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Coping With Our New Normal

(By Rachel Joyce)

Watercolors painted by our family during self isolation.

Social distancing. Self-isolation. Self-quarantine. Our lives are drastically different than they were a few weeks ago. As we spend our days within our own four walls and have less interaction with others, there are fewer distractions; we come face-to-face with ourselves and all of our unresolved issues and internal struggles. We chafe at the stillness and seek to cope as best as we know how—some healthy ways and others not so much. Sometimes we choose numbing, hiding from our pain and problems by immersing ourselves in something else, in any of its various forms: workaholism, alcohol, drugs, binge-watching, incessant reading, overeating, excessive exercising, shopping, etc. But in this COVID-19 world, where we are more restricted and more alone than ever before, we need healthy ways of dealing with the fear and dealing with what we face when we are alone with ourselves. We all have baggage from the past. This world is scarred by sin and shame, and we are no different. Often, we hide our scars, but they are there. And the more time we spend alone without distractions, the harder they are to deny. Before COVID-19 hit, we were so busy and our lives so distracted, but now we have time. Now we have the stillness our souls need to face the turmoil within and work towards peace. 

Watercolor by Janneylee Ceja.

Our Bible study group has been doing Sheila Walsh’s book, In The Middle Of The Mess and it has been such a blessing. In this morning’s lesson, she gave us a task: write out all the lies you have believed on sticky notes and then cut them up, throw them in the garbage, and choose to believe God’s truth over the lies. I thought for a bit, then started writing. And once I began, it was as though a dam had burst. The lies were pouring out onto the little yellow pages: you are not enough, you are too much, you’re unlovable, you can never quite get it right, you’re not good enough, and on and on it went. I couldn’t believe how many lies I’d been battling. As I sliced each yellow sheet with my pink scissors, I spoke truth over them. Snip. I am loved. Snip. God delights in me. Snip. In Christ, I am enough. Truth for every lie. Truth to stabilize my heart. Truth to lead me to victory. Truth to guide me to that wide-open place that God has prepared for me. I choose to renounce every lie and stand in God’s truth. He alone has the right to speak over my life. He alone can define me. I’m thankful for this time of quiet, this time when I have the opportunity to face what is within and allow the truth of God to redefine me. I pray for each of you, that you will choose to cope in healthy ways, to let God work. He has incredible plans for each of us. He saved us so that we could be made whole, a living testament of the grace of Almighty God working in and through us. May we all submit to His work within us so that we can be made whole, continually made more and more into the image of our precious Lord and Savior.  Whether we are simply social distancing or whether we need to self-quarantine, may God help us to allow Him to work within us, to purge the lies and replace them with the truth. My prayer for each of us is the same as the apostle Paul’s:

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:19-20).


Here's a closer look at our family's watercolor pictures:


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