Does Your Anxiety Have Anxiety?

I am so thankful that two weeks ago, while, I normally just buy a 8-count roll of toilet paper, a little voice said, just get the big one this time. Jealous? Okay. We obviously have a sickness that is endangering many people. We are called to be cautious. I can understand people sharing articles that pass on vital information. I can understand that people need to be informed of who is at risk. What I do not understand is why people are sharing the articles that promote fear and anxiety over the Corona virus. It is not helpful to anyone to elevate news mediums that continue making their money off of exploiting our emotions and inducing panic. And everything nowadays has to be political. This stupid virus still hasn’t kept political sides from spreading nastiness and hatred. Ugh! Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t stand politics, so that is all I will say about that.

Someone posted that we should not go out with our kids, otherwise there is no point in closing schools. Hmm…alright. So we need to shut our doors, stay inside, and live in fear until the virus dies down? What exactly is this teaching our kids? We may as well board up our windows, right? We should take vitamin D supplements, for lack of sunshine, (that is until the grocery store runs out of those too). But, wait, doesn’t the Bible say “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (Proverbs 27:12) Yes, it does, but it also says, “The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). So, yes, take precaution, but you don’t need to withdraw your life savings and spend it on toilet paper over a respiratory infection that might infect you.

Based on the level of hysteria that is going on, it is adding a lot more anxiety to many people. I know I am not the only one that feels this craziness is giving my anxiety, anxiety. What are YOU sharing on social media? Messages of hope, or messages of negativity and outrage? Granted, I have laughed uproariously at some of the memes highlighting the ridiculousness of the situation. Some may say it is bad taste, because of the people suffering. Whether it is single digits or hundreds of infections, yes, those lives matter. But at least laughter is better than dwelling on fear of the future. I am not denying the seriousness of the virus. I don’t even expect everyone to agree with me, but my faith instructs me NOT to live in fear, and my belief is that if we don’t give into fear, the panic will dwindle and peace will overcome.

I know my fellow mamas out there have anxiety, and now that a threat of sickness is looming, it is not making our job any easier. Now, in addition to the anxiety of raising our kids and keeping house, and keeping up with jobs, we need to make sure our kids are washing their hands correctly. Maybe if you are extra anxious, you have created a hand-washing schedule. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I wish I could be that committed. Our heads pop off the pillow in the middle of the night if we hear a sniffle or cough, because, what if? We are hanging onto our Clorox wipes like they are precious gold bars. When our kids ask questions about what is going on, we need to put them at ease. Maybe some of their friends are spreading more panic into their little minds, or maybe they are scared by the crowds fighting over soap and toilet paper. Some of us might not feel prepared for this. It’s way too much, and now the pressure to self-quarantine you and your kids without symptoms is a pressure that is circulating on social media. I am not planning on keeping my kids cooped up. I will not let this fear overcome them. If they get sick, of course I will keep them home, but I am not going to teach them not to live life. If your kids are home from school for the next few weeks, and you do choose to stay home, please try not to let the screens take over as the only entertainment. Turn off the news and don’t allow the worry to spread any further. Read a fun fiction book that requires little brain focus. Walk around the block. Teach them how to bake something. Play games. Talk. Use this time to be a family and to grow closer.

I was in a play when I was in 6th grade, that was promoting awareness of many serious issues. My character had a monologue about a brother who was in a gang and how I was afraid to go to my own mailbox. This is the world we live in. Threats are always there. Anxiety is always there, but we need to stop using our technology to heighten it. My pastor shared statistics about what average people worry about. 70% is worry about things that might happen, but never will. 22% is worrying about the past. So, 92% of what we worry about are things we have no control over. Yes, by avoiding large crowds, we have the power to defeat the virus, but we also have the power to choose not to be afraid.

I am praying for our world. I am praying for those affected by the virus, whether they are infected, recovering, or are family members of those affected. Skeptics will say that it won’t do any good. Some may criticize me for not protecting my kids the way that the world is saying I should. God is still in the healing business. God is still in the miracle business and God is NEVER responsible for spreading fear.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet, a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
John 14:19 (ESV)

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