I’ve been shut in at home for just over a week, and in some ways, it feels like a month or even a year!
That’s something you can probably relate with, wherever you are in the world right now.
Sometimes, I’m honestly working hard to keep track of which day of the week it actually is.
It’s a little more interesting and worrisome for me- depending on where that lands- when you consider that being home is with my three-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.
I’ve been a follower of Jesus for almost eighteen years now, but I’m not yet at the point where I don’t ever twitch in my faith focus. Some people seem to be so absolute about their confidence and all; I’m probably just not yet that good a Christian 🙂
I catch my thoughts straying sometimes. I find doubts creeping up on me sometimes. And all that is notwithstanding the several, several moments when I feel so confident and full of faith.
Does your faith and courage sometimes sneak out of the lockdown you’ve tried to put it in?
How long will all this last? Where is it going to land us? What will life look like?
I hate to feel helpless. And to be honest, many of the scenarios playing out in the world in this season have a way of leaving me feeling helpless. Do you also feel helpless about some of the very definite plans you had made for the next few months? Do you also feel like so much is on hold and hanging in the balance? I think about precious people suffering unimaginable hardship because they are restrained from going out every day to earn their hand-to-mouth lives in the face of a lockdown and I feel helpless. I think about some of the people I love to be with and I feel helpless.
I imagine you feel helpless in some way or the other too.
But if you think about it, that’s actually nothing new. I think we had just over-rated our sense of control.
We were never in control of tomorrow anyway, were we? We were never even in control of the next minute. We were never actually in control of the most beautiful plans we had drafted for ourselves.
I think COVID-19 has helped put a lot of perspective to life and living.
We had greatly overrated our perceived sense of control. And we had greatly underrated our actual sense of control.
I’ve been knocked to base in many regards. I’m helpless, but not hopeless.
I’m not in control of my travel itinerary for the year and the Book Tours I had planned and a lot of that. But I’m in control of my attitude with my kids. I’m not in control of all the amazing plans I had for the church that I pastor, but I am in absolute control of my next steps in my relationship with Jesus. I’m not in control of the several strategy meetings I’ve had to put off, but I’m in a lot more control than I thought of my precious marriage vows and the health of my marriage. I’m not in control of when Liverpool will win the league (or whether they even will or whether there will ever even be anything like a league again! Lol) but I’m in control of my choice to be joyful in the blessings of God that are a lot more than how I feel based on the outcome of twenty-two grown-ups chasing a leather piece around for 90 minutes. I’m not in control of the number of testing kits in my country or the authenticity of data from China, but I’m in control of my drive to trust God more as a loving all-knowing God that is for us and not against us. I’m not in control of where I’ll be in six months’ time, but I’m in control of being present in every now moment- of actually listening to my wife and not just hearing her, of actually doing life with my kids and not just tolerating their presence before their bedtime.
I’m not in control of the length of days I’ll be shut in or in a lockdown, but I’m in control of the width of each of those days. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading many more of the books I’ve wanted to read; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed engaging and sharing every day with some of my amazing proteges; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking each day in stride, do the work I can and refuse to blame my kids for the work I can’t do. It’s what it is- having them jumping around my home study is as much a blessing as the new work ideas jumping out in my head.
It’s what it is. I’m not thinking about this as my work being slower. And yes, I have spent more time on things I could ordinarily have been faster with. But I’m thinking about it as a rediscovery of life. Who says speed outweighs accuracy?
I’m rediscovering life, really. I’m content to be losing perceived control, to really be gaining actual control.
My helplessness has brought me a fresh hopefulness and a fresh sense of direction.
I’m totally hopeful! I’m hopeful in a fresh way in the things that really matter! That Jesus is the builder of His church and that He is not ever caught unawares! That when it’s all said and done, God is in what’s left, and in what’s right, and in what’s above, and in what’s beneath, and in what’s around, and in what’s within me (I preached a message on that last weekend, titled ‘Where is God When Life Hits?’)
I’m 33 now. It might sound crazy to say, but I’m happy I didn’t live my whole life without experiencing the big ‘refresh’ button that COVID-19 is giving me. Not many generations have this privilege! I’ll write about this in my autobiography someday. I’ll tell my grandchildren about it someday. It will be a reference point of essence over vanity.
May our head screws be rightly bolted.
The plague shall come to pass, but my life will never be the same again.
And I’m not insensitive about the several people that have lost their lives or precious loved ones to this- I’m just not in control of that. I’m only in control of what I do with my life.
Shout out to all those on the frontlines! Love and prayers to all those hurting and suffering in some way or the other. May we all be reminded that Jesus is an eternal statement of a God who is with us!