What a strange world we have found ourselves living in these days, friends. Words like social distancing and quarantine are shaping up to be some of the defining themes of this year and I, like many of you, are still trying to come to terms with what all of this really means for us.
This collective realization that there is so much of this life that is outside of our control. Going to the grocery store to get food and necessities now feels like we’re going in armed for battle with our wipes and our sanitizers. Families now venturing into homeschooling and adults now working from home. In my case, teachers who didn’t get a chance to give their kiddos a proper goodbye and now have no idea when, or if, we will even get to finish out this school year. But friends, we were never really the ones in control of all of that in the first place.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what social distancing is bringing versus what it has taken away. For me, it’s been bringing slower mornings and time to actually sit and enjoy my coffee. It’s brought more time to sit with the Lord in my quiet time. Time to work on various projects around the house that I always say I’ll do soon but never do. It’s brought an appreciation for nature and fresh air as my sister and I now plan for a daily afternoon walk after finishing our respective teleworking duties. It’s brought time and margin to press into the Lord, seeking out his presence, in a time that feels lonely and confusing. In what feels like poor timing now, last week – after lots of prayer and reflection – I chose to end a dating relationship. And though I feel peace with that decision, the fact that it happened just before social distancing and self-quarantining just adds to the loneliness factor.
I could very easily find myself slipping into an attitude of desperation in this season. And that’s not to say I won’t have moments of that, but I’m choosing to push against that. Because you see, for me, time and margin is not always the most helpful thing for me. Yes, it does allow for a lot of good things but as an enneagram 9 who more often than not would just like to zone out and not confront hard things? Time and margin does exactly the opposite and tends to force me to spend time in those difficult spaces. And often, the enemy tends to use that space to plant seeds of doubt and sow a narrative that is negative and dangerous.
Desperation isn’t what this season is about. At least it shouldn’t be. We are called to cast all of our cares and our anxieties over to Christ Jesus’ more than capable shoulders. He sees us where we are and hears our worries and our fears. He invites us to let go of all of that, all of our desperate and fearful thoughts, and trust in Him to sustain us and guide us. This is good news, friends.
There are many who feel that this pandemic is serving as a call to wake us up, a call to repent. And maybe it is, although God is bigger than a pandemic and certainly can call us to that at any time. This season is hard. It’s different. It’s like nothing we have experienced before. And honestly, all I can really think or hope is may we come out of this differently than when we came in. May we have learned to hear God more, to trust God more. May we have learned to appreciate stillness. May we have fallen in love again with the things we once took for granted.