I am one of those people who hang in the background to gather information & get a feel for the room before I make my presence known or enter in on a conversation. This comes from my Peacemaker 9 personality. I hold back because I do not want to offend.
But…there comes a time when we must all take a stand, enter the arena and be part of the solution. I believe this to be one of those times but I feel a bit at a loss of knowing exactly what to do.
The first thing I know to do is PRAY. As I’ve prayed about this I’ve been reminded that I’m created with a purpose & intentionally made. I need to embrace this fact & not overlook my gifts. I gather information before stepping in. Maybe you are same way, or maybe you are looking for a way to enter the arena. If so this is for you.
I’ve been listening to a lot of social media post in the last few weeks. The problem I’m finding is social media is often filled with opinion & emotion that is not always healthy & seldom grounded in the word of God. Below are links to some good resources & conversations from around the internet that I want to invite you to listen in on. These influencers are inspiring me to be better. I pray that they will help shape us individually to be a part of the larger solution.
I’ll keep posting below as I come across more uplifting and productive conversations. Please join me in sharing the conversations you are finding that are speaking truth & touching you by adding them to the comments below.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31
Race, Injustice, and the Gospel of Critical Theory
Well, That Escalated Quickly: A Conversation About Race With Franchesca Ramsey
Phil Vischer: Holy Post – Race in America
Emmanuel Acho: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
As I turned the calendar to June I reached for the eraser to clear off the pre-pandemic plans and start over. I was supposed to be headed for Florida next week for my first 5 day Women’s Breakaway Retreat. I had reserved a beautiful home in Daytona with lots of ensuite bedrooms & a private pool. We would enjoy some relaxation, fun with good company & grown in understanding of ourselves. I’d train & coach, my girlfriend would cook & help facilitate. It would be a blast, and I was so incredibly excited!! Then COVID.
The last 11 or 12 weeks have been a blur! Lots of fear, overwhelm & grief mixed with isolation has created what I call COVID Brain or the COVID FOG.
We are being bombarded with messages of fear talking about sickness & death and hospitals being overrun while lacking in supplies & equipment. We are being told to isolate so we don’t get infected or worse infect someone else, even if we are asymptomatic. We don’t even want to cough around another person. We wonder if it’s safe to go to the grocery & do we need to wipe down everything when we get it home? We have seen toilet paper and cleaning wipes disappear from store shelves and just as they start to return now it’s meat. We wonder what might be next.
We are overwhelmed with the amount of information and conflicting information being published & distributed. We hear everything from more people have died than in multiple wars to it’s all a hoax. How do we process what is true? We are overwhelmed by keeping up with daily changing orders and closures & openings & mandates & suggestions. As one commercial puts it we have become “social distancers, suddenly homeschoolers, and living room exercisers”. We are overwhelmed in juggling all the new roles & new technology….most of which we don’t like & would have never chosen for ourselves.
We are grieving the loss of proms & graduations, seasons, competitions, performances & recitals, concerts & bbq’s, birthday parties & dinners. We can’t be with loved ones in hospitals & nursing homes & are overly cautious of our newest additions because we don’t know, for sure, how to best protect them. We are grieving the loss of small businesses & big dreams that just couldn’t hold on. We grieve a ‘normal’ that we know won’t every really be the same again.
And as if all of this is not enough, we now are being reminded just how far as a culture we still need to go to love each other well.
If you are still with me & reading this post, aren’t you tired? I am. I am tired of the FOG. I’m tired of life being on hold.
It is a new day. It is a new month. I’m choosing today as a new beginning. Will you join me?
I’m not fooling myself to think with a simple change of attitude I’m suddenly going to have my **** together & be able to act like the pandemic is over or racism doesn’t exist. But today, I will do one thing that makes me feel hopeful. And tomorrow, I will choose to do another. What will your one thing be today?
If the FOG is keeping you from seeing anything you can do, then pray. Simply ask God. ‘God, what is one thing you want me to do today?” He will never steer you wrong!
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Let’s encourage each other to start seeing through the FOG by posting your one thing below. This isn’t a comparison game. It can be small. After all, how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.
Shelter at home orders have forced us to slow down our busy lives or at least cleared our calendars. I wonder how many of us have have simply exchanged one type of activity for another. Are we learning what it means to be still?
“Be still, and know that I am God;…” (Psalm 46:10) is a very familiar & often quoted verse. But it is also something most of us struggle with. You may not be running between meetings, practices or events right now but how are you with getting your mind to be still? Are you worried about exposure, finances, or wonder what the future is going to look like?
I believe that learning to be still to know God & to know who we are in Him is an essential spiritual discipline. But I don’t believe there is one ‘right’ way to do this. I think there are many. The discipline comes in finding what works for you and continuing to make it a priority. The video below is an awesome post that was shared by Amy Grant that explains & demonstrates one such practice that helps us.
I would love to hear what you do to be still & connect with God. Post your favorite ways below in the comments.
If you are looking ways to refresh your spiritual life & spiritual practices join us for a “Refresh Your Soul” workshop.
Easter feels very different this year but the reality of the season is just as powerful today as it has been for approximately 2000 years. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. It is our understanding and perspective that changes. May this Easter Sunday be a chance for all of us to refocus in the midst of overwhelming days.
I pray you will find this holiday:
a little quieter so you can hear His voice louder and
a little slower so you have time to be more reflective on the reality of an empty tomb.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” -1 Peter 1:3
Jesus offered up prayers with “loud cries and tears.” (Heb. 5:7)
Have you given yourself permission to do this yet? I’ve learned over the years that stuffing the hard emotions & fears actually allows them to grow and fester. They eventually ooze out in not so nice ways. But, if our God is who He says He is, He can handle your hard feelings. And amazingly, He wants us to bring them to Him. When you finally let go and allow yourself to feel the hard stuff and verbalize those thoughts & feelings to God, He can start to heal you by loving on you & encourage you & reminding you He’s got this!
Listen to Max Lucado speak on granting yourself a good meltdown: