My norm can radically change, surprisingly quickly. Within a few short days, the norm has changed. Once full shelves are now lacking, social distancing is a common household word, and virtual meetings have taken the place of face-to-face connection. Life is different.
However, I have been reminded that though this virus has taken me by surprise, it has not taken my God by surprise. He knew before the beginning of time what today would hold.
Things around me can change, but my God will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
Therefore, His power, His provisions, His promises are the same before, during, and after the virus. He has given His word to provide my needs. (Not wants, but needs) He promises to be with me, strengthen me, and help me. He tells me not to be afraid. He’s got this. 🙂
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Friends, as we are facing this world-crisis together, follow the guidelines given by our leaders. Do stay at home, do wash your hands, do the social distancing, etc but can I also whisper into your soul a little hope? Here are six things I have either learned or been reminded of recently:
1. When one panics, one is powerless, but if courageous, the act is contagious. Sweet friend, be bold. Be brave. Be beautiful. When one, just one person, is brave enough to not join the panic around them, others take note. Courage will encourage your heart but others as well.
Bravery is contagious. Be the brave one. Your spouse will notice. Your children will learn from your actions. Your realm of influence will gravitate to confidence. You can have courage because our Lord is the giver. Truly, it is his power living out in our lives that makes the difference.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
2. Peace is a relationship with Christ, not toilet paper in a crisis. Don’t look for your peace in your savings, career, relationships, surroundings, and certainly not the amount of toilet paper on a shelf. The world will fail you, but Jesus will never fail you. Only He can give the peace you crave in a crisis.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
3. Be informed by the media, but not consumed by the media. Be wise. Be informed. However, do not allow yourself to become absorbed by the media. Too much negative news will drain your emotions. Always take time for positive input. Bible reading continually renews my soul. Praise and worship resets my focus on Him.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
4. I can train my brain to see self-isolation as a needed time of renewal instead of a negative time of restriction. I get to choose to focus on the negative or positive.
Yes, not everyone likes to be home for days on end. But the time can be a season for rest and renewal. Train your brain to embrace the good in the situation. This virus will not last forever, and when we step back into our over rushed schedule, we can return better and stronger than ever.
I can also train my brain to see this time as a season to catch up on unfinished projects pushed to the side because previously, lack of time was an issue. Make a plan for the undone projects and track your progress. My daddy used to say, plan your work, and work your plan. Now is a good time to use our time wisely.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV
5. This time has been a good reminder to focus on what I have, instead of what I do not have. I have a cozy and safe home. I have electricity, internet, food, air conditioner/heat, FaceTime, GoogleMeet, home-cooked meals, family, hot showers board games and tv.
For me, it is a matter of perspective. Complaining will steal my joy. If I pause to recognize the many blessings around me, my perspective changes. Life is good, and I am grateful. Life may look different at differing times of the journey, but complaining will spin your heart into a pit. Control your perspective, and you control your peace.
6. I heard someone say, when this is over, we will hug a little differently. I believe it to be true. I am a southern girl who has always liked to pass out hugs. When this season ends, I want to drop the ‘barely-hug policy’ and adopt the ‘bear-hugs policy.‘ No more malnourished embraces dues to overstuffed scheduled. I plan to tighten my squeeze and linger a little longer. I plan to pause and embrace full-heartedly the ones I love and even the ones I need to love.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
Yes, life is a little different, but I know the end of the story. And guess what? On the day Jesus returns, those of us who know Him as our Savior will enter eternity with Him. What fairy books have claimed for years will come true; ‘we will live happily ever after’ and this virus will be insignificant. Life is good, my friend! Choose to Enjoy!