If you are like most people, you’ve faced the three deadly enemies to your future and destiny during the past few weeks. You may not have succumbed to them, but you have seen and heard from them along the way.
Fear, hopelessness and depression have been lying in wait at nearly every corner of the coronavirus roadway. Already, they have created roadblocks, detours, built obstacles and left potholes. Their efforts have even left roadkill and devastation.
Forbes cites a survey that indicates nearly half of Americans are suffering from mental health issues as a result of the crisis. A Harvard article cites the dramatic uptick in people “…reaching out for information about mental health.” Even the CDC recognizes the stress caused by the pandemic.
Face it friends, whether you find yourself in a comfortable space (e.g. financially, emotionally, spiritually) or not-so-good place (e.g. stress, worry, fear) the times are precarious and turbulent. No one is exempt from the temptations and complications of these extraordinary times.
Today, you will make a choice, and you will choose a path. You will either surrender to the fear, depression and hopelessness or resist and turn away toward a healthier response. The former is the least path of resistance, but the second is an hour-by-hour journey that will get your through.
It’s vital to guard your heart against the three enemies. Once they take root, they will direct your life. And, subsequently, determine the course of your life.
Hope is the beginning of everything.Ray Johnston from The Hope Quotient.
Unless you have hope, you have nothing. Hopelessness will zap every dream, every promise, every aspiration and every motivation from your life. It will leave you empty and barren in a quagmire of helplessness and it is the enemy of your soul.
Our slogan at Chipalatta is “…a future and a hope”. It comes from Jeremiah 29:11 and reminds us that God has placed that hope in our hearts. Indeed, God has the plans for each of our lives, but we must stay the course to fulfill those plans.
Choose hope today. Choose to dream today. Set the course and take the first step away toward that future and a hope!
Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Fear is the grisly cancer of your soul. It will eat away at you day and night until it leaves you paralyzed with the ravages of war and conflict. It is a constant enemy that runs through your mind and wildest imaginations. Fear will cause you to run from things that aren’t chasing you and consume you with thoughts that aren’t real.
…the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Every third grader has learned this quote in school. And, during every crisis, it comes up in some PSA or inspirational documentary. Many mistakenly believe this quote came during World War II, but it originates in his first inauguration in 1933 as America faced an economic crisis and unprecedented high unemployment. Sound familiar? And, the complete quote more adequately tells the story.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.FDR, first inauguration.
The adjectives FDR chose then — “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified” — ring true today, as does the term “terror”.
Fear is your enemy, and it starts in your mind. You must turn down, reject and say no to the thoughts of fear. Replace them with thoughts of faith. Bob Proctor observes: “Fear and faith have a lot in common. Both of these emotions require that you believe in something that you can’t see.“
If you’re going to believe in something you can’t see, it may as well be positive and not harmful, don’t you think? You waste less time, you get more sleep, and you feel better when you focus better on the things that really matter. The Bible teaches us to “take captive every thought” (2 Cor. 10:5), meaning that the direction of your life starts in your mind. Yes, it’s all in your head.
Depression is a result of a life of hopelessness and fear.
If you have no hope and you continuously live in fear, you will become depressed. Further, if you are deep into despair and depression, you may not even recognize it. Ask your spouse or close friend (they may have already mentioned it to you!). But don’t wait to act, your future depends on it.
Still unsure if you are depressed? Take the test for yourself. It’s a short review or your current situation and you’ll get results quickly.
WebMD indicates that the symptoms of depression range from fatigue and trouble concentrating to persistent guilt and worthlessness to thoughts of suicide. Whether these symptoms have taken root in your life or not, be aware. The times are ripe while fear and hopelessness abound.
So how do you steer clear of fear, hopelessness and depression? How do you survive these perilous days? As author John Eldredge might answer: “The heart is the central issue.” The three enemies of your soul are merely the symptoms of what is taking place in your heart. Fix the problem, cure the symptoms.
Guard your heart above all else,Proverbs 4:23.
for it determines the course of your life.
Look, I’m no doctor and there is no magic pill. It takes work to stay out of the pit. It takes determination, consistency and surrounding yourself with well-meaning, supportive friends and family. But you can start now and build a good foundation and good defenses. Here are a few things that may help you on your journey.
- Find things that will help you take thoughts captive. Read, walk, encourage friends, do things that make you happy and fulfilled. Pull out your Bible, it is replete with fear busters!
- Go where the peace is. Stay away from news channels, Facebook and arguments that will lead to confusion or worry. Or at least minimize your exposure to these things. Shuffle the deck in your inner circle.
- Find scripture and quotes to hang onto. Write them on post-it notes and leave them on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator or other places you will see them multiple times each day.
- Stay active. Get out of the house, watch a sunset, walk around the neighborhood, work in the garden, put a puzzle together. Don’t have a garden, plant some tomatoes, it’s that time of year.
In the end, build a foundation and put up some defenses. Be overcome with faith, hope and peace.