Six Steps on how to Cope

How many times have you been asked the question, "how are you doing with all this coronavirus stuff?" 

I have been asked it a lot and have seen it asked on many social media posts. It's good to check in with one another. I think it's healthy to process and to be honest with how we're all feeling. Because if we don't, it all gets bottled up inside and, pretty soon, we explode from all the stuffing. Our frail souls just can't handle the pressure. Thank goodness for Jesus who offers us something in exchange. 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-30
I love these words from Jesus that remind us His yoke is so much more bearable. He can handle the weight of the world. We cannot. So, by faith and obedience, we get to exchange our heaviness for His lightness. Such good news!

What I want to zoom in on with this post is how we are coping. We all cope differently. Some of us cope internally and privately. Some of us cope by venting and using social media as our outlet. Others cope by encouraging and seeking out encouragement. Even others cope by turning on Hallmark and watching hours of good, sappy movies.

We all cope differently. This could be your coworker who seems to complain about everything or seems to be more easily offended. They are coping.

This could be the friend on Facebook who begins every post with, "the the person who....". They are coping.

The parent who has a short fuse. The person who seems to ignore all the rules. The neighbor who has closed all their blinds and windows.

We all cope differently.

Is it all healthy? No. But, you can't control how others are coping. You can only control YOU.

Here are some tips when it comes to coping and how others are coping right along with you:

1. Hold your tongue. Or your fingers when it comes to social media. It is easy to get upset, offended and the need to put someone in their place. Just don't. While it can be hard to hear or push your buttons, remember that others are coping in their own way. What I have seen more times than not is, once it is all said and done, the person venting will later come back to apologize or thank or in some way acknowledge the spew of words.

2. It's not always wrong. It's just different. Many of us want to take action! We want to seek ways to help and to reach out so, when we see others not doing the same we think something is wrong with them! Listen, now is great opportunity to remember we are all created differently and with unique gifts. We can't have one without the other. If we were all doing what the hand is doing, what about the feet? And the eyes? And the knees? And the elbows? The entire body is needed. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

3. Have some grace. This is our response to 1 and 2. Have grace for one another. Show the same love that you would want to receive to others. When the coping skills are not damaging or abusive or unsafe, allow it to happen and listen. (Romans 3:34)

4. Focus on what you can control. You cannot control the actions of others. You cannot control the lack of toilet paper. You cannot control how long this will last or what others say and do. You know what you can control? Your actions. Your words. Your attitude. What a relief to not have to take on the worries of this world. Let Jesus do that!

5. Be a light in this broken world. We are told to be a light to the world, a city on a hill and the salt of the earth. Don't hide behind fear, worry, complaining, judgement, frustration, and your computer screen. Use the tools that man has made for God's glory. Social Media is the main connection we have to one another right now. We can be a light and share the goodness of God with others. We can cope by allowing HIM to shine forth and be who the rest of this world needs. (Matthew 5:13-16)

6. Choose your shelter wisely. Are you going to run to the shelter of the media, a cousin, social media? Or, are you going to run to the shelter of Jesus? I love how The Message paraphrases Psalm 91. Here are the first few verses:
"You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, Say this: "GOD, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!" That's right - he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you - under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm"

How powerful is that? When we run to Jesus for our shelter - our refuge - He provides the safety He knows we need. While it may not look the way we wish it would, when the dust settles and we get to see what is truly happening around us, we get to see just how safe He kept us indeed. Jesus is the only one capable of seeing the big picture so, faith is going to take a front seat as we trust His shelter.

We have a choice in our coping skills: we can defer by attacking others and the way they are handling things or, we can be an example, control what we can actually control (our own actions) and be a LIGHT. When we do this and when we trust God in His sovereign plan, He will be glorified and He will be faithful.

- Melissa


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