These past couple of weeks have been anything but normal. When the shelter-in-place started, it took our state by surprise when we had to shift to a new normal of staying at home. As for me, it was unchartered territory for my work and home living environment to co-exist together. In my journal pages, I would start them off as “Today is the 22nd day of quarantine” and then go about my journal writings on how my day went. This was never how I thought I would start my journaling days, but it was.
I have become used to staying at home, working from home, and taking a lunch break on my kitchen island. My new co-workers were my furry friends and my husband, when he was off. Again, this scenario was nothing short of normal. If I needed to go out, it was to pick up food from the grocery store, along with wearing a mask mandated by the county and state. Whenever I felt too enclosed in my home, I would take a walk on my back porch to get some sunlight to change the scenery of my home office.
These past couple of weeks have been anything but normal.
The shelter-in-place order was recently lifted last week. Things were still different in the week that the order was removed, as seen with closed retail stores and restaurant dining rooms. However, roads and streets significantly increased with the numbers of cars on them.
I want to talk a little bit about my first experience going out since the shelter-in-place was lifted. As mentioned earlier, I did not go out unless it was to pick up groceries or take food to my mother. So, when my husband and I were at the island doing some personal business (kites of course), we were invited to go out to eat for dinner by a sweet couple. For those that do not know, South Padre Island has a good handful of places that have dining areas open for customers, since the ban was lifted. It was surprising to find this out since the “dining in” part of most restaurants around my home town of Harlingen were closed.
With some hesitation, I said yes to my husband. I was a little weary of going out. It almost felt like it was forbidden, and I was doing something wrong. Knowing the shelter-in-place had been lifted, I still felt an inclination to abide by it. When we got to the restaurant, everything flowed normally as the waitress sat us at a booth. Tables were filled with guests at every other table to limit the distancing between them. My husband and I had our masks on, as well as our friends. Of course, we intended to take them off while eating, in case you were thinking about it. The waitress at the restaurant was wearing a mask at all times, while tending to us.
When it was time for to order, I ordered my favorite Cobb Salad from there and was eager to get my soda. Once I received my soda, a wave of fear started to take over my body. I felt a fast sweat and heat coming all over my body. Following after, I felt my heart racing, and all I could think of was the risk of getting ill. It may appear like I was overreacting, but in all honesty, I was fearful. My friends who were with me even told me, “This is not like you, you are a very positive person.”
When I was finishing up this blog, I was reminded by a friend of a verse in the Bible from 2 Corinthians 10:5 in the King James Version (KJV) that reads, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This verse talks about aligning your thoughts with the thoughts of God. If they do not align with what God says about us, then they are not of God. Our minds are constantly thinking and thinking. Some of them are good thoughts and some of them are bad. What we choose to believe is what we will be. That day, sitting in the restaurant dining room, I chose faith.
What we choose to believe is what we will be.
As a woman of faith, I used my first weapon by praying over this situation. As I finished praying, my perspiration and heart rate started to dissipate. My husband even held my hand to calm me down, as well. I did not know how I would react with my first outing. In all honesty, I did not plan on that day to be my first outing. Maybe with a little more planning, the anticipation of getting out there may have resulted in a different reaction.
Because I had become so accustomed to following the staying at home rule for 38 calendar days, it became a part of my habitual routine. It was so part of my routine, that it felt abnormal not to follow it. If we don’t retrain our brain to think differently, we may become stuck in a way of thinking.
Because we will be tested in life, we need to renew our mind to fresh thinking and understanding. As Romans 12:2 (KJV) reads, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
I personally needed to reset my mind to understand that it is ok to go out now. Of course, keeping in mind to follow all the safety measures in place, such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. I know it will continue to be overwhelming to transition into this new phase of normalcy, because of the effects this disease, COVID-19, has had on our community, nation, and world. However, with this new thinking in place, I will not feel as overwhelmed as I did that day I went out to eat for the first time since the shelter-in-place.
I am going to line up my thoughts with heart of God by hearing the word of God.
As Romans 10:17 in the KJV reads, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I am believing that things are going to get better. I am going to line up my thoughts with heart of God by hearing the word of God. I am faithful that I will not feel overwhelmed with all the safety measures in place. Will I possibly feel anxious the next time I go out again? The honest answer is, maybe. However, I will continue to raise my faith by believing what God says about me and knowing he is protecting me with every step I take. Amen.