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There aren’t any stories in the Bible about people sitting on leather couches while talking to professionals about self-actualization. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t interested in our well-being. God loves and cares about us, and that obviously includes our souls, bodies, and minds.

The Bible is full of stories about people under great duress. Job, David and Paul come to mind. Psalm 88 (NIV) ends like this: “You have taken from me friend and neighbor—darkness is my closest friend” (verse 18). When you think darkness is your closest friend you are clearly not in a great place.

My gut tells me that, in the midst of COVID-19, most people are experiencing more strain than they’re used to, or perhaps more than they think they are.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing limits many of our usual activities and the interaction we have with others—things which can be a consistent source of encouragement or joy. We may also be somewhat limited in the amount of professional help we can easily access. Someone recently told me after their online small group that it was good—but wasn’t quite the same as sitting beside a brother or sister in Christ.

In all of it, what is clear is that you need to be proactive—not just reactive—about your well-being.

I’m not a psychotherapist. I’m a pastor. And from my vantage point here are a few things you can do to be proactive:

  • Limit non-stop news (you can’t mentally sustain panic-mode indefinitely)
  • Get a decent amount of rest
  • Get your body moving
  • Be mindful of your diet (I’ve been snacking a lot, so I need to work on this one!)
  • Adopt a realistic approach to social media (not only when it comes to usage, but also about the ‘realistic-ness’ of what you’re seeing)
  • Reach out to trusted friends and lean on each other
  • Cut yourself some slack (we’re going through a global pandemic for goodness sake; stop beating yourself up for not “having it all together”)

But most of all we need to fix our eyes on Jesus like never before.

Fix your eyes on Jesus

The basics like prayer, Bible-reading, worship and simple acts of service are huge. Recently I listened to an interview with John Lennox, the British mathematician, philosopher and apologist. He said that the world can give us medicine, but only God can give us peace. This is a peace that is real, deep and enduring. And it is something we get specifically through knowing Jesus. He is:

  • The “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Our peace with God (Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 2:14; John 14:6)
  • The one whose peace surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)
  • The one whose peace is different from anything else and which combats fear (John 14:27)
  • The one who can rule in our hearts with peace (Colossians 3:15-16)

He is also our rest (Matthew 11:28), hope (1 Timothy 1:1), and rescue (John 3:16).

Let’s be honest. No one really knows how this is all going to wash out. Things could return to something like “normal” fairly soon, or we could be in this boat for a lot longer.

That’s why we need to be proactive—not just reactive—about our well-being.

I’ve talked to many people who have—for whatever reason, at some point in their lives—come to the stark conclusion that they weren’t “fine.” Something I’ve noticed is that people tend to be “fine” until they aren’t fine. And when you start to not be fine, darkness can quickly ripple through your life.

I know because I’ve been there.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re feeling the strain. It’s not because you’re weak, unfaithful or faulty. It’s because you’re a human being and things are seriously messed up.

So be proactive:

  • Limit non-stop news
  • Get a decent amount of rest
  • Get your body moving
  • Be mindful of your diet
  • Adopt a realistic approach to social media
  • Reach out to trusted friends and lean on each other
  • Cut yourself some slack
  • And fix your eyes on Jesus—our source of peace, rest, hope and rescue.

In You’ll Get Through This, writer and pastor Max Lucado says this about God: “He wants not only your whole heart; he wants your heart whole.” For him, for the people you care about, and for you.