“What we’re experiencing in this country is a direct impact on our mental health and our state of mind.”
It was on a sunny and beautiful day that I realized I was too scared to go out running by myself. I went anyway and it was the worst run of my life. I kept glancing backwards and side to side. My heart was pounding so hard that my chest felt tight. My fists were tightly clenched and numb from fear. There was no one around. It was calm and silent. The only sound was that of my tennis shoes crunching against the gravel yet, I felt like I was in a horror movie. I kept thinking to myself, “What will I do if someone attacks me?” “Am I strong enough to fight back?” “Will it be too easy for them?” I was out running for maybe 10 minutes before I ran back home.
It was that day that I realized I’m scared of this world. I’m scared of being helpless. I’m scared of being violated. I’m scared of not coming home ever again. I’m scared of seeing someone close to me for a last time. I can’t handle this.
It doesn’t take a lot of detective work to find out where this came from. All my social media platforms are constantly displaying horrible news. People close to me have experienced unjust tragedy in just this past year. Whether it’s on a national scale or personal level, something is always wrong. Some days are worse than others. But we just can’t catch a break. It’s like tragedy is creeping closer and closer to our own home.
Has the world always been this cruel or is it just more visible now?
I love social media but there are no filters, no censors, and sometimes there’s no decency. Why is it that I can watch a man die on my phone in my own home? Why is a photo of a dead baby on a sea shore showing up on my news feed? Some may say we need to see this reality but dammit I can’t handle this.
How can I feel safe when I see videos of law enforcement causing harm?
How can I feel safe when something about rape shows up on my feed every day?
How can I feel safe when I get texts from my friends saying there has been ANOTHER mass shooting. This one bigger than the last.
How can I feel safe when our presidential campaign has become a punchline?
How can I feel safe when even first graders in an elementary school are not?!
For a long time now, it’s only been another article, video, or photo. It’s only been a status I can scroll past. It’s always been someone else’s problem. I’ve pushed it away and not even realized how each element of bad news has axed away a piece of my hope. I’m unhealthy. Emotionally and mentally unhealthy. I have let fear slither itself into my life to the point that it’s changed my lifestyle. That’s not okay. So what do I do?
First, my instinct is to turn to God. The problem is that it turns into an interrogation. “Why didn’t you stop it God?” “Where were you?” “Aren’t you capable of ending this?” But the more I interrogate, the more I realize that I’ll never comprehend how this world can have both evil and an almighty God. What I do know is that God has already won and that only hypes my desire to go home. My heavenly home. So it’s not His fault. He already fixed it but His mission isn’t fulfilled yet. He’s waiting until every person on this earth has a chance to choose Him. That’s where we come in. It’s during this time, a time of fear and tragedy that we as Christians need to do our job.
There is healing in action. There is healing in loving one another. There is healing in humility. If we truly have faith that God is coming back for us than we have to believe it’s going to get better. We have to ACT like it’s going to get better. There’s no use in hiding at home. If my brothers and sisters are being oppressed, my job is to stand by their side. If my brothers and sisters are hurting, it’s my job to love. If my brothers and sisters are angry, I better be there listening.
The reality is that this world is not safe. It hasn’t been since sin was introduced to it. But before I walk out my door, I have to make sure I’m okay. I have to remind myself of what is true and find a practical way to help myself.
“If you need to get offline, get offline. If you need to cut off your TV, cut off your TV. Doing that does not mean you do not care about your community. It does not mean you do not care about this man who was shot and killed. It just means that you need to recharge and regroup and find your own space in your own solitude in order to feel secure in this country.”
I can’t say that we aren’t going to see worse news show up on our feeds. Most likely it will. Most likely I’ll come face to face with tragedy. This world may take away my home, my family, my own life but my faith and hope is here to stay. I have God. My refuge. My hope. My rock.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
P.S. This video says everything I wish I could.Fusion #AltonSterling