A well-known American singer and song writer once had a song, ‘If I could turn back time…’ If we had known how 2020 was to turn out, I wonder if we would have changed how we lived in 2019 and early 2020.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behaviour patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression. In other words, not to predict the worst possible outcome and view it as inevitable.
As Jesus said, ‘tomorrow has troubles enough of its own’ (Matt 6: 34). But to be fair, the NHS has not collapsed, and the worst predictions of political pundits (even in America!) have been confounded. Nevertheless, grief and loss have struck many families and many organisations have made staff redundant or gone into administration. Many people are facing financial hardship as we enter the second lockdown of 2020. How do we get through this and maintain our resilience? We probably all have our own ideas.
So, consider the following. Every day be grateful for at least 3 things. Every day do at least one thing we enjoy and one thing that makes us feel in control, even if it is something simple. We are advised to keep moving, take a walk or do light gardening or even dusting, as our health permits, perhaps phone a friend. In every situation today we need to be cheerful and find something to be glad about and, hopefully, avoid this pandemic. One of the stresses we now face is keeping abreast of the current Covid-19 guidelines. We know that just because an activity is permitted it does not mean that we are obliged – or even wise – to do it. We each have to assess the risks involved and give thought and prayer to how we should behave in the light of current circumstances. Think of those facing worse difficulties than us and offer them the love of Christ.
We can ask ourselves ‘Why pray when we can worry instead?’. In our society many people seek help in all sorts of spiritualities, but why not pray? I have been thinking about how different kinds of Christian prayer can help support our wellbeing:
PRAISE: Reminds us that there is something greater than us. The world does not revolve around me!
FOR OTHERS: Reminds us that there are other people whose needs are important. Their problems may be bigger than mine.
PETITION: Reminds us that God in His wisdom, love and power is willing and able to meet our needs, perhaps in a way that has not even occurred to us.
CONFESSION: Reminds us that we could be better. It is not only other people who are not perfect.
ADORATION: Reminds us that in God’s loving service there is true freedom.
DEDICATION: Reminds us that there is a greater purpose to life. Remember that each of us is in a covenant relationship with God.
With acknowledgement to Keith Beckingham, Wey Valley Methodist Circuit, superintendent minister, for use of items from a recent pastoral letter.