Last week I wrote about my helpful tip #1 – it’s okay to feel worried. And this week I have two more for you.
Tip No. 2: It is OKAY to be frazzled.
Oh boy can I relate to this one. We are a household of two working parents and two kids. We have a preschooler – a social butterfly who really, really misses school and wants to do ALL the activities. Yesterday at dinner she exclaimed “I can’t even pet dogs, you have no idea how stressful this time is!!” We also have a second grader who actually has to do homeschool but is less enthusiastic about it. A lot of you are in that boat. But a couple weeks ago – immediately before the quarantine started – we moved into a new house which wasn’t move in ready. We had some contractors ready to fix things up, but now they’ll have to wait. We can’t unpack most of the house and toaster oven is the name of the game! So anyway, feeling frazzled is the air I breathe. And I know many of you feel the same. We all have unique circumstances, but feeling frazzled is probably on all of our daily menus. But the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up for how you feel. You’ll never get out of that vicious cycle.
Just like with worry, the Psalms reflect what it is like to feel stress. In fact, the Psalms reflect an intensity of stress that you probably aren’t feeling right now. In Psalm 31, David cries out to God:
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak. (Psalm 31:9-10)
So if you think you can’t express your stress to God, you definitely can. David’s Psalm is like the cry of a person who has COVID 19, not the cry of frazzled parents who can’t meet their deadlines because they’re interrupted by a 5-year-old every 2.5 minutes! Thinking of David’s anguish and how he gave it to God gives me comfort and helps me re-center my own mind.
So find a Psalm like this (there are lots of them) and meditate on it. Take those deep breaths and let things go. If not for yourself then for your precious children. Because let’s be honest, they are probably having a blast. I’ve been thinking about our current situation and it will be a defining moment in our kids lives. And 10, 20, 30 years from now, I PROMISE they will not remember what you taught them in homeschool or what color chart you had. (Not that there is anything wrong with having those, you do WHATEVER works for you!). But your kids WILL remember all the meals you ate together, all the stories you read to them and all the walks you took. They’ll tell their kids and grandkids about those crazy months when the whole world “canceled” 2020. Just spending this time with your children is the best thing you can do and they will remember it forever. Under these most bizarre circumstances we have been given the gift of time. Even if that time is particularly stressful, please take it and run with it because in another month or so you’ll never see them this much again.
(Please note: we know that some of you are experiencing acute stress because of lost jobs and other unique circumstances, as always please reach out or utilize our online prayer request site so we can pray for you.)
Tip #3: Remember You Are Not Alone
Even though each of our circumstances are unique, we are all facing a common viral enemy. So don’t isolate yourself when there are so many electronic ways to keep in touch. In the last two weeks, in order to stay connected to various groups and people I downloaded Meet, Zoom, Instagram, Marco Polo and GroupMe. My son FaceTimes with his best buddy almost daily, and his class also regularly meets on Zoom (if your kid’s class is already not doing that, I highly recommend it). And I can tell you it is so good for his soul.
So please stay in touch with your friends and family however you can. And help your kids do the same with their school friends. You can also join one of our small groups, sign up here or email Mary Wilson for more information.
Another thing that can help you feel connected is sharing in a communal experience. Keep in your mind and prayers that fellow Mungarians are participating in worship service and Sunday School at the same time as you. That’s why we all log in to Munger’s online worship and daily prayer and why many of you have put up new signs in your windows saying: “Fear Stops Here”. My kids and I love taking a walk or a bike ride in the neighborhood a spotting those houses and feeling instant connection and community.
*Here are some projects kids did for homeschool Sunday School this past week.
In his intense stress, David remembers that God has been with him before and will be with him again when he says:
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help. (Psalm 31:21-22)
So whatever you are feeling, extend yourself grace. We will all get through this, the exciting thing is, we can come out the other side even stronger and more connected. See you soon friends!
P.S. I can’t wait to read Psalms together as a church after Easter.