Hill released a report that 55% of Americans are more stressed now than they were in January. We were already stressed people before COVID-19. It’s only natural that in the face of events of the past five months, we would find ourselves feeling anxious, fearful and disoriented. Those emotions can put a strain on mental health and our relationships.

In our house these days, when we feel the stress level approaching the red zone – typically over work schedules, school possibilities or impossibilities, too much time together in enclosed spaces, or our general worry of the world – we sometimes begin to blame one another. My wife, who is full of wisdom and insight, has started saying, “It’s not your fault; it’s the virus’ fault.”

Everything feels like it’s beyond our control these days, and it’s easy to want to take out our anxiety and stress on others. It’s easy to blame one another or hold others responsible for what feels like a world out of control. The truth is, none of us is directly responsible for the virus, though we are all responsible for doing our part to mitigate its spread.

I believe it is helpful to recognize that we are all living in a time and space that we never could have imagined, and we need to extend more than a little grace. These days are stressful; let’s not take it out on one another; let’s blame the virus and look to restore relationships. That’s our family’s secret to trying to manage these days.

It’s our secret, but it is a borrowed one from our faith. In times of chaos or struggle, the wisdom of our faith always points us back to one another and God. So in these days of chaos, let’s not blame one another for what is beyond our control; let’s begin to find our way back to one another.

With great hope,

Rev. Matthew Ruffner is the Senior Pastor at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.  He is a husband to Sarah Ruffner and a father of two. You can follow Matthew on Instagram at @thisismatthewruffner and visit PHPC.org to watch the church’s live stream and listen to sermons.

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