This was written by a missionary organization for a wider audience a couple of months after the first Covid-19 vaccines were developed.
Holds up well.
Below, from the MISSION RESOURCE NETWORK.
"First, we need to accept that no one is their best self right now and be gracious."
The past year has been hard, and no one is at their best. Grief, loss, and fear have been all around us. We are coming out of the storm shelter and surveying the damage even while the threat of the storm is still around us. We are sad, scared, and angry. The level of bad behavior from typically good and reasonable people has been at an all-time high. We aren’t sure what to do with all that now. We can blame social media, news sources, or politicians. We can even filet the failures we can all easily see in whatever religious tradition we are angry at today. There is always plenty of blame to go around and we do need to address the channels by which misunderstanding, selfishness, and hatred are spread. But these are all complicating factors more than sources. Even if we get all the blame allocated properly, we have not fixed anything.
Comparative Stress Levels Before and During the Pandemic Stress levels chart source: Grabia, Monika, et al. “The Nutritional and Health Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Patients with Diabetes Mellitus.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 30 Sept. 2020, www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/10/3013#cite.
What can we actually do to make things better?
How do we navigate such times? Is there any way to restore some sanity and develop a new normal that can begin to feel more predictable? I think there are steps we can take, though they may sound like platitudes on first impression.
Before I get to that, I want to make a couple of observations.
In February, I was with Andy Johnson, who leads our missionary care ministry, as he conducted a missionary care lab with a church in Alabama.
At one point, a lightbulb beamed over my head as he talked about stress baselines for missionaries.
He explained that all of us have a level of manageable stress before we freak out and break down.
Most people start their typical day at a 1 or 2 on a 10-point scale. They can deal with a 7- or 8-point swing of stress without redlining and losing their composure. But people who are living cross-culturally, where everything is strange and challenging, start their days at a 5 or 6. A 6-point swing pushes them over the top into total meltdown.
(I wake up SCREAMING every morning because Liz Tarlau Weingarten and that lunatic Marine can see my vagina, and this without a break or refuge, or actual medical care, since 1997.
ONLY GASLIGHTING AND PUSSY LEER SUBSERVIENCE.
YES, I CAN BE TOUGHER AND SO I SHALL BE.
JOIN ME IN ASKING THE WORLD TO GET RID OF EVERYONE WHO LAUNCHED THE JENNIFER SHOW WITHOUT A PRIVATE INTERVIEW CONCERNING WHAT HAD REALLY HAPPENED IN SINGAPORE.
I WILL NEVER COOPERATE WITH ANYONE WHO ENABLED MY STEPFATHER AND CLASSMATES TO LEER AT MY PUSSY OR STEAL MY STORY STACK BECAUSE THEY WERE CURIOUS.
IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO COOPERATE WITH TERRORISTS!
MY SITUATION REQUIRED A PW AND A GRIP.
The embezzling abusers didn't know either.
They also lied to Mike Bloomberg.
That whole sick and slick Dartmouth cabal.
NO INTAKE INTERVIEW. NO NORMAL...THIS IS GREAT WORK. How did you do it? How can we help you do more stories like this? What is it you are so worried about?
(Uh, my mother! I also think Andrew Farley is stalking me and in communication with her. He constantly threatened to kill me and my father during our non-marriage, into which I had entered into with a clean slate and the very best of intentions. I came to think he had neither. I also exited in a VERY reasonable manner, but maybe I now need to talk to Halliburton...)
NOTHING ABOUT THE ATTACK IN SINGAPORE.
ANDREW FARLEY AND MARY WOODSON CROWELL DECIDED TO STEAL AT THE START!
AS DID LOUD & PROUD.
The Marine whore's THEN-WIFE SENSED THE EXTREME INTEREST, NOTICED THE SLIGHT RESEMBLANCE, AND PUSHED HIM FURTHER INTO ERROR QUICKLY.
There is no shortage of pretense and jealousy in American women, and I'd say the Ivies have minted some truly awful case studies.
See Jo Golub. Also Lucy Vanderbilt and Kerry Mullett!
THIS WAS A SECURITY BREACH, and BECAUSE IT HAPPENED, WORSE MISTAKES FOLLOWED.)
As I heard that, I realized that everyone in pretty much the whole world has been living with an elevated stress baseline for over a year.
Just ordinary life stress easily becomes overwhelming.
When that happens, we lose the capacity for good judgment and our negative responses are escalated. COVID-19 has strapped a booster rocket to every concern we have. We redline rapidly and the outrage just spirals. Add the jet fuel of limitless media and everyone’s worst impulses get broadcast, and once out there, we feel obligated to defend our dignity.
We polarize and then we pulverize.
But we don’t realize that we crossed the stress management threshold and we are now not really ourselves - and neither is anyone else. What we have been seeing is not people at their best or even at their norm.
The extreme displays we have seen this past year may not have happened in a more typical year.
Be careful drawing conclusions about people and problems based on this skewed data. Second, we need to be aware that fear makes people foolish so we can stop responding to thoughtless reactions.
Neurologists and brain researchers have discovered that when the brain stem region, that manages fear, gets highly activated, the frontal cortex of the brain, which manages higher processes like rational thought and creativity, shuts down. Fear and anxiety make us stupid. We are reduced to fight, flight, or freeze modes. So, we have attacked each other, avoided each other, or experienced debilitating paralysis. What can we do about this? This may sound overly simplistic but here are some suggestions. One, breathe. Breathe deeply. Accompany deep breathing with very simple prayers such as, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.” Recite the Lord’s prayer or hum a familiar hymn. Deep breathing is a way to signal to our bodies that we are not under threat so we can calm down. Engage your body in practices of calming and centering before God. Start your day with this and build it into your routine at various times during the day. Two, unplug. Release yourself from the need to know everything and comment on everything. Your heart and mind were not designed to manage all the evil and every threat that’s in the world. The fearful mind is prone to create or accept fanciful narratives or conspiracy theories that explain all the evil around us. Don’t go down those rabbit holes. Let go and let God. Be where you are, pray, and trust God to manage things beyond your influence. Three, slow down. Don’t react. Don’t reply quickly, or maybe at all. Pray over what you say or put out into the world, and don’t send things out that God hasn’t given you peace to release. Four, go outside. Take a walk. It’s Spring. Reflect on how God’s power to give life always breaks forth new after the cold hard days. Get out of your head and out of “the issues,” and be a mere creature in God’s good creation moving toward re-creation and ultimate transformation. Read Romans 8:18ff and keep the promises there before you, longing for the glory to come. Five, remember your Bible. Reflect on the hard days before the flood and the new life after. Remember the Egyptian enslavement and exodus. Remember the exile and then the return. Remember the cross and then the resurrection. God has rescued his people over and over again. He has overcome much worse. We are safe in his hands. His salvation is yet coming. Finally, reconnect.
Talk to real people, in person.
As the pandemic lifts, get back into real communities.
You were not made for an online life.
You have a body.
(Below is a classic Christian message, so skip if that's not your thing. The preface is pretty generic. Even the fake people who are now calling themselves Freemasons and terrorizing their neighbors through wildly illegal gangstalking programs that were deployed by less talented rivals right at the beginning of the widespread adoption of the Internet have to profess to believe in some kind of higher power. The ones who are eagerly trying to monetize any contact with me and flex by claiming they are making themselves useful...you only help by improving yourself and other things you CAN control. For example, being reliable, and keeping your home and property tidy. I suggest home improvements as a regular task and pupose.
YES I AM NOW ENTIRELY READY IN ON GANGSTALKING.
THAT THIS WEAPON WAS DEPLOYED AGAINST ME TRACKS ENTIRELY TO GREED AND A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF WORKPLACE AND OTHER SAFETY CONTROLS.
NEVER ANYWHERE WAS IT INTENDED FOR JACK WEINGARTEN TO RIP OFF BEN WOODSON.
SIMILARLY, THE DISCOVERY OF THE SERIOUS ACCOUNTING FRAUDS BEST EXEMPLIFIED BY ENRON...
TRAITORS FROM WITHIN THWARTED EARLY DISCOVERY.
THE BROTHERHOOD MADE A SERIOUS MISTAKE.
WHATEVER WAS GOING ON IN AN INTERFACE BETWEEN ESPIONAGE AND FBI WAS BOUGHT and CAPTURED.
BY THE WRONG PLAYERS.
THE PEOPLE WHO NEEDED TO BE SURVEILLED WERE NOT BEING WATCHED.
HOW DR. ROBERT CROWELL MANAGED TO PULL THE CRAP HE DID....
WELL, JUST GET ANSWERS NOW.
I AM OKAY. HOUSE IS BETTER EVERY DAY, AND I AM STRONGER AND THINNER.
THIS IS WITHOUT ANYTHING RADICAL.
I WOULD SUGGEST AVOIDING VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES AND STAYING AWAY FROM ONLINE PORN.
PORN IS NOT HARMLESS!
THERE IS SOMETHING EXTREMELY WRONG WITH THE FLOOD OF NUDE IMAGES.
ALSO THE EXTREME DEVALUATION OF ANYTHING REASONABLE AS LEADERSHIP IN SCHOOLS.
I CAN'T FIX IT BUT I CAN NOT BE A CONSUMER AND CONTINUE TO POINT OUT THAT THE BELOVED AMERICAN GENERAL MODEL WAS SPECIFICALLY ATTACKED BY CRIMINALS PRETENDING TO BE "FRIENDS.")
You need the body of Christ. You need community. I know online church is easy, but it is always artificial. You need something more tangible as soon as it is possible. This is a time to practice surrender and faith. You are not your normal self, and neither is anyone else as we all deal with stacked stressors. Our patience is spent. Our judgment is distorted. Our emotions are elevated. Our reactions are untrustworthy. So, trust yourself less. Remember that God has managed far worse and is still trustworthy. Accept his grace and give it to others.
This is not Armageddon.
If it were, you would be powerless to do anything but trust God anyway.
You cannot control outcomes, but if you surrender to God’s peace, you can become a non-anxious presence that functions like a shock absorber instead of a power-transformer that ramps up the voltage of all the shocks around you.
Would you like to read more about this stress? An article from our missionary care blog, The Messenger, will tell you more. Click here to read it and click here to subscribe to this monthly missionary care article.
We also have a few related videos for you to explore:
Below, from Medium.
The toxic personality types that ruin every relationship.
"Goodness is the only investment that never fails."HENRY DAVID THOREAU