How do we respond?
What worries you the most these days?
- Gun violence?
- The repeal of Roe v. Wade?
- The ongoing division in our country?
- Racial injustice?
- The war in Ukraine?
- Your own family concerns?
- Health issues?
There is an abundance of concerns right now in what feels like an ongoing unsettled time in our country. It’s hard to watch the news but it feels somewhat negligent to simply ignore everything going on. What to do?
I don’t have solutions for these complex, heart-rending problems. But I would like to offer some encouragement about tending to our mental and spiritual health while navigating these emotional challenges. I believe we must take care of ourselves so that we can engage in facing these issues and searching for positive solutions.
Here are some steps that might help.
- Name your fears. Make a list. Get it out of your head and onto paper (or a screen). Otherwise we keep rehashing the same worries; it’s like riding a never-ending rollercoaster of emptions.
- Acknowledge your concerns. They are real and they are valid. Ignoring the issues or pretending that they are not serious will not help. If part of your acknowledgment includes crying out to God and the universe, do it. Talking about our concerns opens up space in our spirits so that we can be renewed.
- Replenish your spirit. We are not alone. We don’t have to rely solely on our strength or wisdom. God promises never to leave us or abandon us. Seek God’s comfort and strength.
- Go to the well and drink deeply. God’s love is described as streams of living water (John 7). Our spirits are parched by a parade of bad news and heartbreaking events. Before we can address them, we must replenish our energy with God’s renewing hope.
What will that look like for you? How will you seek God’s love and be reminded of God’s presence? Will you sit quietly, go for a walk, read the Bible, journal, garden, meet with friends to talk and share? Try different ways of encountering God.
The problems of this generation will not improve without our efforts. We can remember a wise Jewish saying, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” With God’s help we will receive the strength and comfort we need to navigate each day filled with the reassurance that God is always with us.