The year 2020 will probably go down in history as a bad one. We all know why. The pandemic. Shelter-in-place orders. Isolation. Deaths of people we know and love from COVID-19.
We’re just past the mid-point of this awfully difficult year, but we don’t have to surrender the next six months to the trash can of time. We can proclaim a mid-year reset.
But how do we do that when so much is out of our control? Disease. Death. Grief. We cannot dictate the outcome of our lives.
I declared a mid-year reset last year. I drew a line in the sand at July 1st. I’d been battling depression, the result of a relationship that was neither totally dissolved nor solidly intact. Uncertainty is one of the greatest foes of humanity. Sometimes a final goodbye feels better.
As a species, humanity is squirming under the force of uncertainty this year. Will we get sick? Will our spouse, a parent, a child? When can we go back to work? Will we be sent home again?
As individuals, we’ve tried to wiggle free and wrest power back. Some people try to regain a sense of control by following all the government rules and by scolding those who do not toe the line.
Others have venomously defended a right not to wear a mask and to gather in as many numbers as they wish, wherever they wish. Each is trying to cope with loss of control.
These coping skills may work temporarily, but I suspect in quiet of moments alone, we feel the unsettling sense of being powerless. We tucked it in a dark corner.
It’s a kind of grief we’re in, not knowing what to expect from life. It happens when we mourn a death, a job or a routine.
How do we cope with loss of control in a healthy manner? I’m using these five keys:
Be watchful – We’re vulnerable right now. We’ll likely run to our base coping skills. Being mindful of our tendencies and digging deep into our motives is critical.
Be defiant – Challenge the fears that come knocking. You cannot snap your fingers and say “fear, be gone,” but apply reason to the negative messages inundating you.
Be mournful – Yes, grieve. Process what is lost, or what has been lost temporarily. We may have legitimate fears. And anger, sorrow, etc. Allow yourself to feel and grieve.
Be strategic – Make a plan. A whole lot may not be under our control, but some simple things are. Pick a project. And position yourself for the day when uncertainty subsides.
Be courageous – Reach down for the fighter in you and up for strength from God. Dare to dream. Dare to stretch out to embrace a new attitude or routine.
Last month, I realized I’d fallen back into some old, unhealthy ways of coping. Sometimes it can be hard to admit that we’re not being our better selves. But when we recognize what we are doing, we engage our minds. Instead of reacting, we are deciding how we will respond.
A couple of weeks later, I picked weight loss as a project. That may sound like a set-up for failure, but I recalled I had intentionally and successfully lost weight when feeling the victim of an illness in 2017. I felt more in control of my life by control what went into my mouth.
Obviously, this can be taken to the extreme. Obsessive thinking about losing weight would be an unhealthy way to cope. That’s where continued watchfulness comes into play.
Your project may be a do-it-yourself job around the house, revamping your resume or writing a letter or email to friends and acquaintances who need an encouraging word. Maybe all that’s just too much for you now. Consider committing to a daily walk or reading a book of the Bible.
I think this year is still redeemable. By being intentional with a chunk of our world that is pretty much under our command, we also can draw a line in the sand mid-year. We can begin again.
Do you need a reset today? You can draw a line in the sand anytime – mid-year, mid-week or mid-day. What project or routine will you adopt today to breathe new life into your soul?
Copyright © 2020 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. www.tonilepeska.com
Leave a Reply