Unpacking Emotions of COVID-19: Anxiety

By Violetta Reum and Morgan Petit-Homme

Anxiety (n.): a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome

Violetta’s Experience:

Just like literally millions of people around the world right now, I think the thing I am most anxious about at this time is work. 

So many people have been laid off and are now trying to apply for unemployment. Those who own non-essential services had to shut down all operations. Those who work in some kind of service industry are now frantically trying to figure out how to take their services online. 

We are all new at this. This is the first time any of us are living through a pandemic.

Our lives look different regardless of how unprepared or prepared we found ourselves. And the fact that we have no idea when all of this will end adds a different level of anxiety to the situation.

Before the corona virus outbreak, my husband and I decided to start our own business. It was probably the biggest risk we have ever taken, but we felt like it was the right thing for us in this time and this season. 

We were afraid, but also really excited. We were stumbling and trying to figure out what we were doing but we got a lot of amazing feedback and affirmation that proved we were going in the right direction. We were still learning a lot, but we truly felt like this is exactly what our lives prepared us for. 

And then we got quarantined. We were just about to begin working with two big clients when we received a “stay home” order. So after going at neck-breaking speed, everything came to an abrupt and shocking halt. 

“When will this quarantine end? What am I supposed to do as a self-employed, business owner? How are my clients being affected? What is the right thing to do? What are we going to live on?”

These and a hundred more questions are constantly rushing through my mind.

And if I am not careful, I can allow my thoughts and anxieties to throw me into a full-blown spiral of doubt, fear and overwhelm.

So instead, I choose to hold on to hope. 

I choose to cry out to Jesus daily and desperately ask Him to help me make the next right decision when it comes to my family and my business.

I choose to use the time we have now to work on my business even more, to lay a firmer foundation and to reach out to new potential clients. 

I am choosing to dream about what all of this could look like once things go back to normal. 

And I am choosing to believe that things will go back to normal.

Morgan’s Experience:

In the last week and a half l I’ve experienced a lot of obsessive thoughts, negative thought patterns, and anxiety attacks.

I can’t recall what brought them on, but one day my chemistry was all out of whack. I went from being positive, calm and productive to a mess of a person replaying all of the ways I had failed, all the mistakes I have made in my life (recounting all of the reasons why I wasn’t worthy and should just give up on everything).

To make matters worse, on Saturday I saw  the news of Sephora unexpectedly laying off their workers. I realized (and panicked at the thought) that I could potentially be out of a job in the next couple of days.

That triggered a whole other set of vicious thoughts.

But then I remembered all the dreams and encouragement that I experienced throughout the week, giving me real hope and peace.

The Spirit nudged me all week, preparing me with the armor I’d need to fend off these evil thoughts.

What I’d like us all to remember, in this uncertain time, is something Jordan Dooley said in the midst of leading a free training season. She said,

“…where God has sent you, He will sustain you.”

Jordan Dooley

Even more, the last chapter in the letter to the Philippians, Paul urges us: 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, [brothers and] sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)

I want to choose to see the silver lining in all of this.

I encourage you to do so as well.

Whether that means using this time to start the healthy habits that you keep putting off, learning that new language you’ve always wanted to learn, studying for an entrance exam, dreaming up and praying for the future, or even just relaxing and taking care of yourself…

Do it, do it all, do what brings you peace and happiness.

Yes it is easy (and understandable) to become overwhelmed with what is going on in this world and the uncertainty that brings. I encourage you to spend more time in the Word, with the Lord, and in worship in these uncertain times.

Action Steps:

  • Listen to the podcast, “The Next Right Thing” by Emily P. Freeman about making decisions without getting overwhelmed. She has a great episode about living in quarantine specifically and we hope you find it encouraging and thought-provoking.
  • Challenge yourself to spend more time in the Word, with the Lord, and in worship in these uncertain times.
  • Ask yourself, “What can I choose in this moment?” and then dare to believe in what is good, pure, and hopeful even (and especially) when your circumstances are not.

Author: Violetta Reum

Violetta has always had a passion and calling to see people pursue God with their entire lives, find their calling and identity in Jesus, and seek deep healing from past trauma and abuse.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and son and discovering all of the coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Author: Morgan Petit-Homme

Morgan has always had a compassionate heart, concerned with combating the injustices that many people face in this world. Morgan is passionate about seeing people educated and providing opportunities and spaces for open and honest dialogue. 

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