Written by Tami Boesiger
I have no control over my office being closed, no say over shutdowns or school years being scrapped. No one asked my opinion about quarantines or considered my family’s circumstances when deciding how long to extend social distancing policies. I can’t erase missed days of work or smaller paychecks for anyone that I love. I can’t even predict when this strange time will end.
But I still have choices. And so do you. Exercising those choices may help us feel more strength, more autonomy, more agency in our lives. If we felt like we had control of something, maybe we’d feel less helpless. What might happen if we focused our attention on what we can do, instead of what we can’t? Consider the choices you still have.
You can choose your mindset.
Where will you let your mind dwell, on uncertainty and fear, or on what you know to be true for this day? Acknowledge your losses and grieve them but know the truth. This will not last forever. Decide who you want to be. Will you look after or check in on others or dwell in your worries? Will you recognize the tremendous stress on our authorities or complain about the government? Think about how you can bring glimmers of hope and positivity. Avoid the gloom and doom, because how does that help anyone? Choose a mindset that eases your anxiety, not one that feeds it. No one can dictate your mindset. You get to choose it.
You can choose your language.
In your efforts to set a good attitude, be careful how you speak, using words that instill hope, instead of anxiety. Replace terms like COVID crisis or pandemic with COVID situation or hiatus. Think of quarantine as an opportunity rather than a burden. Consider what can you accomplish in this unique time, not how you’re stuck in the water. View time at home as an oasis from busyness instead of a curse or inconvenience. Using positive language is a choice that will help your mood.
You can choose how you will spend your time.
Get moving, exercising control over your body. Find inventive ways to connect with others. Get that nasty closet cleaned out or take food to someone vulnerable to the virus. Catch up with friends. Take advantage of extra time for self-reflection and rejuvenation. Show the day who is boss! Knowing you control the course of your hours reminds you of your freedom. Take charge of your time.
You can choose to believe God is in control.
Remember God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. He is not oblivious to what is happening around us. Believe him, trust him, lean into him. Know that he sees you, hears you, sustains you. Let his words in 1 Peter 5:10 soothe you, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Rest in the promise that he will restore us. Choose to believe it.
Exercise your choices, friends. Give yourself a boost of power in a really weird time. Control what you can and know we will get through this. One day at a time.