This is not a first-time global health threat. Polio. The plague. 10 million cases of measles in 2018 with 140,000 deaths. Influenzas of every type. And we have not yet vanished into thin air.

But the virus is taking a toll. Stress, fear, and doubt are working overtime to come against us. Many are suffering, and some will not survive.

What is different is that for many of us, this is our first real experience with something of this magnitude. In addition, we have 24/7  access to information – and misinformation. The frenzied news coverage of COVID-19 features more dire predictions by yet another expert and displays the ugly politicization of this health crisis.  It’s also been quite effective in clearing the shelves unnecessarily of sanitizer, toilet paper and more. The imposed social distancing, quarantines, and shelter in place restrictions cuts us off from others and magnifies the potential for panic – because we are wired by God for connection.

Connection is Powerful

We are experiencing a temporary time of isolation from all that is familiar – family, work, friends, and even worship service on Sunday. Our regular routine may be boring at times, but we find stability and comfort in our pattern – even if we occasionally complain about it! But we still have the power to choose connection. Check in with two friends a day – ask, “How are you?” and “How can I pray for you today?” Facebook Live, Skype, and call – the voice of a loved one or friend is an instant connection.

Gratitude is a Game Changer!

Gratitude is also powerful in every storm. Acknowledging the goodness of God and the moments of joy in your day results in hope and a positive shift.  Research suggests that the shift can be powerful enough to overcome stress, fear, and anxiety. To turn the tide against the mental and emotional impact of COVID-19, take time at the end of every day to find something—big or small—for which you are grateful. If it’s initially tough to do, hang in there; it gets easier. The Lord directs us to focus wisely. I believe we can re-wire our thinking when we “think on those things which are true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things,” Phillippians 4:8.

Once you’ve acknowledged 21 days of blessing, you’ll likely find a greater sense of peace and confidence in our great God which puts you on the path to overcome the anxiety of the moment.

I’d seen this quote (here below) in several formats the last day or two. It is simple and provides us a godly response to the situation. It also underscores the importance of staying connected thru a time of isolation.  My prayer is you, too, might be encouraged to refuse “solitary confinement” where the enemy speaks loudly of fear and hopelessness. Here’s the quote by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

“Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place.

Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.

Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”

SO . . . How about joining me for a COVID-19 Takedown Gratitude Challenge? I’ve created a printable page to get you started. Download it and make a week’s worth of copies. Then repeat twice to complete the 21-Day challenge.