Fear and Control

Stores running out of food. Cities closing down. People losing jobs. Kids stuck at home.

This is the new reality. And honestly, it’s pretty scary.

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been constantly on the news since the first case was made known in China. As I sat in front of the TV listening to the news broadcast stories of panicked shoppers overwhelming grocery stores, I felt a tightness in my chest. The message not to panic seemed to only call for one thing: more panic.

I am blessed to live in a home where I do not need to worry about where my next meal will come from or if my shelves have enough toilet paper. God has blessed my parents as they have worked hard throughout the years. And yet, I feel overwhelmed facing the unknown of what comes next.

What if my parents get sick?
What if my grandparents get sick?
What if my school doesn’t decide to close down?
What if my school does decide to close down?
What if I don’t have enough time to get all of my things?
What if I never get the chance to say goodbye to my friends for the summer?
What if… what if… what if.

The unknown is a pretty scary space. It’s overwhelming and all-encompassing. It is easy to get lost in the questions and the possibilities. I can easily lose myself in the never-ending pit that the unknown holds.

Maybe once my school officially decides something, I can start moving.
Maybe once my state starts making calls for people to stay home, I can breathe.
Maybe once the cases come to a stop, I can stop worrying.
Maybe once I stop worrying, I can find peace.

Peace.

I try to find peace in control. I think that once I am in charge of what happens, nothing can surprise me. But I’ve found that the opposite is true. Control brings responsibilities. It brings stress. It brings a never-ending wheel of options and decisions and changes.

Control is limited.

It is impossible to for me to control every outcome and every change of every circumstance and human being. I have a hard enough time trying to control my own life. God knows that my search of control rarely, if ever, brings me to a peaceful state of mind.

So where am I looking for peace in the midst of all this fear? Will my school officials be able to bring me peace? Will my state be able to bring me peace? Will my government be able to bring me peace? Will anything on earth have the ability to bring a peaceful state of mind for all circumstances and all of time?

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

The Bible teaches that God is the ultimate source of all peace. By casting my anxiety on Him, I am fully trusting in His ability to handle all of the control (1 Peter 5:7). By focusing on all of the fear and the stress and the unknown, I am limiting myself from seeing Him work. This fear, this anxiety is overwhelming. But I have a perfect Father and Protector who offers to carry it all so I don’t have to.

A couple of days ago, I challenged myself to pause throughout the day to cast my fears back onto His shoulders. Starting at 8:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night, I prayed for a couple minutes every hour on the hour, praying that God will take my fears and carry them on His shoulders. Every hour, when I heard the clock chime, I would stop and pray, redirecting my thoughts away from everything going on and back onto His promise.

God has promised that He will carry our burdens. He can and does perfectly balance control and everything that comes with it. The challenge, then, is trusting Him enough to give Him my fears. Because I do not know what will happen next month, next week, tomorrow, or even an hour from now. Things are changing quickly and without warning. But God doesn’t want me to walk through this anxiety on my own. He wants to walk with me. And He wants to walk with you.

2020 has been the year of change. And I challenge you, as well as myself, to focus on changing our habits. Let this be the year we choose to trade our fear for trust and our search for control to a search of peace. We can choose right now, today, to focus on His promises and His steady shoulders. Will do you this with me?

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

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