During this uncertain time, many people have struggled with their mental health. According to a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of Americans have reported that their mental health has been impacted negatively since our nation and our world has been overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have caused additional stress to most people. We have a plethora of things to be concerned and worry about. Take your pick from:
- The highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression
- Virtual home-schooling without adequate training or resources
- Price increases in food items and a shortage of items, like toilet paper
- A loss of loved ones and socially-distanced funerals
- Local businesses shutting down and limited store hours
Oh my! The list goes on.. and on…and on! There is no doubt that we have reasons to be stressed in this season. No wonder so many Americans are struggling with their mental health. The goal of this passage, however, is not to focus on the negative that is going on in our country.
What is going on with COVID-19 is beyond our control, so we have to accept and adapt to it. We teach our girls at CORRAL to embody innovation and grit. And, we would be remiss if we, as an organization, didn’t practice what we preach. As a community, what we can focus on is what IS IN OUR CONTROL. That is our mental health. Let’s stop for a moment and define the word mental health: Our emotional, psychological and social well being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also affects how we deal with stress, relate to others and make choices. When we are bombarded with negative stimuli in our lives, most people will internalize the negative stimuli and worry about it incessantly. If we focus on worrying about that negative stimuli for too long we can become consumed with those negative thoughts and become anxious about them; for some people, that can lead to depression and/or anxiety attacks.
I would like to submit for your consideration one simple thing to improve your mental health- PRAYER. I know it sounds really cliche for someone to say, “Pray about it.” But, I am not simply suggesting for you to pray about it. I am submitting the concept of what the bible refers to in 1 Peter 5:7 called “Casting your cares on Him.”
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1st Peter 5:7
We have the capability and right to take our burdens [all your cares of life] off our shoulders so that we don’t have to worry about them and instead, “cast” them on Jesus. He is much more capable of dealing with them than we are, and He is the only one who can do anything about them. The word cast means to throw something forcefully. If you really look at what Peter was referring to in this passage, he admonishes us to not lightly but forcefully take all your problems, worries and cares and throw them on Jesus because He cares for you. The word also tells us to not be “anxious” about anything because we have the confidence that we can give our requests (prayers) to him and He will answer.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:6-7
My favorite part of the passage is verse seven where it comforts us with the truth that we will have peace that surpasses our understanding and that His peace will guard our hearts and our minds. That means that even when it doesn’t make sense for you to have peace, you can have peace amid the storm. Isn’t that comforting to know? You can cast your cares on a God who cares and who can give you peace. When you have this type of assurance, you are able to manage your stress and weather the storms of life with more ease than ever before. This type of confidence in a supreme power will give you the strength to manage your stress and stabilize your mental health. It’s more than just “praying about the problem.” The key is to trust the problem solver to take care of them, so that you don’t have to. Peace to you my friends. Shallom.