12 I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. 15 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. 20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. 27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Mental Health Matters
Anxiety as Stay-At-Home Orders are Lifted
from Sylvia Schmidt, LPC—
As we “open up” and begin to get back into our lives, there are likely to be many conflicting feelings within ourselves as well as conflicts in our close relationships about what is “safe” and what is not. Everyone is at a different place in what we are comfortable doing and the amount of risk we think we are taking. We tend to make judgments about others who are not doing “it” the way we think is best, or we don’t even know ourselves what is “best and safest” as the science and information we see continues to change. Fake news—whatever that is—adds more fuel to the frustration fire.
Anxiety is a natural and important emotion for humans—and other animals– to have. The split-second decisions to fight/flee/freeze when feeling threatened often save our lives, and certainly kept our species surviving in the face of much larger and ferocious creatures than ourselves. That same survival instinct is present in many of us right now as we try to negotiate the world in ways we’ve never had to before. The following article was written by Amanda Petrik-Gardner, LCPC who specializes in treating Anxiety Disorders. She has some insights that will hopefully normalize much of what many of us are feeling in these uncertain times.
Returning to Work, Stores, Restaurants…Oh My!
As much as the pandemic and stay-at-home orders caused anxiety for many, there has also been an increase in anxiety as the stay-at-home orders lifted. I have noticed a fear of returning to work, restaurants, stores, seeing friends and family again, attending (small) events, walking near others, and living the life we once knew.
Where is this anxiety coming from? We love our jobs (well, some of us), we were so excited to go to stores and restaurants again, and we missed our friends and family dearly.
The root of much anxiety is the unknown. It’s the fear of not having all the information and being uncomfortable with uncertainty. Let’s take the current situation: There is still a lot of uncertainty about Covid-19. Will there be a second wave? Will I still get it? Is it really safe to return to work or public? Should I go near my family and friends? There is a lot of uncertainty about the future. Will school resume in-person in the fall for our children (or for me if I am a college student)? Should I continue working from home longer? What will the winter look like if this continues on?
So how do we manage the unknown? First is to become aware of where our anxiety is coming from. Begin tracking what anxious thoughts are popping up, causing you to feel on edge.
Second, acknowledge that the unknown is not always bad. We tend to equate the unknown with a negative outcome. However, reflect on how many unknown moments you have had in your lifetime. Millions! They do not all result in a negative outcome, even though our minds make that assumption. If it does result in an unpleasant outcome, we will manage that! Just like you and I have managed everything else life has thrown at us.
Last, let’s become comfortable with uncomfortable feelings. It has almost become the new standard to not feel negative feelings. To not feel uncomfortable. To not feel anything but happy. This has resulted in our bodies becoming even more panicked by uncomfortable feelings. Instead of trying to push them away, let’s notice them, sit with them (and I mean literally sit with them), and acknowledge what is happening in your mind and body. The more we embrace instead of push away feelings, our minds and bodies begin to recognize that we are not in danger. Instead, acknowledge we are experiencing a feeling that is either foreign or not the most pleasant to us, but we can handle that.
Amanda Petrik-Gardner, LCPC – Topeka, Kansas www.amandalcpc.com