5 Ways to Recover Your Heart in the “New Normal”

There’s something about witnessing a season from one vantage point. For the last two years, I’ve observed the pandemic from the same office. It was at this desk that I first heard WHO had declared COVID-19 a health emergency, then a pandemic. From this seat, I’ve gotten updates about friends who eventually passed away from COVID and where I’d been told I’d been exposed. I was in this seat when I first realized I was “coming down with something,” and afterwards, it’s where I spent weeks trying to summon the energy to turn out content to an audience also experiencing the same physical, mental, and emotional COVID strain as me. I’ve read your feedback forms as you described medical mission trips that had been postponed, redirected, cancelled, and eventually rescheduled.

Maybe you’ve also been rooted to one place for a majority of the pandemic, giving you a personal before, during, and “new normal” perspective. As such, maybe you’ve also noticed the pace that some in the mission world now talk about the future. Some speak quickly, excited to get back in action; others speak slower, using vague terms when asked about plans.

Let’s be honest: the last two years have hit most of us where it hurts—the heart. While some people weather the discouragement and challenges well and keep a resolute focus, there are understandably those of us who are weary after years—how is that already plural?—of back and forth, up and down, grief and hope, restrictions and pivoting.

So, the question is, what is the condition of your heart in this altered world? Is it changed from where you were before 2020?

If so, here are some verses from Proverbs to help recover any zeal you’ve lost.

  1. Guard your heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Proverbs speaks a lot about the heart. One of the most profound verses is 4:23. The New International Version offers one of my favorite translations: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

“Everything” is a lot of things! It’s no wonder God tells us to take good care of our heart and to be mindful what goes into this “spring” of life, as it’s described in other versions. When I let anger, fear, or discouragement into my heart, I get anger, fear, or discouragement out. But when I let love, joy, peace, patience, etc. in, the fruits of the Spirit come out.

Sadly, a majority of the seeds sown into and by society in this time have produced harvests of worldwide anger, fear, disdain, grief, and discouragement. But every day, we have the fresh opportunity to examine, cleanse, and guard our hearts against anything that will produce unwanted fruit.

  1. Trust God

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Right before the pandemic shut down the world, Blessings International was planning to expand our building and hire more staff. Almost overnight, these plans went from full-steam-ahead, to immediate pause, to complete backtracking. In the following months, the dream of expansion gave way to the reality of doing our best to just keep the doors open so we could continue to provide healing for a hurting world.

We had a choice what reaction to choose, and instead of bitterness, we chose to trust God. Blessings International has long since been dedicated to His use, and so we view ourselves as stewards. We will trust that each season is good because He is in control, and trust that God will oversee each season as we continue to follow and obey Him.

“You can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21). By submitting to His plan, we can accept that our plans can and will be changed, but that we are secure in the greater plan.

  1. Dwell on truth

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.”

Proverbs 4:25 NLT

We have a choice which narrative we listen to. When information is coming at us from one hundred different channels at once, the still, small voice of truth can become almost silent.

The good news is an open Bible is never silent.

When your inner self is troubled by external facts, bring them to the Word of God. Do the fears align with God’s promises? Let the reassurance of God’s proclamations calm your heart and mind as you let the truth seep into your heart and set you free.

  1. Get busy being generous

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Proverbs 11:25 NLT

One way to fight discouragement is to rechannel your energy. Maybe you can’t go on that longed-for mission trip yet, or maybe you’re in limbo, waiting to know if you can start making plans. Stay productive while you wait, giving what you have where you can. Bitterness often comes when we are stagnant, but giving always offers replenishment.

Your heart will beat a new rhythm when it’s put in motion for the sake of others.

  1. Keep your eyes on God, not a specific outcome

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Proverbs 13:12a NLT

When facts either feed or suck our faith, that’s when they’ve replaced faith altogether. If you’re waiting for the data to look a certain way before acting on what God has directed you to do, you’ve opened your heart to doubt.

Hope placed in God’s character and yielded to His will cannot be disappointed, but hope placed in data or a specific outcome is a fragile hope indeed. Faith is not simply a positive mental attitude, but instead belief that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do, regardless of every other factor.

Let these statistics encourage you: God has been faithful 100% of the time and He promises to keep the record going.

Final words…

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body.”

Proverbs 14:30a NLT

From where I sit, the map above my desk is crying out for me to mark off more countries, especially for mission trips. God gave me the heart to go; now my job is to take care of that heart so that it will be healthy and peaceful when the time comes.

Whatever the “new normal” turns out to be long-term, or however COVID affects the rest of our lives and world missions, God is in control of global and personal outcomes that are far beyond our reasoning and timeline. By guarding our hearts, trusting God, dwelling on truth, keeping busy, and focusing on Him, we can nurture our outlook and refill our hearts.

What about you? In what areas do you need to maintain your heart in this new era? Any advice you’d like to share in the comments?

Meagan Briggs

Meagan serves as Blessings International's communications associate.

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