As we wade into waters that seemingly no one has ever stepped foot in, it can be really difficult to know what to do, how to respond to the changes, and really how much of our uncertainty and concern we should show in front of our kids or our spouse. I saw a meme the other day that most men seem to think is the goal in all of this craziness…on the outside there’s the image of calm, cool, and collected as to not incite fear or concern from those around us, but on the inside the anxiety of how to pay bills, how to protect our families, how to deal with homeschool/e-school, what happens when we run out of the necessities: bread, eggs, milk, and the oh so elusive toilet paper!! Many of us are internally battling how to handle all of these things, and still trying to be a good husband and a good father and a good friend. It is stressful enough to try to be those things when there isn’t a pandemic putting the world on lock down, but now we are being forced to navigate these roads while panic and fear surrounds us. My hope is that as we walk this road, we can do it together (even if it has to be at a distance). Here are some things that I think are good reminders for us as we take steps forward:
You are not alone! I mean this on at least two different levels…there’s a physical and spiritual level. You physically have others around you that can help whether that’s through conversation, running an errand for you, or something else along those lines. On the other side, I want to make sure that you hear this…God has not forsaken or abandoned us in this current situation. One of my favorite passages of scripture growing up was found in Isaiah 41:8-10
8 But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Be comforted in knowing that God will not leave us to walk alone.
Do not go silent! So many men want to internalize everything and shut off the world around them. They don’t like it when someone sees beyond the exterior and the natural instinct is to self-insulate and protect by shutting down. All this does is hurt those around you that you love and are so concerned about. Find ways to keep conversations going and encourage family and friends by engaging conversations instead of retreating behind a screen or turning on the TV. What would it look like to actually pick up the phone and call someone? It is a lost art of conversation that is an incredible gift during this time of social distancing. Or maybe you can use some of the technology that we have been given and FaceTime a relative that lives in another town/state, or maybe an old friend that you haven’t seen in months? We are created to live in community and sometimes we have to get creative in how we can do that.
Take some time to really connect with the Father. This is an incredible time in our history and I think we all can benefit from saying a few more prayers, reading through more scripture, and maybe even singing out some songs of praise to our God. If you have the devotional journal that we gave out at church, there is a natural way to start investing in strengthening your spiritual man. If not, then start reading in the book of Psalms…it is a great way to be encouraged to know that God is at work even when we don’t understand how or why.
Ultimately, I want to encourage you to use this time to invest in your spiritual walk, your family, and your friends. Below are some great resources for you as you face the days ahead.
By Ronny Higgins, Young Adult