If you missed part one of this article, you can find it here The “Hurricane” (and Hope) of COVID-19. While writing part one, I felt the guilt of being a Christian who still struggles with fear, anxiety, and the unknown. If I were to define “pandemic” in my personal dictionary, it would read just that—“fear, anxiety, and the unknown.” It’s a good thing I’m not a Merriam-Webster editor because I do a pretty poor job defining words. I equated “Christian” (which actually means “follower of Christ”) with being immune—immune to the feelings of panic in a pandemic. But Christians are not immune to these feelings or invincible—no one is. 

The Good News is, He died for my fear and my anxiety so I don’t have to hang from the tree of my own “invincibility” and “perfection.” For some of us, it takes a little longer to realize we are safe and cared for, and to actually feel the hope Christ gives us.

Journaling and writing blogs like these definitely help me center, release my fears, and determine if they are rational. Here are more helpful tips:

3 Ways to Release Your Fears

 

Create a daily gratitude list. When things are difficult, sometimes it’s hard to remember all the things we each have to be grateful for. Some days they’re hard to find, but it’s worth the hunt! Studies have recently found that the act of being grateful actually rewires your brain and is a powerful antidote for grief and anxiety with “profound” and “long-lasting” neural impacts. A notebook beside your bed is a good reminder to review your day and be grateful before you go to sleep. Before long, you’ll find yourself looking for moments of joy to record, the warmth of spring sun, something new that’s in bloom, finding a favorite food in the back of the pantry, or just not messing something up. https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-amazing-way-gratitude-rewires-your-brain-for-happiness.html. https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/

Have an ongoing conversation with God. You may not have as many people around you to talk with, but you always have God. He’s an incredible listener. Have unanswerable questions? He’s used to them, and He actually knows the answers. Afraid? Talk with Him about it in real-time. Need to brainstorm your gratitude list? He can help. You can scream at Him, talk out loud, mutter under your breath, or keep it silent and inside your head. You can pray throughout the day while you’re doing other things, or reignite the nightly ritual from your childhood by your bed. I also encourage you to go to the Engage Art App prayer section where you can guarantee someone is praying for you (and your loved ones) and with you.

Music, music, music. I believe all things were created to worship God. When the wind blows, ushering the trees to sway along, I often bend down and whisper to my children, “Do you see how the wind and trees worship God?” When I’m listening to music, particularly worship music, I find that I’m already engaging in #1 and #2—remembering what I’m grateful for and speaking with God through song. One of my favorite groups is Hillsong. Watch and listen to Hillsong sing  “What a Beautiful Name” and “Break Every Chain” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEwDx8YJndU. Furthermore, there is plenty of research about “your brain on music” that shows it “can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/keep-your-brain-young-with-music

Any time and any way I focus on the Creator of the Universe, I’m reminded of who holds all power and authority over my fears, my frustrations, my anxiety and over the entire world. What would you add to this list?