In this guest post, my friend, Debby Thompson, offers wise advice from her years of living behind the Iron Curtain.
COVID-19 transports Larry and me back to the Communist era of our lives with its demanding, ongoing crises. We stood in line to buy toilet paper, we navigated life with rationed food items, and we consistently walked into stores with empty shelves. Daily, we listened to briefings on BBC radio for uncensored news.
Did I learn anything from residing behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War that now provides direction in the Corona War? Yes, indeed! God willing, these guidelines will encourage you and those dear to you during this tumultuous time.
7 Guidelines from The Cold War to The Corona War
Guideline #1: Routine
Recognize the value of routine. In the years we lived covertly in the enemy’s land, Larry and I strove to create a routine for our family and for ourselves. Mealtime, playtime, storytime, and bedtime provided a helpful structure to our otherwise high-intensity lives.
Likewise, in navigating today’s turbulent waters, he and I function in a simple routine that yields peace and productivity. Though we work toward our global AIA mission at our own desks, we meet at the coffee pot, share meals, compare news updates, and pray.
My recommendation—allow routine to play a role in establishing your equilibrium.
Guideline #2: Read
Read the Bible, and read excellent books.
In our Warsaw, Poland home, with minimal television, reading provided a nourishing source of relaxation.
By contrast, our current crisis lures us to increased interaction on devices. So, I remind myself—and you—reading books is an investment that promises healthy dividends on the other side of this pandemic.
Ask yourself, “Is this the time to read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas?” “Would I like to reread a treasured classic, perhaps Little Women?” “Should I sign up for an Audible.com account?” A positive answer to any one of these questions can season the present situation with personal enrichment.
Guideline #3: Rest
Focus on rest, both spiritual and physical.
Warfare requires rest, whether standing against the Communists or fighting the Corona battle. Consider the verses below, and make every effort to be a soldier fit for battle.
Spiritual rest: “My soul finds rest in God alone.” (Psalm 62:1).
Physical rest: “You will lie down and not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24 NKJV).
Guideline #4: Resist
Stand guard against fear’s poisoning influence, and refuse to let it circle your wagons. During the 70s and 80s, we lived with ongoing surveillance of us in our home and in our activities. Fear threatened to rob us of the quality of life God intended, thereby rendering us ineffective in our mission.
Standing our spiritual ground then trained us for standing our spiritual ground now. God’s joy for His children is not dependent on circumstances, and our enemy cannot shove out His presence.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:3-4).
Guideline #5: Realize
Realize this intense challenge will not last forever, so look ahead and design a break.
In the face of a threatening miscarriage—with medical services marginalized—Larry and I pulled out the brochures and planned a summer vacation. This exercise created a much-needed mental break within the dark days of a fragile pregnancy.
So, in the cauldron of today’s confusion, look ahead and consider, “What adventure awaits me on the other side of this?” “Is there a friend to visit, a destination to explore, a getaway weekend to plan?” Such an activity opens a door of hope for the future.
Guideline #6: Recall
Recall simple pleasures.
Polish parks offered fresh air and scenic walks. On a weekly basis, our young family joined the national pastime and stepped into the cultural stream to stroll the paths.
Reflecting on the benefits of days gone by, Larry and I now purposely lace up our walking shoes and hit the outdoor trails near our home. The fresh air outing does not disappoint!
Are there other simple pleasures to recall? Yes; placing fresh flowers in a vase, playing a board game, putting together a puzzle, or lighting a candle, to name a few.
What about you? What comes to your mind when you think about introducing light pleasure into these complex days?
Guideline #7: Remember
Living With Eternal Intentionality® affects my life perspective; I believe that my days are numbered (Psalm 139:16b). When God decides to call me Home, nothing will keep me here. Likewise, nothing will take me sooner than He plans. Just like during the Cold War, knowing of His presence and His plan in the Corona War frees me to accept my circumstances and rest in His divine care.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3).
“Underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27b).
Now, I pray a blessing for you, as together, we seek His guidelines for this unprecedented time: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).
Which of the 7 guidelines above most resonates with you?
What verse of Scripture or attribute of God’s character is guiding you along the rocky path of today?
Guest Post by Debby Thompson
Debby Thompson and her husband Larry have served in global missions with Campus Crusade for Christ International since 1974, and are counted among the pioneers of Western missionaries who lived covertly behind the Iron Curtain in communist Poland. In total, the Thompsons spent 33 years in Eastern Europe, witnesses to a period of dramatic social, political and spiritual change. Now living in Cincinnati, Debby is a speaker, writer and mentor for women around the world
Her award-winning book, The Leader’s Wife, Living With Eternal Intentionality® launched in 2018. Follow her blog at Debbythompson.com Living With Eternal Intentionality® and follow her on Twitter at @Debbythompson17.
7 Guidelines from The Cold War to The Corona War by Debby Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.