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Dealing With These Troubled Times

We’re dealing with troubling times these days. And we have been for months.

It started with the fear of catching Covid-19 and dying horribly, leaving loved ones behind to fend for themselves.

Then there was the economic suffering so many experienced not knowing how they would pay their mortgages or rent… or afford their medical needs… or feed their kids…

All because they lost their jobs due to the shutdowns.

But we weren’t done yet. Not even close.

Because as if the fear and the death – both from the virus and from suicides by people who couldn’t access friends, family, or counselors the way they needed to – and the suffering wasn’t enough?

Then there were the riots.

It all begs the question of what's next?

Hopefully, no one you love has been taken by the debilitating hardships that 2020 has brought us so far.

Hopefully you’re not like the hard-hit Fusco family in New Jersey, who lost multiple members to Covid-19 back in March.

Hopefully you’re not like the California mother whose teenaged daughter killed herself earlier this month due to all the social isolation.

And hopefully you’re not like David Dorn’s family, who had to learn that he’d been shot and filmed dying on Facebook Live for 10 whole minutes as he begged for help during the St. Louis riots on June 2.

Hopefully you’re not.

But even if you’ve been spared that kind of agony, there’s a very good chance you’re suffering still. What we’re going through right now is an extremely heavy burden regardless.

It’s frightening. It’s exhausting. It’s seemingly never-ending. And so it’s okay if you find yourself succumbing to it all sometimes, bleary-brained and bleary-eyed, wondering how much more you’re expected to take.

There’s a major oppression going on: something affecting all of us that we might not be able to logically recognize but can still feel all too severely on an emotional, mental, spiritual and possibly even physical level.

If that strikes a chord, then I have two pieces of advice for you:

  1. Don’t for a second think you’re alone. Because you’re not. God loves you. He wants to show you exactly how much that’s true. All you have to do is let Him.

  2. Write about your situation. Write about how you’re feeling. Write about how you’re hurting.

Then keep both as a reminder of what you can make it through.

I know that advice might not sound very book-writing related. But it actually really is.

For the first part – the part that says God loves you – life in general is much more worthwhile when you know you belong. Therefore, the details of life are also more worthwhile, including writing.

For the second part – to write about your current struggles so that you can remember it – journaling can be a powerful, powerful tool.

I do want to mention that it can help to unburden yourself from heavy, pent-up emotions. The very act of expressing yourself in such a safe space can be the very act of release you need in that moment.

It can also provide inspiration further down the road, documenting what a person can not only survive but even overcome. And isn’t that what most stories come down to? A character being faced with uncomfortable or downright painful circumstances that he or she has to conquer?

The oppression you’re feeling right now might seem pointless while you’re going through it. But start journaling anyway.

Record what you’re going through day to day. Summarize the struggles and the triumphs and the setbacks you experience.

And then, someday – maybe even someday much sooner than you think – you’ll get to look back on these days to see how you can put it all to good use, both in your book-writing and in your larger life.

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