Have you ever tried to view and hear the perspective of another person who was different than you? Someone who had a different background, different beliefs, different upbringing, lived in a different country, different opinion or point of view? What was your response? How did the conversation go? Was there defensiveness? Anxiety? An argument? Or were you able to listen to their perspective and validate their experience?If there is one thing this pandemic brought out in all of us, it was--where is our hope, where are we putting our trust, and revealed anxieties we probably never thought about before. Click To Tweet
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Going through this pandemic brought up a lot abnormal circumstances that were thrown at us all at once. We all had to wear masks, quarantine, home school our kids, shelter in place, worry about our jobs, businesses, our economy, the health and well-being of loved ones, pause life celebrations such as weddings, graduations, and funerals. There was stress of finances, how will we pay our bills, childcare, not being able to be with loved ones in the hospital, and loss of loved ones. There was fear of the unknown, how will this all turn out, how many more people will die, and when will this all end?
There was a high level of anxiety and stress from everything we went through. And we all dealt with the anxieties of the pandemic differently. Hopefully, we all came out of the pandemic and still are, a little bit stronger and with a new perspective of what’s difficult. But what about those who were barely surviving before the pandemic hit? Those who didn’t know where their next meal came from, didn’t have access to computers for education, or access to healthcare if they got sick? I hope in all this, the pandemic helped us see and hear others and learn how we can meet people in their anxieties.
3 Ways To Meet People In Their Anxiety
1. Listen- If there is one thing the pandemic taught me how to do better is listen. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1:19). We all have the core need to be seen and heard. We are missing out when we don’t listen to our brothers and sisters in their hurt and pain. When Jesus was here on earth he offered a listening ear to hear people in their suffering like the woman at the well, or the paralyzed man. He didn’t just say I’m sorry and keep on walking. He didn’t give lectures or provide ways to temporarily fix it. He stopped, listened and said, ‘Come follow me.’ There is power in listening. It allows others to know I hear you, and you matter.
2. Acknowledge- Learning how to acknowledge others when they are struggling, to be able to come alongside them and say I see you in your hurt, is so powerful. “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (1 Corinthians 1:4). To acknowledge someone when they are hopeless offers empathy and is what Jesus does for us. Acknowledgement allows their struggle to be known, lets them know you see them, and they matter. An example would be, “I see you are hurting, there are no words, I’m so sorry.”
3. Validate- How lonely would it be it we suffered in silence or by ourselves? Jesus never intended for us to be alone in our anxieties. He tells us to cast all of our anxieties on him, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). “God will perfect everything that concerns you.” (Psalm 138:8). When we tell our concerns and worries to God, they matter to Him. Why? Because whatever concerns us and matters to us, concerns and matters to God. When David wrote in Psalms 56:8, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle,” we know that God cares, he sees, and hears our cries, they matter to Him. To validate someone, means you support them and value their feelings, it lets them know “I am here for you,” when you validate them.'When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' Matthew 14:14. Click To Tweet
There will always be worry and anxiety in this world. God tells us in James 5:13-14, if “anyone among you is suffering, let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him….” We can model what Jesus does for us by opening our eyes and ears to the hurting and suffering and see what matters to Jesus, should matter to us as well.
Jesus didn’t walk away from the sick and the hurting, he met them in their anxieties by either coming alongside of them or healing them. Because of Jesus’ compassion and God’s love many have been healed and saved.
Have you considered how you can meet someone in their anxiety?
What can you do to let them know God cares for them, he sees and loves them?
When anxiety gets the best of me, I have to refer back to what God is able to do, stay in prayer and trust He is able.
For the month of April, in honor of our son Bowen’s life we are encouraging others to consider sponsoring a child to not only help honor our son’s life, but to show others who are hurting and living in poverty, they matter. Sponsoring a child is not only life-giving to them, but to you as well, when you give them an opportunity to an education and food. It also helps open our eyes to see how someone else lives in another country and see life from their perspective. It helps us move beyond the boundaries of our anxieties and steps into their world to meet them in theirs. My anxiety is put into perspective when I see what I am concerned about is nothing compared to what others have to go through everyday.
If you were inspired by our son’s story or this post, Click on the link below and meet your future sponsor child! You will be blessed!
Want to show more compassion? Consider sponsoring a child to help end poverty.
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