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Hey mumma, is COVID-19 making you feel anxious? image

Hey mumma, is COVID-19 making you feel anxious?

Understandably, the circumstances of this year have left many of us feeling worn and anxious. So how can we be resilient and faithful followers of Jesus in these uncertain times?

Late last year I gave birth to my fourth baby. It afforded me a few slow days away from the busyness and noise of life with three kids to sit in the quiet of my hospital room and just take in my baby girl. In that time, I daydreamed about the year ahead and all the joys and challenges I anticipated would come with parenting four children. 

The year hasn’t quite been the year I imagined in the quiet of that hospital room. It hasn’t been the year anyone expected. A global pandemic definitely didn’t factor into my expectations! Now the challenges of life with four young children seem like they’d be a walk in the park compared to doing life in this bizarre COVID-19 world. 

Many of the mums I have spoken to through this season are feeling worn and anxious. And it’s totally understandable: this year has added a whole new set of anxiety-inducing circumstances to our lives.

This year has brought the real threat of getting sick or infecting others, particularly those who are vulnerable. There’s the weight of being thrust into the teacher role with all its responsibilities while juggling younger children and managing our own workload. There’s been the reality of not being able to gather together with our church family and having to navigate ‘church’ online—not just for ourselves, but for our kids too.

There has been the added complication of trying to maintain relationships without being able to see each other in person—working out how to love others from a distance. There have been times when we’ve had to manage with no family support. And now, for those of us who have fewer restrictions, we’re grappling with how and when to visit loved ones, particularly those in hospital or aged care facilities. 

Every week throws new rules and restrictions at us and we’re forced to work out how to live wisely under them. Every day brings uncertainty as we know our plans will have to change if someone develops the slightest sniffle or cough.

On top of all that, we have missed weddings, funerals and birthday celebrations and experienced very real concerns about job security and loss of income.

Navigating this new and uncharted territory is certainly anxiety-inducing, especially when there is no quick fix or end date in sight. So what do we do? How can we be resilient and faithful followers of Jesus in these uncertain times?

Speak truth to yourself

When anxious thoughts come, we can stop and remind ourselves of God’s truth. Firstly, we can remind ourselves that God cares for us deeply. Jesus said: 

‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’ (Matthew 10:29–31)

God has not left us or forgotten us, no matter how we feel or what our current circumstances are. We are his dearly loved children.

Secondly, we can remind ourselves that even in the mess and chaos of COVID-19, God is working for his glory and for the good of his people. In Romans we read, 

‘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 8:28)

Let’s ask God to help us learn and grow through this difficult time and let’s be receptive to whatever lessons he has to teach us.

Be intentional in action

In anxious times, it helps to follow a good spiritual routine. We can make space daily to read God’s word for ourselves. We can make space weekly to ‘go’ to church and ‘meet’ with a Bible study group (whether online or in person). In his word, God shows us what he is like and what it looks like for us to live under his rule. God’s word can and will equip us to live faithfully in the world.

After reminding ourselves of the great truths in the Bible, we can seek God in prayer. We can be real with God about our anxiety and worry—we can ask him to help us trust him and grow in his likeness. Let’s hold on to these familiar words: 

‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Philippians 4:6)

When we pray it’s also good to thank God for his provision. Every good gift, whether big or small, is God’s provision to us. Reminding ourselves of these things and thanking God for them can help to reshape our headspace.

Finally, we can look for ways to care for those around us who are finding this time hard. It’s very easy to be self-focused when we are anxious and weighed down, but God calls us to look outward and love others even when it's hard and costly to us. And ironically, taking our eyes off our own worries for a time can also help us to get a more balanced perspective.

The truth is that fear and anxiety may well still come, whether it be related to COVID-19 or some other life circumstances. But no matter what, we can take active steps toward living faithfully as God’s people in whatever situation we find ourselves. We need to make a decision: Will we give in to our anxiety and worry and let them guide us? Or will we choose to speak God’s truth to ourselves and live intentionally for him in this tricky, messy world?
Note: Your anxiety or a friend’s anxiety might require more help than we are equipped to offer. If this is the case, it is good and right to seek help from a counsellor or psychologist. Your pastor could recommend a professional in your area.

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Edwina Scott is married to Adam and is a stay-at-home mum to four children. She attends St Mark’s Anglican Church in Pennant Hills, where her husband also works.

For more articles from Growing Faith, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
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