If you are like me, you may have run a gamut of emotions these past few weeks: fear, panic, disappointment, uncertainty, anxiety, frustration, cynicism, distrust, overwhelm, stress, etc. And yet a phrase Elisabeth Elliot, the missionary and speaker, used to often say kept going through my head, “In acceptance lieth peace.”
I can be upset about the current situation – both in concern for keeping those I love from getting ill and in concern for giving up of my rights as those in authority put more limits on me – but in the end, I know God is the one in control. This means that all of this is His will for me (and you.) We need to go through this. So we need to accept our current circumstances, for “in acceptance lieth peace.”
As I turn my frustration and rebellion into trust and seeking an eternal perspective, I have peace. Also, instead of letting my feelings go wild with the anxiety and cynicism, I can instead seek to show submission to God’s will, compassion and service for others, and denying of self. And God does care for us and wants us to cast our anxiety upon Him.
“ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
During our confinement, what we need is to seek to keep the eternal perspective! How do we cope with not giving into feelings but keeping an eternal perspective?
Ways to Keep an Eternal Perspective
- First, make a choice to be in the Bible first thing in the morning! Don’t get on your cell phone and check all the latest news stories or social media posts; read God’s Word, the Bible! Have a family devotion in the evening, then read a Psalm or other Scripture before bed so that you “may lie down in peace.” (Psalm 4:8) Fill your head with the truth of God’s Word all day if possible.
- Spend more time in prayer! Pour out your frustrations and anxiety to God. Pray for those you know who are ill, for the immune-compromised to remain healthy, and for the morale of all of us who are stuck at home. Pray that God will use this crisis: to draw unbelievers to himself, to strengthen your faith, to strengthen the faith of other believers, etc.
- Be thankful. Instead of focusing on the things we are giving up, disappointed about missing, or cannot do, count your blessings! We can be thankful for a slower pace of activities, more family time, more time to be in the Word, refined focus about what’s important, simple pleasures like sunshine and daffodils blooming, things we usually take for granted like food and toilet paper, etc.
- Sing praise to God! Sing your favorite hymns or praise songs or sing along to music you like to listen to, even if you don’t like your voice. Singing will release some of our emotions and lifts our spirits more than simply listening to music.
- Listen to uplifting music. Music provides us with pleasure!
- Don’t watch the news or read news stories all day! Don’t spend all your time on social media reading other people’s fear and rants. These put our focus back on the crisis and do not help us keep an eternal perspective. Obviously, we need to know about closures or announcements like Stay-at-home Orders, so checking in once or twice a day may be necessary. But seriously, do some “social distancing” from social media and news!
- Keep a regular schedule. As home school moms, we’re used to being home a lot, but so many of our activities have been canceled too. It might be easy to get into a vacation mindset and do nothing, but we are not on vacation and there is nowhere to go. Both we and our children are getting stir crazy. Structure will keep us all sane! So make or keep a regular schedule with daily learning activities and reading.
- Get outside every day if you can. The sunshine and fresh air will do wonders for your spirits and help immunity. (Our Stay-at-home Order does have a provision for essential activities, which includes going outside for exercise.)
- Get exercise! Take a walk or run every day. Or if you can’t go outside, find an exercise video to go through each day or walk up and down your stairs multiple times in a row, do jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, etc. Do not just sit on the couch all day watching news and Netflix. Get your heart rate up and your blood pumping!
- Pour into your family and make memories together. Read, play games, bake, plant a garden, watch educational or fun videos, learn a new skill together… While this time is not a vacation, plan fun activities every few days so you all have things to look forward to.
- Reach out to others. Call or Facetime/video conference those who are alone, friends you miss seeing, friends you haven’t talked to in awhile, and family. Though we may not be able to gather or be close in proximity, we still need our relationships and social contact. There are still opportunities to minister to others!
- Stock up on toilet paper. (Oh wait. Just kidding! That doesn’t help us keep the eternal perspective.) But do find things to laugh about! A cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22)
Remember, GOD IS IN CONTROL! HE IS SOVEREIGN! He wants us to trust HIM!
In Acceptance Lieth Peace
In acceptance lieth peace,
O my heart be still;
Let thy restless worries cease
And accept His will.
Though this test be not thy choice,
It is His—therefore rejoice.
In His plan there cannot be
Aught to make thee sad:
If this is His choice for thee,
Take it and be glad.
Make from it some lovely thing
To the glory of thy King.
Cease from sighs and murmuring,
Sing His loving grace,
This thing means thy furthering
To a wealthy place.
From thy fears He’ll give release,
In acceptance lieth peace.