We know COVID-19 presents a more serious danger to those with “underlying health conditions.” This term has echoed in our ears for weeks.
But as Americans grow continually weary of isolation, restrictions, and uncertainty, other underlying health conditions are giving way to a different kind of danger. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18% struggle with an anxiety disorder in any given year in the U.S. That’s a pretty large swath of our population.
For those who experience intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about common circumstances, the current state of affairs is undoubtedly pushing those feelings through the roof.
Though short-term, taxpayer-funded, financial relief is beginning to roll in for many, the uncertainty weighs heavily, and the increasing threat of tyranny is adding another grim level of ambiguity.
This all felt so temporary in the beginning. But it’s gone on…and on. Will it end? And if so, when?
One thing is for sure. Americans have become less concerned about the virus itself and more concerned about the overall welfare of our nation.
A number of polls show the primary concern of most Americans is the resulting effect of the extensive societal lock-down. FiveThirtyEight has collected polls to present a better understanding of how Americans are responding.
While concern about infection has steadily risen, a bit of downturn has been recently seen. Since April 13, those very concerned about infection went from 38.8% to 33.7 three days later (a 5% drop). You would think we would have seen a similar, or even greater, drop in concern over the economy since millions of stimulus checks were deposited in the last few days. But, no, that didn’t happen. Rather 57% of Americans have remained very concerned about the economy. (See graphs here.)
Since President Trump declared a national emergency in early March, and states began putting shelter-in-place orders into effect, 22 million people have filed unemployment claims, accounting for nearly 13% of the workforce. And a check in the mail isn’t a fix-all for this dilemma.
Americans want to work!
God created us with the innate desire to work – to be productive. Going all the way back to Genesis, we see that God is a worker Himself. Look at all of creation, the miraculous intricate detail put into every living creature, and we cannot deny the value He places on doing a job, and doing it well:
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).
He put the term “above and beyond” on a plane we cannot possibly reach.
God created us in His image. Like Him, we experience joy in productiveness – in seeing the fruit of our labor.
This spills into every facet of our lives. And it starts at a young age. Can’t you hear the little toddler’s voice saying, “I did that! I did that!”
God created us to work! He desires that we serve others. He intends for us to take care of our own families. And when we don’t, it affects our mental health.
As a writer, my goal is to serve God – to seek what He would have me communicate. The second goal is like it – to serve you, the reader.
Doesn’t this apply to every field of work? Serve God, serve others. Jesus said it best:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).
This is why we work.
It is time to get back to a different kind of normal – a better normal. A normal that is informed by the loss we all experienced in isolation. When we return to work, let us not do it for our own sake, but for God’s sake.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).