Friday, May 1, 2020

Speed Bumps on My Road Called Contentment

- Janet Burton
Have you ever had difficulty breathing? I have because my asthma kicks in anytime I have a sinus infection which then develops into bronchitis.
In mid-March I began to hear the news reports about the coronavirus that would be having a great impact on the older population, especially those with respiratory diseases. Whoa! That hit close to home! They were talking about ME and I didn’t like it one bit! Immediately, a “speed bump” of fear sprang up on my road called Contentment. As a nurse, I know about ventilators and multi-system organ failure, and I was not interested in experiencing any of that. 
Fear set up big time. I was afraid to leave my house for anything. For days, I lived trapped in fear. 

Speed Bumps

I had been so content with my life. I had just retired in December and had already made three trips south to be with family at Christmas, to attend Sea Breeze camp and to be with my brother-in-law during his surgery. My friends and I had enjoyed shopping, attending revivals, eating out, etc. We were all looking forward to the InterChurch Holiness Convention and then a “speed bump” of disappointment showed up on my well paved Contentment road. Stay-in-place guidelines until the end of April or longer. Really? 
Truth vs. Falsehood was the next “speed bump” I encountered. 
Oh my, who in the world is telling the truth? Who’s lying? Are we losing our religious freedoms? What is essential? What isn’t essential? Is Covid-19 part of the end-times? Is it a conspiracy? A biological terrorist attack? Opinions were abounding everywhere!
And then there was the boredom “speed bump.” What does one do for hours on end? Well, I’ll tell you later how I avoided letting boredom lead to the loneliness “speed bump”.
Perhaps you experienced these same “speed bumps” or maybe you experienced other ones during this pandemic. Let me share my approach, and the ways I coped with the quarantine.

Conquering Fear

Fear has not always been a major issue with me, so I was surprised when it gripped me fiercely. I could hardly think of anything else except the possibility that I might die from this virus. I just knew if I got “it,” I would die. I told the Lord HE would to have to help me because I couldn’t control this fear. And you know, HE helped me! He brought to my mind all the times He had protected me in various circumstances. God assured me He was able to protect me now and He would be with me. 
Although God relieved my fears, I didn’t throw caution to the wind and do what I wanted. No, I followed the guidelines. In the midst of my fear God worked through my neighbor to provide me with a N95 face mask. I am no longer fearful when I go grocery shopping. Hopefully, this quote from Brian Tracy will help someone: “Stress [fear] comes from within; it is your reaction to circumstances [Covid-19], not the circumstances themselves.” I’m glad I looked to Jesus to defeat Satan’s tactic of fear!

Coping Skills

Disappointments can lead to depression and if you are prone to depression it is especially easy to fall into despair. You might say I did a little grieving over what I was “giving up” to be safe and healthy. I had to implement some previous coping skills to work through this. 
 How do you cope with all the “if he had” or “if he hadn’t opinions,” end-of-times predictions, etc.?
Well, it helps me tremendously not to read and believe everything I read on Facebook. I had to become very discerning about whose posts I read in order not to fill my mind with controversy and negativity. Sometimes I spoke out when I knew a post was giving inaccurate health information. I had to ask a friend not to send me any more messages about the pandemic. To keep a positive mindset, I had to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience [submission] of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5 KJV). God’s Word became my filter to process the end time predictions. To assist me in this effort I enrolled in the free online course offered by God’s Bible School & College on the Book of Revelation (taught by Dr. Stephen Smith). 
Now, back to the boredom “speed bump.” 
As a single person, battling boredom has become a daily activity for me. I have to be intentional so I can ward off loneliness. I take each day as a new day and start each day with “Lord, what do you want me to do today?” It is amazing what He tells me to do. 
Some days God’s answer is to do some long over-due deep cleaning in my house. Other days God tells me specific people to call and check on or to whom I should send a card. One of my friends was really struggling with being homebound, so I colored a picture and took it to her, along with some books and magazines to help cheer her up. Basically, now, as in other times, God wants me to be a blessing to others. When we bless others, we often receive a blessing ourselves, and that helps combat boredom. 
There have been some rewards to the slower schedule. One of my friends bought bird feeders and has enjoyed watching the birds come and go. A couple of my friends and I have discussed how we now do not feel rushed in our devotional time. We are finding God’s grace sufficient as we come from His presence! I obtained a digital library card and have enjoyed reading books from our local library. My new best friends are Facebook (in spite of the negativity), Marco Polo (staying connected with family), and the Bible Broadcasting Network (BBN which has provided me with hours of good music and stories). Online church services and live musical performances have been so helpful to keep me inspired spiritually. 
Yes, I too long for the day when states are “open” again. When that happens, you will find me with bags packed and headed to who knows where-just because I can!


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