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    Youth/Children
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    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
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    Director, Children's Ministry
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It’s Okay Not to Be Okay


COVID-19. All I have to do is say those words and emotions are already being invoked in you and me. The reality is our lives have been transformed and will never go back to how they were. We may get back to some semblance of how things were, but it won’t really be the same. Many articles have been written about all the ways this season will change our lives, but let me just focus on one area: emotional health.

What is emotional health? It is an awareness of what is going on emotionally within ourselves and the ability to sort through and express those feelings well. The reality is that emotions can be tough and not fun to deal with, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have them.

COVID-19 has caused a challenge for all of us in trying to stay emotionally healthy. This is because we have been flooded with so many conflicting emotions all at the same time. In the past month I have experienced: worry about my family’s health; gratefulness about spending more time with my children; guilt that I haven’t been affected financially while many friends have; isolation from my Southwood family; conflict and confusion about my actual knowledge of COVID-19; nervousness and anxiety in public; jealousy of those with family nearby; and an overall feeling of helplessness realizing I have no control over this virus. Those are just some of the many emotions that I have been dealing with the past two months that were not present before.

So what do I do with all these emotions? The first thing is, apply GRACE! We must be kind to ourselves and others. None of us has been through an epidemic that has shut down our nation before. Grace means we don’t beat ourselves up for what we feel, but rather we slow down and recognize that it is okay that we are not okay. Your feelings are valid and normal. We are all going through this mess together.

Second, we share our emotions. We were wired for community from the beginning of our story. In order to share our emotions, we must first feel safe. This comes from being in relationships where we feel listened to and cared for. Once we feel safe, then we can be vulnerable and share our emotions with others. It is my hope that each person has at least two or three people that they feel safe with, but I know that might not be true for everyone. If that is the case, it may take some courage to reach out to acknowledge you need help. Please make the effort to reach out to someone. This is not the time to be alone.

Where does Jesus fit into all this? Well, I am glad you asked! I truly believe that spiritual health goes hand in hand with emotional health. As Calvin said, “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God, and without the knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.” We serve a God who doesn’t just sit on the sidelines. He entered into the mess. He knows what it means to be human, to feel real human pain. Not only did he enter into the mess of this world, but he also enters into the mess of our lives and our stories.

I am often comforted by Psalm 139:1, which says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” Oh what great comfort to know that he sees me. God knows all the pain, sadness, or anxiety I have, yet he does not recoil from me. In fact, he draws near. Later in this Psalm David asks, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). God gives us the invitation into a deeper relationship with him when we trust him with our emotions and feelings. Right now, the people of the world are hurting and the members of Southwood are hurting. Will you take this invitation to explore your emotions with me?!

If you or anyone you know would like to take the next step and explore how we can walk on this journey together, please let us know. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)