Pursuing Peace in a Panicking World Written by Heather McAnear

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Just a few months ago, I had never heard of COVID-19. Today, it has become a household threat.

Honestly, I’ve never seen our nation so full of fear. With the presence of twenty-four-hour information via social media and news sources, anxiety seems to be amping up at record speed.

Don’t get me wrong: this virus is a very real concern. We should all be aware, informed, and wise in how we respond, while also peaceful even in the midst of an international panic. 

Easier said than done? Yes. But it is possible.

As believers in Jesus, our perspective should be different than the rest of the world. It is in times like these when our faith can have a real impact on those around us.

So how can we pursue peace in times of panic?

Stay informed.

Commit to one or two trusted news sources and check in a couple of times a day.

Don’t give in to the temptation to constantly refresh your feed or stalk every news source, diving into information overload. Your mind will become consumed, and the constant barrage of bad news will take hold of your thoughts.

Be wise.

There are basic precautions every person should follow during times when illness is spreading.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often. (Soap + warm water for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head—or out loud if you feel confident!)
  • Sanitize your hands after touching community areas like grocery stores, restaurants, and gas pumps. 
  • For the time being, no handshakes or hugs. Use fist bumps and a big smile to greet one another. 
  • Limit social interactions and gatherings until the spread of the virus has subsided. 
  • If you or a family member are high risk, stay at home and stay healthy!

Have a plan.

At this point, it appears a quarantine of some type has been implemented.

Churches, social events, restaurants, and schools are closed. New restrictions are added daily. A quarantine period could reduce or slow the spread of COVID-19 and help those at greatest risk.

It’s best to have a personal plan.

Life Church Pastor, Craig Groeschel, was quarantined for fourteen days and shared his quarantine recommendations on an Instagram video. He experienced an increase in anxiety the first couple of days, as his thoughts centered on the negative. Having a daily plan—including exercise, stepping onto the porch to get outside air, eating well, reading, connecting with the “outside world” using technology, and spending time in Scripture—kept his mind on the positive rather than the negative.

Having a loose daily plan keeps us from a fourteen-day (or longer!) “Netflix binge.”

Guard your heart.

God’s word tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23 NIV‬).

Science has proven what Scripture already knew: what we think about directly affects our physical bodies. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf in Switch On Your Brain: “Scientists are discovering precise pathways by which changes in human thinking operate as signals that activate genetic expression, which then produce changes in our brains and bodies. Our genetic makeup fluctuates by the minute based on what we are thinking and choosing.“

Dr. Leaf connects Philippians 4:8 to patients who choose to think about “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy“ versus those who dwell on negative thoughts. The ones soaking in the truth of Scripture recover from illness and surgery at a quicker rate than those stuck in negative-thinking loops.

These findings have huge implications for our world today, as anxiety and fear are sweeping the nation. Setting our minds and our hearts on the truth of God’s word, with our hope and trust in him alone, will guard us from the stronghold of fear.

Pray.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬).

Pray for your own anxiety.

Pray for those who are sick or at higher risk.

Pray for our nation.

Pray when you feel afraid and overwhelmed.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:2‬).

Pray for peace when you feel panic. There’s no doubt about it, the world is panicking. As believers, let’s be different.

Let us instead pursue peace so we can be the ambassadors for God that we were sent here to be.

For more articles like this go to: https://www.christianparenting.org/articles/pursuing-peace-in-a-panicking-world/

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