Hello friends, how are you? Where are you at today? In this groundhog day season of social distancing and face masks, I understand if you are less than enthusiastic. I understand if you are tired of trying to think of new ways to entertain your bored babies. I understand if you are over having to figure out childcare so that you can go back to a job that looks so different than the one you envisioned. I understand if life has actually not slowed down at all because you are on the front lines or building homes or considered essential. I understand if you are in deep despair, depression even but don’t want to admit it because that thought alone is well, depressing. Your church, your business, your coffee shop, your life has all just closed down around you. Whether you are at home with the same humans every day or are stuck all alone with Netflix and social media, my friend, I understand. I am so sorry. This is a season, which means this is temporary, but in our quick fix society, I get how not seeing an end date can add to or even create a sense of worry, angst and fear that has our minds in a tailspin. Which brings me to the message my mind has been curating these last few days.
I have a choice.
It may not feel like it, but I do. As wisdom has it, understanding ones own circumstance can give a temporary sort of relief to what ails us the most, our minds. Our minds are what spit out 30,000 thoughts a day (or something like that…don’t quote me). Our minds are what make all of our choices, get dressed or don’t, answer that call or don’t, join that zoom or don’t. Our minds are what become our words and our words are what lead to our actions. So my question is this friend, what is going on in your mind? What thoughts are keeping you up at night or driving your whole day? Are you fixated on the number of corona cases and hospital beds overflowing? Are you dwelling on the unknown of this next school year, seeking out ways to keep yourself and your kids sane? Are you over consumed by fantasy because reality is just too much (for the record, I so get this…I do watch Days of Our Lives after all.) Are you feeling like the crappiest mom, friend, boss, wife on earth? Are you so overwhelmed that you are isolating from anyone and everyone that used to bring you joy? Have you stopped watching church online? Have you stopped cooking? Have you stopped doing the very thing that got your through those first few months of COVID?
How do we recover? Retreat? Come back to a healthy new normal? As cliche as it sounds, we start with our thoughts, we take them captive, we rebuke what is not healthy and we embrace what is. We have a choice.
I am currently re-reading a book called Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen and it has opened my eyes to the tools that I have right in front of me. My greatest tool is my own will power. The fact that I can say no, which for the record, I’m really good at! Yet, I don’t. I often spiral into a toxic thought that leads me to shame, hopelessness and despair. While scripture instructs us to not worry about tomorrow, for it has enough worry of its own, that is easier said in than done. After all, we are finite humans who have been conditioned to plan ahead, to be prepared. What if being prepared doesn’t look like predicting the unknown and making up “what if” scenarios but staying reassured in what has already happened, what IS in fact happening. Today I have a roof over my head. Today I have food in my belly. Today I have my health or if not, the medical resources to help me. Today I have my spouse, or if not, my friend, my church, my (insert in the blank) that loves me. Today is all we are promised and even that is a minute by minute promise. So what if instead of worrying our day away about the future of our business, our schools, our nation, we took back control and made a choice to just work in the realm of right now. Right now I feel like writing, so I’m going to give myself 30 minutes to write while the kids are eating. Right now I feel like eating, so I’m going to choose something that will nourish my body and give me energy. Right now I am tired, so I’m going to lay down and rest, if even for 15 minutes. Right now I feel discouraged, so instead of scrolling social media and becoming more depressed (this is legit a thing, actual science backs this up), I am going to pick up a book, a blog, a magazine, a podcast that can speak life over me. Instead of living in despair, I’m going to live inspired. Inspired to take that one thought, that one lie, that one idea that tells me this is hopeless and shut it off. Shower it with truth (several were listed above) and shut it down. Why? Because I HAVE A CHOICE!!!
Galatians 5:1 states: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” or in the Message version it is read like this: “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take a stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
When Christ carried that cross up to Golgotha, He carried every burden, every tear, every pain you face today. He took the trials of COVID 19 in the year 2020 upon His back and said, I’ve got this…rest assured you will be okay. I will provide all that you need in the moment you need it, but not a moment before. In fact, if God gave us our lifetime inheritance today, we as finite humans would waste it, spend it, use it and then cry when we couldn’t understand that it was all gone. We need God. We just do. And I get how backwards this feels in a world where we are told we don’t need anyone. But that is what Jesus did. He came and flipped the rules of this world upside down and said that the last would be first and the poor would be considered rich. Jesus did not conform to this world but transformed it into a life of humility and love. So why do we live a life of such despair when we are thrown into the unknown? Because we have become so self reliant that we actually believe we can fix what is wrong. The truth, we can’t. And that’s okay! We can’t control this pandemic no more than we can control people. We can only control ourselves and that begins between the ears, with our minds.
So, today, I choose joy. Today, I choose to trust and outcome I don’t yet know because I know the one who has it, and He is good. Today I choose to live with the gifts I do have and not fret over the ones that have fallen away. Today I have breath in my lungs and hope in my heart. That is going to be enough. Jesus is going to be enough.
I get it sister, this aint easy. I will likely have to go back and read my own blog for a source of encouragement because moments after typing this I’ll be triggered to anger. But in that moment, I will choose to walk away over yelling. I will choose to hold my tongue. I will choose to pray to God to give me His strength. I will choose to call a trusted friend. I will choose.
What do you need to choose today? What thought is overtaking you and your day? What can you release to the unknown and trust that as you survived the past, you too will survive today and tomorrow?!!!
Friends, we got this. I got this. You got this. I specifically wrote this for you. I have not been inspired to sit in write in months and these thoughts flowed from my fingers faster than I could type. That tells me that I am not in fact the one writing this but Holy Spirit and He had a message for you. I’m so glad you got it.
Oh and He told me to tell you that you are loved. He hears your prayers and sees your cries. You are not alone. As El Roi is the God who sees and Emmanuel is the God within, you are covered by His mighty wings. You are being protected and provided for, even when you don’t feel it.