I love to stay at home. I loved it a lot more when I had a choice though. This pandemic has changed so much for so many. Income loss, worsened depression and anxiety, longing to be touched again, missing our friends and family; all of this combined with the paralyzing fear that we might get sick is just too much. It seemed to happen so fast. The once busy streets are now silent and eerie. The booming cities now resemble ghost towns. We are all afraid of what’s next and the unknown. This is something that our children will remember forever. I don’t want to waste this time. I know there is a light at the end of this.
The churches are closed, but we still find a way to worship. Through social media, we have been attending service right in our living rooms, still in our pajamas. I feel myself growing closer to God as I lean on Him more and more every day. He is in control and I remind myself of this every time fear creeps in. Faith over fear, I repeat. I believe that every single thing that happens in our life is meant to teach us something. This is our wake-up call. How do we want to remember this troubling time? How will we choose to spend all of this extra time we’ve been given?
I have lost my second income, but I have gained every night with my son. I can no longer shop for things I don’t need and my checkbook is thanking me. A night out on the town has turned into reading reviews on the latest Netflix series. All of the concerts I was going to attend have turned into knowing I will be safe at home instead. All of the little disappointments are giving way to the things that really matter. Fear over how much worse this might become has turned into more time in prayer. More time in prayer has turned into me feeling closer than ever to my friends and family, even though we are forced to be apart. Best of all, I’m closer to God.
We are told not to fear, or to not be afraid over 100 times in the bible. Not once are we told that we should worry. When my anxiety kicks in, I remind myself of this. When I’m feeling judged, I’m reminded that only God can judge me. When I’m trying so hard to get things right but still feel like a failure, I think of Peter who denied Jesus, or Judas who betrayed Him. We are all going to fail at times. We are all flawed and we are all sinners. But I know that no matter what, God’s not done with me. When relationships are lost, I am thankful for the One who holds me in His arms, time and time again. God is on the move and it is becoming more evident all the time. He does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to give it all to Him. Every doubt, every fear, every insecurity, every hurt, every struggle and every worry is what He is willing to bear for us. Because we are His.
There is so much opportunity for growth, during all of this. We have been given time to slow down, reflect and learn. For some with depression or anxiety, the alone time can be brutal. I’ve learned that when I take my eyes off of Jesus, I dwell on all of the things that the devil wants me to believe about myself. I worry obsessively about what others think of me. I replay past mistakes in my head. I wonder why I’m trying so hard to fit into the mold that society has created for me, rather than loving the woman God created. And then I become sad because I will never live up to the expectations of people. I think about all of the things that I am not and all of the things that I have been told are just “wrong” about me. I let judgment cloud my vision. I let the whispers torment me. I beg for reassurance. I feel so unworthy. At times, I have nothing left to do but fall to my knees and pray.
Suddenly, I’m thinking about how Jesus suffered. How he was tortured and crucified. And he went through all of this…for me. God sent his Son to die on a cross…..for me. He knew me before I was born and He knew I was going to be this way. And He loves me so much still. He tells me I am worthy. He tells me His love will never fail me and He will never leave me. He cherishes me. He makes all things new and every day we have an opportunity to start over. In this time of crisis, I want to set my eyes on the Truth. In moments of frustration or loneliness, let me be reminded of the big picture. Someone once said to me, “you don’t know my heart” and it’s true. We don’t know what’s really in someone’s heart. But God does. He sees us in our glory and at our worst. And He loves us just the same and only asks that we trust in Him. He saves us. That is the big picture. It’s really the only picture.
- Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong. Do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.”
Let’s use this time to love one another, to forgive and to heal. To embrace who we are and reflect on the things we wish were different. To start writing again or begin that home project we’ve been putting off. To learn a new hobby or dive back into the art you were once passionate about. Let’s open our eyes to what is really happening here. We have a chance at becoming kinder humans. Let’s help each other. This is our wakeup call.