How are you coping in this strange time of “lockown”? I know different countries have handled the coronavirus outbreak in different ways. Many have shut down some of their normal activities until the levels of infection are under control. Others, such as Sweden, have had a more relaxed approach keeping most things open and allowing their citizens to go about more or less as normal.
Here in the UK the lockdown continues, albeit we’ve been told we can go out now more than once a day for exercise. Schools are being told to prepare to open their gates again on June 1st after the half term holiday, but only for certain year groups. Many teachers, parents and teaching unions have expressed their reservations about these plans, being worried about the risks involved. On the other hand, businesses are getting desperate to open up again fearing the effects of a long lasting economic downturn. I don’t know how long the whole thing will go on. It seems like social distancing is here to stay for the forseeable future.
For me, each day is starting to feel like groundhog day. I do the same sorts of things every day, I walk around similar routes, changing it up a bit to add a little interest. My hair is starting to look a mess and I will be glad when the hairdresser can open up again!
Having more time is not always a good thing. For someone like me, it means more time to think, and thinking often leads me to dwell on difficult or dark subject matter. As a Christian, I continue to read God’s word and to pray, but perhaps there are not enough distractions throughout the day to keep my mind still. A few weeks ago my mind was like a raging torrent, and I felt like I was drowning in all the thoughts. I knew I needed some help to cope with that.
A book which my brother once bought me came to mind, by David Powlison. It’s called “Seeing With New Eyes – Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture”. I remembered that this book had proved helpful in the past, and I wasn’t disappointed this time, either. Chapter 4 is called “Peace, Be Still: Psam 131” and goes through each line of that Psalm encouraging us to trust in the Lord rather than trying to work everything out for ourselves. The Psalmist had learned to compose and quieten his soul just like a weaned child on his mother (v2).
When I get stuck thinking about difficult things, it can sometimes feel impossible to get onto the “dry land” of peace and quiet. I had to cry out to Jesus, just as the disciples did in the storm on the lake, and ask him to save me. Thankfully, He answered my prayer and through studying this Psalm and reading the book I was able to return to a much calmer state of mind.
I hope that you too may know His peace and calm within your souls at this uncertain time.
Oh LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and marvellous for me. But I have calmed and quietened my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Oh Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Psalm 131