I recently realized something. When this COVID19 pandemic started in January, I wrote an article about it for a health publication. This was before the mandatory stay-at-home orders, before positives swept the nation, before the social distancing orders, before the masks, and before the churches closed, and opened again. I followed this virus from its beginning, doing my own research and drawing my own conclusions. As the media picked up the story, though, I started following the news.
If no news is good news, why do we continually torture ourselves with headlines?
I’ve noticed that more and more Christians are following the pandemic and everything that seems to come with it. First, we were given the choice to self-isolate. Then it was mandatory. First, businesses were encouraged to close (and given incentives to do so), then it was mandatory. First, churches were required to close along with everything else, then allowed to open as long as only a certain number of people can attend. Schools were closed abruptly, and now they’ll be opened with new mask guidelines, and many students are homeschooling and doing online schooling.
There is a lot of talk and a lot of fear about end times as we seem to be in the midst of chaos.
Sometime mid-July I stopped obsessing over the news, and this is what happened.
When I stopped watching the news obsessively, clicking on link after link on social media, something amazing happened.
Instead of looking for headlines, I looked for professionals. Instead of talking to people about the biggest, newest piece of trauma in the news, I began to talk to people about their lives (sometimes finding out their trauma). Instead of stressing about exactly what the world decided I should stress about, I began to hope for the things the Lord told me to hope for.
When I no longer focused on end times as the end, I began to see end times as only the beginning.
The world says that we should be interested in the feud between this royal and that royal. We should be awash in anxiety as mystery packages arrive from China. We should be watching every Facebook Live our state governor and President Trump puts on. We should worry as much as necessary to keep the virus at bay, but not too much so as not to let our worry press into someone else’s freedom.
When we stop focusing on the news and what we’re supposed to feel about it, we end up thinking about what’s best for our own families. Is it difficult to focus on good things when we’re focused on all the bad things?
Refocus the mind:
With less focus on the news, I’ve had time to do other things–things that refocus my mind on the Lord and the good things that are to come. Here are my favorites: