So an interesting thing happened to me last week. It was a beautiful Spring day—just warm enough and super windy when some friends stopped by to help my Dad with a project. Being a people, person, I loved it! I like being around people, and it was so good to spend some time chatting my another woman. Plus, I really enjoyed watching their little boy’s enthusiasm for the project. (I love seeing life through the eyes of a child.) It wasn’t until they were about to leave that I had a little panic attack. As they were leaving they said that their granddaughter’s mother's boss’ cousin had the virus several weeks ago. Almost immediately, I felt my anxiety level rise. Okay, let’s be honest—I panicked as everything I’d read about contact tracing filled my mind with fear. What if they had the virus? What if we caught the virus? What if Jamie died of the virus and I was left all alone? As the “what-if’s” raced through my brain, I realized that I had to slam on the brakes, stop, and take a breath. The first thing I did was sit down and write the connects on a piece of paper. Somehow seeing how many people were between the person who got sick and our family made me realize my fears are ridiculous. (Jamie asked where Ken Bacon fit in because there were so many degrees in the connection.) We were probably in greater danger at Home Depot. As I forced myself to be logical, realize that my fear was illogical, especially because we were six feet apart and outside on a sunny day, an even more important truth settled in my heart: The day is coming (very soon) when we have to reopen. Life has to restart again. It’s time to get back into interacting with people without being afraid. People need to go back to work. It’s time to go back to church. We need to go out, enjoy life, and start returning to normal again. (Notice I said “normal” not a “new-normal”.) Obviously, I’m not talking about being crazy—-I’m a rules girl so you better believe I’m going to be following the government’s rules. (I’m not saying you have to—-that’s just who I am.) What I am saying is that I am realizing that we can’t let fear control our lives. As the Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) As we begin the reopening process, I think that one thing we all need is a sound mind. We need to remember that while it’s important to avoid doing stupid things (don’t lick doorknobs or sneeze on people’s groceries), we cannot let fear control our lives. We have to remember that as always, God controls the life of a believer. Nothing happens in our lives that He does not first approve. God controls when we live and when we die. We aren’t meant to live our lives hunkered down in fear of what might happen next. We were meant to live. So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get back into life. Will I wear a mask? Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, when it seems appropriate. Will I still be careful and wash my hands? Absolutely—-probably more than I need to. But I’m not going to let this virus steal summer from me. I’m not going to let it steal people from me. I like people—I want to be with them. I want to laugh and talk and share life with others. The fact is that even the government isn’t saying we need to stay home and avoid human contact. Even they say it’s time to reopen. For many of us, this will involve anxiety and a brush with fear. But here’s what I’m learning: even if fear may knock at our door, we don’t have to let it it. We can choose to live unafraid, to trust God, and to start reopening again. Here’s one last thing I’m learning: We have to be extremely patient with each other. Before last week I thought I was 100% gung-ho reopen already. After this experience, I realized I was going to have to wrestle through some issues and force myself to take some thoughts captive and determine to have a sound mind. Here’s what I’ve realized in the past week: almost every person is dealing with fear in one way or another. Some are afraid of losing their business—others are afraid of losing their health. Some people have pre-existing conditions. Others are standing in food lines or maxing out credit cards. This virus has raised everyone’s anxiety levels whether we realize it or not. In one form or another, we’re all battling between emotions and a sound mind. That’s why we need to give each other grace. We need to remember that everyone is dealing with something that is driving them to be passionate about which side of the issue they are on. As Christians, I truly believe that it’s important that we stop fighting on social media, stop arguing with those who disagree and start dealing with our own issues. Like Jesus said, we need to take the log out of our own eye before we try to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41-42) Before we try to “fix” everyone else, we need to take a good honest look at ourselves and ask: Am I being controlled by fear? What raises my anxiety levels? Is there a past trauma causing me to be a little unreasonable in my stance? Where do I need the Holy Spirit to help me have a “sound mind”? Perhaps as each of us deals with our own junk, we can stop the fighting and being so nasty to each other. Instead, as we overcome our own issues we can once again become people of grace, people of love, and people of faith who remember that God is in control and we are called to show His love to a world that is struggling to figure out how to reopen. That’s what I’m doing—-I’m working through my issues—-overcoming my fears—-and trying to give others as much grace as necessary while they do the same.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.