Being a Person of Hope in a World of Anxiety
It’s one thing to deal with normal life stress. Add in natural disasters, worldwide disease, interruption of school and work, loss of income … and the effects of multiple stressors aren’t far behind.
Anxiety can be summed up as too much too fast. But there’s no fast and simple way to recover. So be patient with yourself, and make sure that your expectations are realistic.
You’ll get through this
Events of the past months might have pushed you beyond the limits of anything you’ve ever faced. Feeling overwhelmed is normal, but there’s a greater truth: The human spirit is amazingly resilient.
Most of us will experience some kind of significant adversity during our lifetime, whether directly or indirectly. Usually, the process of surviving and adapting takes about three months.
That time can seem like an eternity when you’re in the middle of it, but things will improve. Still, you might be surprised to learn that the outcome is largely up to you.
Keep things moving in the right direction
In a broken world — in our own brokenness — it’s easy to feel hopeless. We might even try to put a positive spin on it by saying we’re just being realistic.
But author Scott Hubbard points out that “Christian hope … is not the kind that blindfolds itself to reality. It’s the kind that looks at a newly sealed tomb and says, ‘This story’s not over.’”
How can you embrace that kind of hope in light of trauma?
- Accept your pain — and let it push you toward healing.
Give yourself permission to grieve, but don’t get stuck there. This is especially important if you have a spouse and children. You won’t be able to help them until you’ve begun to heal.
- Express honest emotion by journaling or talking with a trusted friend. Whether by yourself, in a group, or one-on-one, you need to share your feelings. Be open, but don’t obsess. (In some cases, too much talk can retrigger trauma.)
- Pray by yourself and with family and friends.
Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions about suffering. While the Lord doesn’t guarantee that all our doubts will be resolved, He does promise that nothing can separate us from His love.
- Take a break from the news.
Knowledge is power — however, there can be too much of a good thing. Briefly, stay informed through credible sources. Then get back to life: coffee with friends, nature, hobbies … things that bring joy.
Being people of hope in a world of anxiety doesn’t mean our circumstances will change; it means our hearts must change. “We may still be a sorrowful people — burdened, broken, and beaten up — but we will not be cynical people. We are a people of hope.” ~ Scott Hubbard, “Begin to Hope Again”
Want more? Read He Still Moves Stones and Where Is God?, listen to Focus on the Family’s broadcast “Who Is the Author of Your Faith?,” and take a look at Focus’ booklet “Parenting in the Midst of Tragedy.”