Summary: We like the comfort of normalcy. But what happens when your normal is turned upside-down? We' re all having to deal with a new normal. Many people are panicking. It's important that we don't get caught up in it. What can help us to stay stable in times of instability?
BEING STABLE IN TIMES OF INSTABILITY
Although spontaneity can be exciting, I think most of the time we like structure and routine. Unless we're watching a suspenseful movie, we like to know what's expected to happen. We like the comfort of normalcy. But what happens when your normal is turned upside-down? There are many events that could happen in our individual lives to cause this but currently we are dealing with one that has upended all our lives. We' re all having to deal with a new normal. When you look around you see worry, fear and panic. It's important that we don't get caught up in it. What can help us to stay stable in times of instability?
1) Uncertainty fuels instability.
The irony is, we know life is unpredictable but we mainly live in the predictable. There might be minor unpredictable things that happen somewhat regularly but they're nothing too intrusive. And sometimes, they can be good things-like a surprise visit or a sudden blessing.
Since what we would consider to be a major irregular moment comes so infrequently, we don't give it much thought until it happens. But, when they do happen, they can fill us with deep concern. We start playing the "what if" game. What if I lose my job? What if I get the virus? What if we're all quarantined like Italy? The scary thing about these 'what-ifs' is that all these things could happen.
But the problem is, when we continue to play this game it can rule our thinking. And many of the 'what-ifs' we conjure up are predominately farfetched; yet in our minds we make them into a probable outcome. When you have uncertainties and mix them with a fear of the unknown you have the formula for instability.
Unstable means unsteady; insecure. One reason why people are panicking right now is because their security system is being shaken. If I base my security on a job or bank account then I'll panic when these things change. If I'm used to something being predictable for a while and then it changes I can get overwhelmed quickly.
My rock has crumbled; my security blanket has been ripped from my arms. I thought I was secure but I'm not and that's devastating. What am I going to do? Where am I going to turn for help? The answer is the Lord. He will help us to deal with this unstable situation.
Ps. 20:7-8, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm." Whatever we trust in outside of the Lord is insecure; only the Lord is secure. If we trust in him we can be firm and secure.
However, although we who trust in the Lord might not be panic-stricken, we are probably still feeling quite uneasy about the whole Covid-19 thing. What can we do? One thing that will help us to be stable is to know this too shall pass. This new normal we're experiencing is temporary. So we can look forward with anticipation that before long our new norm will become our old past.
But the day when things go back to normal isn't here yet. All we have is what's in front of us and what's in front of us is not too pretty. True, but having something to look forward to can help us to remain stable now.
Another thing we can do is focus on the positives. What is going well, what is still intact, what's going right? Take church, for instance. I could obsess about us not being able to meet in person or I could rejoice that we still have an opportunity to meet. We could focus on the fact that we're all cooped up in the house or we could focus on the fact that we have each other.
If we consume ourselves with what's wrong we won't see what's right. And we should always remember that it can always be worse. This virus doesn't have a high mortality rate. This isn't going to be a permanent factor year-round. We still have jobs, money, food, shelter.
Could this change tomorrow? Sure, but we don't project that things will get worse, we pray that they don't and we focus on what we have today. We have the Lord; which is the main thing. No matter what changes; God remains a constant in our lives. Therefore, his peace, joy, and stability can be a constant presence in our lives. We need to hold onto that. Uncertainty fuels instability but knowing God is there keeps us stable.
2) God is there when we slip.
Psalm 94:18-19, "When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."