Let’s talk about COPING

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There is no question that Americans are collectively stressed to the max. We have never lived through anything like this COVID19 experience. The media bombards us with statistics and stories that have magnified fear to astonishing levels. Throw in 20,000,000 out of work with no date to regain job and income.

Now we have a social situation that can bring out some not so admirable human behaviors, attempts to cope. Guess what? It’s happening.

Pornography sites are reporting higher use rates than ever, all over the world, use up by 20-30 %. Porn is a quick way to find temporary relief from reality.  Some sites are diabolically snaring people with free access right now. These new porn users may not be able to escape the quickly developing addiction when the crisis closes. Internet porn is accurately labeled the “crack-cocaine of sex addiction.”

Most governors thought churches should be closed but left liquor stores open, an interesting glimpse of our social values. A market research firm reported that in March alcohol sales were up sharply. Wine sales were up 66% over the previous year. Tequila, gin, and vodka sales jumped by 75%.

A more benign sign of our stress can be found in the stats from Netflix™. In one week in late March, users streamed 156 billion minutes of content, up 36%.

I am not sharing these things to frighten you, nor have I any desire to pile on shame!

I want you to know that WE can do better!  Is it easy to cope? Not always.  We will not just slip into wholeness, there must be choices for positive change. Let’s turn towards encouragement! You can do more than survive!  How?

First of all – Get real about your stress, your fears, with God.

Even if you have never prayed before, you can pray now. Just get alone and start talking! Tell Him the truth about the pressure, the problems, even where you know you are failing.  You do not need a huge surge of faith, or a vision. Jesus said even a spark of faith is sufficient. He knows where you are, what you are dealing with, and never will belittle you or turn away. He does not compare you to others and ask, “Why aren’t YOU doing better?”  He comes to us in the Spirit and stands with us, working for us.

Right now would you ask the Lord to increase your faith and help you to move forward? This is His promise: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us … in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Second – Factor in the things for which you are thankful!

Earlier this week, I stood on my front porch and started listing the things that are positive and in a few minutes, I found a new perspective. We can become so wrapped up in our very real problems that we fail to see the resources that could be available to us.  More importantly, we cannot forget that today is the prelude to the rest of our days. God has a purpose for us.  So, we must “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith! “ (Hebrews 12:2)

Third – Reach out for support!

Call a friend. Talk with family. Don’t isolate yourself in the basement! Even if you feel awful, make an effort to get connected. Use your phone and/or social media in it’s best way!

Fourth – Feed faith!

FoxNews, MSNBC, and CNN are not your friends right now. Frankly, some preachers aren’t either.  All that ‘bad news’ repeatedly endlessly by talking heads; all those apocalyptic visions of the End Times that some ministries are promoting, is exaggerated noise to keep you locked in, increasing viewer stats and income. We can change our view of reality with all of the information which includes the fact that God is bigger than COVID19 and that the world is not coming to an end.

He is Lord of life and reminds us that those who love Him are held in the palm of His hand. Paul’s life was a mess. He wrote to his friends that ” we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10, NLT)

Fifth – Live this day, fully engaged with this moment.

All those ‘what-if’ questions can be exhausting and will surely make us even more anxious. We make good choices today, not drinking to excess, not watching porn, not overspending, loving others, listening, serving where we can. If you are able, go take a walk. Sit in the sun (when it shines).  Remember what Jesus says – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  (Matthew 6:34)

You can COPE with life. You do not have to fall apart. Come on, let’s do this together.

_____________

Way Maker

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You
You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord

That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

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