Newsroom

Restarting the World author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Aug 2nd

Why did you write this book? What inspired you?

Everyone was impacted in one way or another during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lives have been invaded and disrupted, and the future impact is unclear. “Restarting the World” was written to encourage anyone who has struggled during this time and is facing any individual battle and to remind them they are not alone. We wrote this book to give people hope—hope that is found in Jesus, no matter the circumstances.

For whom did you write this book?

Restarting the World was written for everyone. Whether a person was impacted directly or indirectly by the pandemic, COVID-19 has affected the entire world in some way. This book is for the individual who needs validation that they are not alone in the trials they have weathered. It’s also meant to help them learn to cope with its influence by moving forward in ways that are practical and hopeful. This book was also written for the pastor, counselor or leader in a position to help others find hope and move forward. The material found in this book needs to be taught in every church.

What do you hope readers will take away from the book or do after reading the book?

After reading the book we hope the reader will know God is in control in all circumstances—past, present and future. Our lives were changed, and although change has an element of discomfort, we can embrace it. We want the reader to be inspired to discover what is most important in their lives.  Each person needs to look at how they were impacted, both negatively and positively, and by overcoming their discomfort, determine what can be beneficial in their life. We most likely will not return to life as we once knew it, but we can create, prepare and put our trust in God’s plan, not taking things for granted any longer. By going through this experience, we have an opportunity to evaluate what was good in our lives before and what was detrimental. It’s an opportunity to take a course correction. 

How is your book different from all the other advice available about “getting back to normal”?

Our book is significant because it is one of the only books written on this subject.  Although it may be small in size, it does not lack content. It looks honestly at the impact COVID-19 has had, and each chapter contains several useful suggestions that can be applied easily in day-to-day life. It is not overwhelming, and the reader will come away thinking, “I can do this.” This book is practical and encouraging, not only for what we experienced this past year but also for becoming better prepared to handle the unexpected and face future disruption with optimism and new ways to cope.

What was the most devastating aspect of living through the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine? What is the most important thing to do now to “restart the world”?

The most devastating aspect of living through the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine were the losses we faced: the deaths of loved ones, the loss of time spent with others, the loss of jobs and /income, unfulfilled dreams and plans for the year and loss of security as the guidelines kept changing.

Through this we have become much more aware of the significance of our losses. We can learn from these experiences, but in order to do so we need to grieve these losses as well as future losses. As the world is restarting, it is helpful to understand what we have gone through and recognize and grieve new losses as they develop. This is a time for every person to accept and use what we have learned and prepare to handle the next onslaught, whether it be minimal or more invasive. The book Experiencing Grief could also be helpful at this time.

What do you think are the greatest challenges Christians face in “getting back to normal”?

As Christians, we need to be honest with ourselves on how we have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. We have all had to cope with many changes in terms of our beliefs being challenged, morality and life in general being turned upside down. Has it become easier to live life as a believer or is it more difficult? 

Christians will have different ideas on how to proceed with “getting back to normal,” and we may question the views of others. We have spent months keeping our distance from one another.For some, going back to church has been welcomed with open arms, but for others it is difficult to physically return, and staying home connected through YouTube, Zoom or Facebook is easier and safer. Either way, the church is the body of Christ and what we are called to do has not changed (Matt. 28:19-20, CSB).

You write a lot about the role of thoughts in coping with anxiety, worry, anger, and frustration. Why is the mind so important to addressing these areas?

Most of our reactions, responses and emotions come from what we think about. Whether the thoughts are positive or negative, they seem to settle in and feed our emotions. In the midst of being isolated a person can find themselves alone with their thoughts. Your self-talk can build you up or lead to depression, frustration and discouraging thoughts. Repetitive thoughts can feed worry and anxiety. How you speak to yourself and perceive a situation can lead to surviving or giving up during difficult times. Being aware of how you see yourself and what you say to yourself can lead to constructive changes. We do not have to be stuck in our past, and by being mindful of our inner dialogue, we can become better able to handle a tough situation with a positive attitude. 

What are the lessons the church has learned from navigating COVID-19? How may the church respond in the future, if something similar happens again?

Very few churches were prepared for the extent of the pandemic and learning the necessity of being flexible was key to navigating COVID-19. For the church to succeed during COVID-19 shutdowns, it could not be lazy. Finding new ways to reach hurting people was a priority. Churches with online capabilities were able to adapt for Sunday morning services as well as continuing their ministries via the Internet throughout the week. The willingness of members to serve and give of their time helped congregations stay connected.

The church cannot take the return to normal for granted and must stay vigilant and obedient to our calling. Now is the time to prepare for future disruptions. Reaching out to hurting people who have experienced new and unexpected losses and continuing ministry throughout the ups and downs in the future is a priority. For detailed information on meeting the needs of your congregation and the losses they have experienced, please contact us at hnormanwright@lycos.com or 800-875-7560.