Although I miss many things during these Corona-times, there are very few things I can’t live without, except for one. I just want a hug. I want to hug all those who are hurting. When I bump into a sister in faith in the store, I just want to embrace her to let her know she is loved. Instead, we get to stare at each other with tears in our eyes. By nature, I am a healer, caretaker, fixer, and a helper. Physical touch is not my first love language, but I miss it terribly.
This pandemic has been a greedy thief. We will study the repercussions for years to come, some of which I have discussed in this previous post. The one thing I’ve missed the most in the last few months has been physically embracing a loved one in times of celebration and distress. Scientists have determined that when you receive a hug, your brain releases Oxytocin – the happy hormone, which reduces the effect of stress hormones and lowers your blood pressure. Furthermore, Psychologists have shown that hugging can improve your immune system, reduce pain and reduce fear and anxiety. Virgina Satir believes “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
But during a global pandemic, a hug can be fatal.
The last few weeks have been awfully hard for me. My grandmother passed away and we had to arrange a pandemic-regulated funeral for her. We had to invite a very limited amount of people to the funeral (who wants to be invited to a funeral); we couldn’t sing in the service; we had to stream the service virtually and, worst of all, we could not hug or physically console each other.
A week after the funeral my parents had to put our 16-year-old family Dachshund down after her suffering became unbearable for everyone to witness. Once again, we could not hug each other or physically support my parents through another devastating loss.
On top of that, some of our best friends have been diagnosed with COVID, which brings the reality of the virus close to home. We had a scare at work, and it has been stressful to try and juggle responsibilities with one less staff member. Fortunately, this was a false alarm – but the stress is very real. And we can’t hug those infected or visit them for comfort.
Amongst the chaos, I am still trying to lose weight, follow a healthy diet, and achieve, achieve, achieve… As you can imagine, it is all too much. I feel like I’m going to lose my mind, instead of excess kilos.
Fortunately, I have been blessed with two sources of truth to embrace me in this time.
Embraced by the Helper from above
The Holy Spirit has been pouring into my heart, time and time again, a Bible verse or hymn with a variation of the words “be still”. Exodus 14:14 has been the most common verse I’ve come across in the last few weeks. In this chapter, the Israelites are standing at on the shore of the Red Sea with the Egyptians chasing after them, and Moses encourages them with the words “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”
Being still is not my natural state. I’m a worker bee – always striving and working to make things better, fix things, do my best.
But there is nothing more I can do.
I must learn to be still. I must allow the Lord’s peace to embrace me, so He can do the fighting.
(I discussed the role of fear in this time of quarantine in this post.)
Other verses I’ve pondered and meditated on to enforce His ability enfold me and restore peace are found all over Scripture.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!Psalm 37:7
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Romans 12:12
The helper by my side
My second teacher is my Prince Charlie.
One afternoon I came home emotionally and physically exhausted after a day’s work and pandemic panic. I just needed a hug from the only person whom I’m allowed to embrace. Instead, I was chastised with a typical “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” speech, trying to fix the broken situation. He took me through my thought process, from initial thought to fearful response, and helped me to ground myself with the Truth before my anxious thoughts took over, and eventually becomes unbearable. It was not what I wanted to hear, but perhaps what I needed at that moment.
Practically, I have decided to re-evaluate my habits to see where I can make space to be still. I will try to wake up earlier, do some Bible Study and write in my gratitude journal, before doing my workout. I have been a bit lazy and cold in the mornings, and have worked out after work recently, but have realized that I need these endorphins to start my day. I will try to be more patient with myself, more understanding of my shortcomings and the goals I just can’t achieve right now. I should probably write down my fears and work through them as Carl has encouraged me, as well as exploring the “And then” question.
About a year ago we had a service where our Chief Apostle explained that we should never be afraid as children of God. He used the word from Jeremiah 17:7-8 as a guide for how we should trust the Lord in all circumstances. If we are in a dire situation, we should ask the question: “And then?” and keep asking and answering this question with the worst-case scenario.
For example, I am afraid of someone getting sick at work.
We’ll have to close the business.
It will go very badly financially.
We will have to work hard to recover from such a loss or lose everything.
We will be stronger for it and have an opportunity to change.
Even death or disease can be reasoned through in this way, the ultimate answer to the final “And then?” is: We will be with Jesus.
This answer removes all fear and worries about the future. Because no matter what treacherous road we might have to walk to get there, through this crisis or the next, the final answer is: As children of God, we will be in His Kingdom, spending eternity with Jesus.
What fear can touch this reality?
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.Philippians 1:6
This is how the Lord hears our silent prayers – even the ones we do not even know we are praying. This is how he embraces us with his truth, that has more benefits than any physical hug we can ever receive.
Lord, hear my fears, hear my anxious thoughts, take hold of my anxiety.
Father, help me to be still so you can fight for me.
Please embrace me with Your Peace.
I have a special freebie for you! You can download wallpapers for your phone with these verses to remind you of the Truth of God’s love, and to help you Be Still in his presence.