Difficult circumstances bring out the best and worst in people. Because of this, we find an emotional and reactional gamut in trials: courage/fear, unity/division, giving/taking, kindness/brutality. Our first and ongoing response in trials can be quite shocking. Can we reflect together on how can we live well, in times like these?
Is it possible to live well, in times like these?
Living Well Will Always Be Challenged
As of this writing, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with its reported, relatively recent onset date of January 12, 2020, has become a world-wide terrorist. Our lives have been threatened on every level.
But it doesn’t take a pandemic to create situational stress. More common issues that threaten our everyday well-being are things like: ill health, caregiving, financial worries, relational disturbances, driving in traffic, workloads, lack of sleep, lack of peace, and more. Admittedly, it takes effort to ward off stressors.
How have stressors affected your body, your relationships, your mindset, and your spirit, which is the innermost part of you?
How we respond determines if we will live well, in times like these.
Response – By Divine Design
God designed our bodies with two situational coping mechanisms: our sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our body’s sympathetic nervous system can be activated by danger or any other situation that causes the body dis-ease. Activating this branch of our autonomic (automatic) system causes our body to experience an immediate physical response to the alert. Hormones are released to various parts of the body: heart rate and blood pressure rise, pupils dilate, body temperature rises, and sweating can occur; breathing quickens, extra blood is sent to the muscles, digestion slows to divert energy for fight or flight or freezing in our tracks. Our sympathetic nervous system is a life-preserving, good thing. “Thank You, LORD!”
By God’s design, our body’s parasympathetic nervous system can deregulate our sympathetic system’s stress response. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system induces relaxation and calmness in mind and body, and the high-alert sympathetic nervous system comes into balance.
The beauty in God’s design is that we have some influence over our body’s state of being. We can:
- Watch over what we feed our bodies, minds and spirits;
- Slow down and rest our three-part being;
- Practice mindfulness, even in our breathing;
- Provide sensory escapes from chaos;
- Stop multi-tasking.
Can you think of other ways to foster well-being?
You can read more about God’s Divine Design by clicking here: https://livinginfinitelybeyond.com/the-divine-design-broken-mankind/
Response – By Choice
Along with our body’s autonomic response systems, God gave humans a will. In other words, He allows us to make choices.
A live-well response for this category will include: taking time to look beyond yourself to see the people around you and their needs. We can choose to release offense and discard ill-will, judgment and criticism; and practice other forms of self-control. We can demonstrate understanding, patience and kindness, and offer help on some level. Wherever possible, we can choose unity–in unity, there is great strength; and we can choose generosity–resources multiply when we all practice generosity.
Respond Well, Live Well
Fears, anxiety, anger, and any other unhealthy human response can be over-written by changing our thoughts about the circumstance. As we deliberately choose new thoughts, healthy emotions align with them. New thoughts and emotions empower us to carry out more positive actions; thereby, we live well, in times like these.
When your thoughts and emotions are screaming, stop and ask:
Will this choice help me to live well, in times like these?
Help For Times Like These
That Person – Yeah, that family member, that friend, that acquaintance who’s invited you to church, encouraged you to look at a Bible or listen to a certain speaker. Perhaps you met their invitations with scorn. If that person came alongside you in the past, chances are they will welcome you now. Go ahead. Send the text, make the call.
A body of believers who really seeks God can be a support to you in distressing times. Explore churches in your area to find a church that preaches from the Bible. That person may help you find your church home.
Read God’s Word, the Bible. Within the pages of this timeless Book, you can find comfort and direction for times like these. Approach this Book in humility, and the Spirit of God will meet you there. Its words will come alive to you and do a most amazing work in you. Try it.
Listen to Christian Music. Stations like K-Love, http://K-Love.com, or The Message: Sirius XM Radio (requires a subscription), http://Sirius XM Radio The Message, are good choices. You may find a local station you really like. Christian music, like the Bible, stirs the spirit. You should find yourself uplifted as you listen.
Community Groups can meet physical and emotional needs. It takes humility to admit we need help. If you need food, money, services on any level, reach out for that help. You should not try to “go it alone” in times like these.
Pray. God hears and answers prayer. It’s true. If you think you’ve done too many bad things for God to hear you, read the account of the sinner and the self-righteous, both praying, http://Bible Hub Luke 18-9-14. It will encourage you.
This, too, shall pass–God willing
Trials usually have a beginning and an end. It’s the in-between that tries the soul.
Let me close with this – GOD IS IN CONTROL! The voice of a trial will never tell you that. No, Discouragement shouts: “There’s no hope!” or “This is going to take you down!” Turn away from that voice, quickly. Turn to one of your help resources. It’s a healthy move, on many levels. I promise you, when you’ve found genuine support, your situation already got better. Will you trust me?
I hope our reflection time has given you hope and courage to live well, in times like these. Thank you for spending these moments with me. As always, I welcome and appreciate your comments.
Doggy-bag Goodies for Living Infinitely Beyond!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”Psalm 46:1
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”Luke 12:22=26