I walked into the supermarket yesterday. My son was with me. As I grabbed the trolley and wiped it down, we took off for what once used to be a no brainer exercise.
As we ventured into the store, my spirit lifted to see shelves stocked with bread and fresh food. Curiously and a little excitedly, I moved through the supermarket grabbing the items I needed. And then..
My son suddenly grabbed my arm and said in a tone of amazement, “Mum look at the meat section!” I glanced across to see the entire meat section empty.
Looking at me, he said curiously “Really?” Gazing into eyes innocent of pandemics but filled with excitement at the adventure and confusion over the vulnerability of the present, I reached out and touched his arm, responding gently, “Yes. It’s been like that this past week.”
We walked on and turned into an isle and a view that now has become a ‘normal’ sight, empty.
I left the supermarket that afternoon, realizing the emotional impact that these past weeks have already had on us all. I realised how comforting it was for one small moment to walk in and see shelves full with provision and possibilities. And I realized how draining and even scary it had become to see the opposite.
Just putting food on the table was now a major project.
This is the other impact of the conoravirus. It is the impact of emotion.
What will we do with this impact? We can’t dodge it. We can’t stop the impact. It will literally kill us if we numb or deny our emotions.
To feel is to be human. To feel is to be created in the image of God.
I know personally, that right now I can not walk through this moment in history that has suddenlied upon us all, without acknowledging and understanding what on earth, I am feeling.
If I do not acknowledge what I am feeling, what others around me are feeling, I will find that my core values, my awareness of God’s presence and clear thinking won’t lead me, emotion will.
Emotions are valuable servants but lousy leaders.
What’s going to lead you in the flour isle? That’s a potentially scary place right now because it confronts us with the question, what are we going to feed our children? We feel that keenly as Mums and Dads. That is a literal threat to our survival.
No matter what our occupation, emotion is part of it, especially right now. Loss, scarcity, fear of disease are big emotions in this crisis. How can they serve us? So much of life is an emotional conversation.
God is not afraid of emotion and he is not afraid of our emotion. He made them and they serve us. They are great servants but lousy masters.
So How Do We Handle Emotion in this Emotional Moment?
- Acknowledge what you are feeling? Fear, Anxiety, Shame and Grief are big emotions right now for us all.
- Share what you are feeling with God. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Sit down and list out what it is that you are feeling. You can do this verbally, in drawing, in words.
- Then put them down on the floor in front of you and ask God, “What do you say about all this?” Listen! Write down, draw out and when done share with someone what He said. Be a voice of hope.
- Share what you are feeling with some one who has earned to right to hear your story. Part of emotional intelligence is not only being aware of what you are feeling, but what others around you are feeling. Decide: * Is this the best moment for them to hear me? *Ask them if they have a moment for you to share. Don’t just unload because they walked in the room.
- Reach out to your friends and check in with how they are going? The emotions of fear, anxiety, shame and grief by nature make us aware of ourselves. Reaching out helps you move through emotion and activates you into caring for others.
- Talk a walk. Even if you’re in social isolation, it has still been recommended to take short walks. It clears your mind and heart and connects you with the wider world and God’s creation.
We are human and we its ok to feel that! God loves our authenticity and our humanness.
We are in this together!
Students who are in the isolation phase of this Health Crisis are sharing how relieved and hopeful they are, as they are learning how to cope better emotionally through self-isolation and the tragedy around them.
Check out our short video e-course on How to Master Emotional Intelligence. Practical, Fun and Empowering!