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Encouragement

Got Questions While You’re Safer-at-Home? Me Too. (pt4)


Hi, friends!

How long have you been safer-at-home during this Covid-19 pandemic? Me? Since early-March. So about 10 weeks–I think. 😮 Wasn’t it the group Chicago who sang, “Does anybody really know what time it is?”

My routines are still going well. Sometimes too well. I might need to shake things up a bit. 😉 Do you also feel like you’re in the Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell movie “Groundhog Day“?

Mental health triggers have been minimal–partly due to distancing myself from too much news media (My apologies to fellow journalists and media industry friends.)

I’ve actually enjoyed not being as busy as I was prior to all this–and even at the beginning of staying at home, when I filled our time with activities and games.

This fourth question has been swirling in my head these last few weeks. Ready?


Here goes…


4. How am I staying connected?


  • Can I safely volunteer?
  • Can I safely help those with special needs–the elderly, immunosuppressed, etc.?
  • Can I safely attend community events?


Not so much. 🙁

All around us, the message has been social distancing, so most people have stayed home. As weeks have turned to months, the message has evolved to physical distancing–not necessarily social distancing. More and more, it’s becoming evident that connection is important to mental, emotional, cultural, spiritual–and even physical–health.

Have you ever seen that reality TV show, “Alone“? It’s on the History Channel. Ten participants are dropped off at a significant distance from each other on a remote location around the world. The purpose? To see who could last the longest. They bring only 10 items to help them survive in the wilderness. They’re provided with camera equipment and a satellite-operated communication device that they can use to “tap out” of the competition, at which time a helicopter or boat will arrive at their tracked location to take them home. My family and I love this reality show! (We’re excited about the new season in June.)

From having watched six seasons of “Alone” throughout the years, we’ve determined that more often than not, it’s not the lack of survival skills that makes someone tap out; it’s the isolation from family, friends, and loved ones–people in general. Even $500,000–the grand prize to the last contestant on the island–isn’t enough to keep contestants in the game. The desire to connect is that strong. Some have even constructed toy people or animals out of whatever they can find to have some sort of companionship. (Think Wilson in the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away.”)

Despite the best of intentions, promoting prolonged isolation can have negative effects on our very being.

God created us to connect and to be in relationship–with Him and with each other. Even as early as the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).

Here are some other examples from the Bible about God’s design for community.


Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)


From Ecclesiastes
7 Again I saw something on earth that didn’t mean anything.

8 A man lived all by himself. He didn’t have any sons or brothers. His hard work never ended. But he wasn’t happy with what he had. “Who am I working so hard for?” he asked. “Why don’t I get the things I enjoy?” That doesn’t have any meaning either. In fact, it’s a very bad deal!

9 Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do.

10 Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him!

11 Or suppose two people lie down together. Then they’ll keep warm. But how can one person keep warm alone?

12 One person could be overpowered. But two people can stand up for themselves. And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12)



Pre-COVID-19, I stayed connected by:
  • Volunteering on the tech crew at my church, Lakes Church
  • Singing with the community choral group, Lakeland Choral Society
  • Visiting my elderly parents in their independent living community
  • Joining my closest girlfriends for breakfast the first Saturday of the month

I haven’t been able to do any of those things in the past ten weeks. But I have:
  • Called or texted those I haven’t talked to in a while
  • Added video to conference calls
  • Waved at our mailman from inside the house every day
  • Watched live concerts from around the world online
  • Joined my friend and fellow blogger, Kim Wilbanks, on her Facebook live tea times

Friends, connection isn’t just for the benefit of others. It’s for us too! We might think we don’t need it and that we’re doing it to help someone else. That might be true. But we’re also doing it for ourselves. And for those of us who are believers, we do it for God.



Take a few moments to listen to one of my favorites,
Superchick’s “We Live.”






Stay safe and healthy!


Big hugs,
Daphne

Come alongside… In what ways have you felt distant during this pandemic? What have you done to increase face-to-face or voice-to-voice activity? How has someone made an effort to connect with you during this time? How has staying connected helped you? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.


Questions in this Series
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Got Questions While You’re Safer-at-Home? Me Too. (pt3)


Hi, friends!

How long have you been safer-at-home during this Covid-19 pandemic? Me? Since early-March. 😮

I’ve been keeping up with my daily routines and kept an eye out for any triggers on my mental health. I’m doing much better than the first few days–although my cat went missing for 10 days, so that didn’t help. (By a miracle on Sunday night, we were able to find her a quarter-of-a-mile away past a major intersection. Thank you, NextDoor app!) Her prolonged absence triggered my depression to the point that I had to pull back from anything negative around me or on media–especially social media. I could only take so much.

I appreciate all your comments on my previous posts. Thank you for the ideas you’ve shared and what you’re learning about yourself and others during this time of social distancing. I hope the Scripture verses and songs have blessed your spirit.

Ready for question three?


Here goes…


3. Does “busy-ness” have a hold on my life?

  • Do I feel a need to always be doing something?
  • Am I staying busy because I dislike the quiet?
  • Am I avoiding dealing with issues that need addressing?

I’m usually a homebody, so following orders to stay indoors hasn’t really been much of an issue for me. I’m noticing, though, that as the quarantine gets longer and longer, I’m absorbing the nervous “energy” emanating from my children. People with my type of personality (INFJ) tend to do that–take in the emotions of those around them. And let me tell ya… our children’s “antsy-ness” can get overwhelming, especially if they’re not out doing something, going somewhere–anything but being indoors.

We’ve tried to keep things active and lively with games, challenges, movies, cooking, painting rooms. But all the “busy-ness” is starting to drain me (hubby too). At the beginning of the quarantine, I was eager to tackle projects, take on new hobbies–just something, anything to pass the time and to be productive. The barrage of ideas on social media has gone from helpful to overwhelming. And not just Facebook. LinkedIn too. I’m still seeing ads and specials for a course here, a workshop there. All great things I would, under other circumstances, take interest in. (My hubby will tell you I’m all for taking courses or watching documentaries to learn something new.) 🙂

But something doesn’t quite feel right about it–all the productivity talk during a pandemic. One meme in particular has stuck with me. It’s still making its way around Twitter and LinkedIn.


What do you think about that statement?

At first, I subscribed to that mentality. “I’m disciplined. Let’s do this!” But as time has worn on, I’ve wondered whether evaluating my discipline–and others’–is even fair, let alone now. (It’s also judging.) But what if I’m actually not as disciplined as I thought? Does it matter, especially now?

This type of thinking has sparked false guilt for me and I’m sure countless others during a time of widespread crisis. Am I really guilty of wrongdoing if I am not productive during this pandemic? And by whose standards?

Friends, we aren’t on vacation. Many of us aren’t in the right mindset to spend considerable time on self-help activities, projects, and professional development. I know I’m not. We are hurting. Many of us are uncertain about our health, our jobs, family circumstances, daily living–our very existence. I am. These are not times for constant mental, emotional, and physical action for the sake of being productive, or adding a skill to a resume, or posting another accomplishment on social media. (Regrettably, I’ve done all these.) This time of pandemic is time for compassion for others and for ourselves.

So why do I feel I need to be doing something constantly at a time like this? For me, it probably goes back to my tendency to find my worth in what I do. If I’m not productive right now, am I still enough? If I have nothing to show for my safer-at-home time, was all this a waste of my time? Do I keep hearing the words, “I should be …” running through my mind? Do I have FOMO–fear of missing out? (That’s actually a mental health condition.)

Friends, one thing I’ve learned from my years in recovery (and apparently need a refresher) is that God doesn’t love us more or less based on what we do or don’t do.


3 In the past we also were foolish. We did not obey, we were wrong, and we were slaves to many things our bodies wanted and enjoyed. We spent our lives doing evil and being jealous. People hated us, and we hated each other.

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown,

5 he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.

6 God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior.

7 Being made right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends. (Titus 3:3-7)



Isn’t it a relief that God loves us for us and not because of anything we do or don’t do? Does it set your heart at ease knowing that God accepts us not because of how much we’ve accomplished, but because of His compassion displayed through Jesus Christ, His son? God is the God of compassion–not of false guilt. He is gentle. He doesn’t push, and He doesn’t drive. He leads and guides. Never with guilt–but with love.

If I’m striving, piling through, and plunging head-first into something I think I should be doing, more often than not, God is not the one leading me to it. (To be clear, I’m not talking about taking on a craft project here and there. That’s self-care. I’m talking about having the drive to do more and more regardless of the situation.)

When I want to be busy and avoid quiet, I go and sit on the wooden bench my hubby built for me. It’s low to the ground on my front lawn. I soak up the sun. (Yay, Vitamin D!)
Watch my veggies sprout from the dirt.
Or admire the array of birds stopping by my birdfeeders.
And the squirrels hijacking their seeds.

I love taking off my shoes and wiggling my feet into the grass. There’s something about the pristine and honest quality of the earth beneath your feet. 🙂 It’s easier for me to ask introspective questions and to answer truthfully. Am I staying busy to avoid…
  • Interacting with my family members?
  • Processing any hurt feelings, anger, or bitterness?
  • Facing low self-worth?

Honesty can be challenging, but staying safer-at-home is offering me more opportunities to ensure “busy-ness” isn’t a sign of something deeper.


If you’re struggling with “busy-ness,” listen to one of my favorites: “Be Still, My Soul” by the group Selah.






Stay safe and healthy!

Come alongside… Are you trying to stay productive during this pandemic? Why do you think that’s so? How do you feel about the quiet? Are you avoiding it? What small step can you take to be at peace with silence? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.


Questions in this Series
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Happy National Day of Encouragement!

To celebrate the sixth anniversary of the National Day of Encouragement, I want to thank you, my readers, for all your continued support and encouragement. Every phone call, email, text, like, comment, click, and share encourages me to keep writing His words.

 

Did you know that the Bible talks a lot about encouraging one another? Here are just a few examples:

 

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)

 

 

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

 

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

 

 

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

 

 

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

 

 

I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other. (Romans 1:12)

 

 

But did you know that God himself is the ultimate encourager and comforter?

 

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. (Psalm 10:17)

 

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

 

 

My prayer today is that you will accept God’s comfort and that you, in turn, will encourage those around you.

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

 

 

Big hugs,

Daphne

 

Cheerleaders or Killjoys

This week, my husband and I sat on the sidelines of two Christmas parades.

 

  • Floats.
  • Cheerleaders.
  • School bands.
  • Local businesses.
  • Community organizations.

 

 

As the parade progressed, some on the side lines cheered. Others jeered.

 

 

I thought of my parade through life.  Who sits on my sideline?

 

 

Cheerleaders or killjoys?

 

 

Do they applaud, encourage, and motivate me to move forward in my life?

 

Do they boost me up, energize, inspire, and rally around me?

 

Or…

 

Do they spoil the pleasure and joy in me?

 

Do they dampen my spirit, discourage, or hinder me?

 

 

Cheerleaders or killjoys?

 

 

Even more… Who am I on the sideline of others’ parades through life?

 

 

Cheerleader or killjoy?

 

 

Do I applaud, encourage, and motivate them to move forward in their lives?

 

Do I boost them up, energize, inspire, and rally around them?

 

Or…

 

Do I spoil the pleasure and joy in them?

 

Do I dampen their spirit, discourage, or hinder them?

 

Cheerleader or killjoy?

 

I want to be a cheerleader. I want to encourage others daily (Hebrews 3:13). I want to affirm them more and more as we all approach the end of our parades (Hebrews 10:25). I want to keep building them up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). I want to comfort them (Isaiah 40:1).

 

And I want those types of people on my sidelines.

 

Cheerleaders, not killjoys.

 

Come alongside… Which one are you? What type of person do you have on the sideline of your life? Who can you comfort today? What can you do to change?

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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