There is a powerful contagion spreading through nearly every community on the planet. The effects of this contagion are changing behaviors and routines. It is separating friends and families, co-workers and classmates. It’s spread is pervasive – reaching into all demographic groups. This contagion is fear.
Fear can drive us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. Social distance. Wear face masks. Stockpile toilet paper. Work from home. But deeper than these, fear can drive us toward irrational and potentially harmful behaviors, too. Social media posts are filled with conspiracy theories – 5G spreads the coronavirus, Bill Gates is attempting to de-populate the earth, or eating garlic will prevent the coronavirus. Harmless? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I watched from a distance as a social media user appeared to be consumed by fear and outrage over the perceived injustice of the stay-at-home orders. Long posts with extensive arguments with any who disagreed or any who attempted to provide a different perspective came fast and furious. The account has since been deleted and friends are checking in to make sure everything is okay. If I was coaching this person, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a referral to a mental health professional.
As Christian coaches we have an opportunity to come alongside our fearful or discouraged clients and remind them where their values and faith are anchored. Which stories or personalities in the Bible demonstrate God’s message to us in times of trouble or uncertainty? If Jesus were sitting in a chair across from you, what would he say to you right now? What healthy behaviors bring you comfort or encouragement? When you think of the word fear in the Bible what comes to mind? How might God’s Word speak to your current concerns/frustrations/fears?
Years ago, a thoughtful pastor encouraged me to conduct a brief word study in the Bible around a behavior I wanted to change. I wrote a one-and-a-half-page summary of my findings and selected a verse to memorize to help me change my behavior. God used that simple exercise to remove my bad habit and I still remember the verse today – more than 40 years later!
In these troubling times, don’t be afraid (see what I did there?) to bring your Christian faith to bear in your coaching – especially with those who are struggling – while
maintaining good coaching presence, asking powerful questions, and using direct communication. We’re going to get through this together. Stay healthy. Wash your hands. And “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41.10 NLT)
About the Author
Joe Donaldson is the Executive Pastor at Journey Church in Federal Way, WA. He has been coaching for over 8 years and has served on the board of ICF WA State. Joe and Julie have been married for 41 years. Their daughter and son-in-law have three children. Joe enjoys reading, baseball, and DIY projects. Joe is the CCNI Director of Credentialing.