If 2020 was rough, then it’s probably safe to say that 2021 worked us over. For so many people around the globe, the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic was more than just a shift to remote working. For many it meant job loss, financial crisis, sickness, death, and everything in between. In the wake of the pandemic, we have seen a lot of content pushing us toward “self-care,” as a way to get above the madness of the era. We’ve been hearing that a good skin care routine and a few $30 candles are all you need in order to finally relax, quiet your mind, and get your happy back.
Well, if you bought the moisturizer and burned those candles down to their metal bottoms, and you still feel bad – I promise that you are not alone.
A study from Boston University showed that rates of depression in the U.S. tripled when the pandemic hit, and have continued to steadily increase… with 1 out of 3 adults being affected.
If we are honest, the global church has, historically, not prioritized mental health. We have chalked people’s issues up to addiction, hidden sin, and the catch-all demonic influence. The reality is, while those things are real (and sometimes accurate) causes, depression and anxiety are still very real (read: not imagined).
Many things lead us here. It was, for lack of better phrasing, a perfect storm. The pandemic sent us home; which meant many of us were stuck in a confined space next to people that we may or may not get along with. Substance abuse went up, domestic violence rates when up, social media usage went up… and none of those things lead to healthier minds.
So, what is a believer to do amid a situation that says if we haven’t lost our minds yet, we soon will?
I suggest we tighten our grip on Jesus… and reality.
The way through this thing is faith. But I’m not talking about a blind, lazy faith that simply hopes and refuses move. I’m talking about a whole, fully activated faith that propels us from the clutches of an enemy that is determined to take us out.
Let’s break it down:
- Our activated faith will require us to assess our situation (Romans 4:19)
– We cannot pretend this thing isn’t happening around us. The world is on fire… and the embers are blowing into our communities and our homes. Whatever state you find yourself in today, acknowledge it.
- Our activated faith will require a shift in focus (Hebrews 11:26-27; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Philippians 3:13)
– Once you have taken stock of your situation, you need to look UP… and stay up! We cannot get pulled in by the wiles of social media, the influence of the news media or anything else. When God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, Abraham acknowledged that they both were old and the promise seemed improbable. But he shifted his mind to focus on the fact that God had the power to do what He promised. We must make the same shift.
- Our activated faith will require a change in behavior (Numbers 13; Matthew 8; Luke 8)
– The activation of our faith, more often than not, is lived out in the middle of our tests. Remember that Caleb and Joshua refused to give in to the hopelessness of those around them; they believed God could do what He said. Remember that the Centurion told Jesus there was no need for Him to come to his home; He believed Christ could heal anything from anywhere. And remember that Jesus never got the chance to grant healing to the woman with the issue of blood; her faith took the healing for her.