It’s been more than a year since the pandemic began. Recent surveys are showing that more believe we are on our way out of the darkness. When we analyze informal conversations we may notice a significant drop in the percentage of people who say that they are very concerned about themselves or a family member getting COVID-19, and at the same time, we’ve seen an increasing percentage of the community who have gotten the vaccine.
“Normal” feels just around the corner. But as we begin to climb out of this past year, it is worth considering: How has this year of uncertainty impacted us personally? And more importantly, are we ready to get back to life?
Does the thought of being in crowds trigger anxiety?
Do you not feel quite like yourself due to weight gain or loss during the pandemic?
Do you dread re-establishing workplace or community relationships?
Do small tasks outside the home (i.e. a trip to the grocery store, or eating in a restaurant) feel overwhelming?
As the return of post pandemic life seems imminent, do you secretly wish for a delay or even a return to COVID-19 restrictions?
The above set of signs and symptoms are now being referred to as re-entry fear. Over the past year, many report that adjusting to a life of avoidance and restrictions was difficult, but what seems more difficult is returning to how it was before the pandemic. If you are experiencing these types of issues, you are not alone. There is no question that it is easier to learn to be afraid than to be unafraid.
Every change in routine can be challenging. For those prone to anxiety, OCD, depression, and addictive behavior, changing routines that involve isolation and avoidance can cause emotional havoc. After one year of establishing avoidance patterns, re-entry can bring a host of overwhelming or even frightening feelings that make imminent danger seem very real.
It’s Time for Courage
Just as God was with Joshua, He offers to be with us as we face new challenges. Soon we all will discover opportunities to recover from times of uncertainty. Surprised by stress triggered by the lifting of restrictions? All of us have in some way been significantly affected by fear and discouragement during the pandemic. Now is the time to embrace the opportunity to be strong and courageous. In our own strength, this is impossible. However, when God is with us, we can develop a confidence and a reason to hope for a comeback.