How to Take a Licking and Keep on Ticking

Years ago, a popular watch brand introduced a series of television commercials designed to show the durability, shock-resistance, waterproofing, and dependability of their products. The commercials put wristwatches through various scenarios designed to test them, including: strapping them to a baseball bat that was used to hit a fast ball, taping a watch to a punching bag and letting a boxer have at it, attaching a watch to the stomachs of belly-butting sumo wrestlers, and subjecting a watch to the motion of a submerged motorboat propeller.

Following each test, the watches were still ticking, and the announcer held up the watch and proclaimed, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

During these days of quarantine, social distancing, furloughs, stock market dives, working from home, 24/7 childcare, new learning, potential illness, fears, and various other stressors, you may feel as if you’re taking a licking physically, emotionally, and relationally. You may even be fighting a battle on a spiritual level.

Following are some ways to handle current circumstances and keep on ticking:

Learn from the Past

COVID-19 has been called the invisible enemy and the fight against it likened to wartime. With that in mind, consider what our country did in the past and what is happening now. During wars, manufacturers shifted the products they produced, those who didn’t normally work certain jobs moved into those roles, and people gave up everyday items and foods to supply troops with what they needed to fight and win.

Today, we see evidence of similar adjustments. A car manufacturer is now making ventilators. A textile company that makes carpet and graduation gowns is now producing PPE for hospitals.

While some of the changes related to COVID-19 bring hardships, we are still a blessed people. By looking back, we see those who encountered difficulties and survived. They learned to do with less, cope with challenges, adapt to change, and overcome obstacles. Learning from the past provides strength for today and hope for the future.

Remain Resilient

Resilience is the ability to recover from deformation resulting from compressive stress, or to adjust easily to adversity or change. A visual of resilience is a sofa cushion that springs back to its original shape after being repeatedly sat upon.

Most of us are resistant to change. We are creatures of habit, and not being able to do what is familiar during these days feels out of control and frightening. The stress of not knowing what is coming next filters over into how we think, act, and react. Tensions are high. But by accepting restrictions and realizing the benefits of them, we ensure safety, and will be better able to spring back later. Flexibility and adaptability are key to remaining resilient.

Find Positives Despite Negatives

Create forward motion by appreciating positives you see now. A positive I experienced this week was an extremely low gas price at the pump. Reports of less pollution in metropolitan areas is another plus. Families are re-learning the benefits of a slower pace and time spent together.

Encourage others through words and deeds. Many are writing notes and sending cards during these days, forms of communication that have almost disappeared in this age of text messaging and email.

Each day look for enough positives to overshadow the negatives and anticipate greater blessings in the future.

Be Forward-Looking

When you are in the middle of something hard, it’s often difficult to see that things will ever be different and better. But circumstances change and all that feels strange and surreal now is only for a season. During these days of uncertainty, don’t allow fear to hold you captive. Expect better days ahead.

Engage Spiritually

In recent years, people of faith have been criticized and ostracized, but now, more than ever, we all realize we are not in control. Social distancing, masks, and research may slow the spread of this virus, but only God can halt it and heal our land.

Now, is a good time to renew your connection to God through prayer, Bible reading, and online worship. If spiritual development has never been part of your life, consider making it a priority. Faith provides hope, comfort, support, community, peace, and promise for the future.

“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18 ESV


Candy Arrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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