky, "God will protect you from coronavirus" nonsense, but I can tell you (and me, especially me!) that fear is not a helpful emotion. Feel your fear, then do something about it to love yourself or your neighbor.
P.S. Rhapsody and Rory are not afraid of much of anything in this house except starvation. They would like to remind you that cuddling kitties also helps with anxiety. And they're not wrong.