Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a 6-part article series. You can navigate to the other available articles at the bottom of this one.
I woke up this morning and nothing has changed. There is a lot that is heavy, and we are in a global pandemic. This has been a global traumatic event. It is an event which is causing trauma on all of us. And as leaders, we all wear many hats.
I’m an author, I’m a speaker, I’m a therapist, I’m on a podcast, and I’m a clinical director. I have all these little hats I wear, but I’m also a wife and a mom and a sister and a friend. And then the pandemic happened in March, and I became the teacher’s assistant. I had to figure out how to be an activity director. Tech became vital to everything we do. And I’m now a tech director support, and I’m terrible at tech.
I think back in the spring, we had hoped—we had all hoped—that this would be different by now. And it hasn’t changed. Since then, we’ve had even more. The racial unrest across the country, the wildfires that have been happening across the west coast, and more. Wherever you are, there is trauma.
And as a trauma therapist, I know that when crisis hits, we all need support. Let’s dive into how, as a leader, you can get to the place of come follow me as I follow Christ with your church families.
Trauma is anything out of the ordinary. We tend to make it this big thing, but the definition of trauma is anything out of the ordinary. If you didn’t expect a pandemic—that’s traumatic.
We often want to go straight to Scripture. And we want to be able to say, do not be anxious. The Scriptures say in Philippians 4:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4: 6-7 (NIV)
And that is true. But honestly, we do not like to suffer as people. And so, we focus on the do not be anxious. It’s as if there’s this shame that comes along with our questions of feeling overwhelmed.
If you think about all the hats we’re wearing, the trauma we’re all being exposed to again and again and again, it’s easier to see. We’re all anxious. There’s an undercurrent right now. So, I’m going to give you some tools as I want to help reframe what we do in this anxious world.
Anxiety used to be considered a mental illness diagnosis at times. And then we started seeing over the years, with the digital age, things shifting and more anxiety appearing. Now everybody is anxious.
What is even more traumatic right now is that we’re lacking leadership. It’s different than other times in history, where there were specific leaders who were helping us navigate seasons. But right now, it is all over the place because we get to pick and choose who we follow. It’s such a different time in that way, and we’re lacking good shepherds to lead us.
So, I’m calling you today to be a good shepherd for the people God has put in your path for such a time as this. My hope is that by the end of this article series, you’ll have some tools to do just that.
You’ll also have experienced a little bit of shifting in your own body, your mind, your soul, and your heart. And you’ll be able to take this to the parents and children and families you are serving right now.
I’ll tell you a little bit about my journey with anxiety in the next article and we’ll dive in.
Articles in this Series
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: Introduction (Part 1)
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: What Causes Anxiety (Part 2)
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: A Matter of the Brain (Part 3)
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: Tools to Help (Part 4)
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: Restoring Power (Part 5)
- Practical Ways to Navigate a Hyper-Anxious World: Conclusion (Part 6)