This season has been hard - for all of us.
When Coronavirus became a thing in other parts of the world, I, along with many of you thought we would not be heavily affected. I thought, sure, it'll hit America, but certainly we'll be ahead of the game, right?
Well here I am, being humbled, and eating my words.
At first, I may have been apathetic, or rather unafraid that COVID-19 would affect me. I think we all did at some point in this journey. But this quickly changed, sooner than later for some. While I'm thankful I do not know a loved one (yet) who has the virus, it certainly has affected me in ways I never thought possible. And for this, I'm truly sorry for not taking it as seriously as I needed to from day 1. (Please note I've been following the rules of social distancing and staying at home but I did need a heart change at first!)
So how has this affected me you may (or truly may not) ask? While for now my job is seemingly stable (I say this because you know what people say when you assume things!), Taylor's job is questionable. His team works incredibly hard to provide fresh, sustainably grown produce to those in our community and those around the world - with the mission to feed 30 million people by 2030. But when everyone is ordered to stay home, a lot of ways they make income have been shut off. I've seen his team work tirelessly for weeks to keep the doors open - but it's a dog eat dog world right now. They've taken steps to stay open, but we're still waiting and praying that the God who can do anything will provide them a way to continue working, but knowing if not - He is still good and He will still provide ways to make ends meet.
Additionally, we've recently been pre-approved to buy a house - which is beyond exciting! However, due to current circumstances we're wavering if we need to pause. The decision to pause, while a bummer, is not the end of the world, but we've reached the realization that we need to make this step sooner than later because we won't be able to afford rent due to increasing rates. And that's scary. We're in a new territory of limbo where we are forced to wait, and take it day by day.
I share our current situation because when these realizations hit - everything became so much more real for me. But I share these to not be a Debbie Downer, to receive sympathy, or that I don't believe we - along with everyone else - will be okay. I'm sharing because this season has taught me so many things I never realized I needed to learn. Why? Because for the first time in my lifetime - and maybe yours - we are being forced to pause. We are being forced to wait. We are being forced to remove our hope in earthly things and put hope in the only Being that will never let us down. Things tend to get real when all distractions have been removed.
We all have an opportunity before us: to take this time to learn, grow, adapt, and change - to do what we might have felt we've needed to do for awhile. Let me say - this is not geared toward our leaders, first responders, food service providers, etc. They are already working and adapting tirelessly. This is for the person who has felt that nudge for quite some time and used the reasoning of being too busy to take the next step.
With that, I beg to ask: What are you going to do with the now while you're waiting for the later? What's been laid on your heart during this season?
Maybe these are some things to consider:
1. Find rest in the down time you've been given. Recognize the things that are of value and deserve your attention, and let go of things that don’t. When this season ends - what aspects of normal are worth returning to?
2. Continue moving: in body, mind and spirit. Continue physically moving for mental and physical health. Continue moving in conversations and community. Continue moving closer to the Lord especially in times of uncertainty.
3. Pray expectantly, knowing the Lord can do ANYTHING, but also knowing that if He answers your prayer differently than you want that He is still good and will still provide. (Sound familiar?) List out those things that you’re specifically asking for (being able to continue working, health, etc), but also list the things you can be thankful for in this time. Pray for our leaders, healthcare workers, the sick, and anybody else that comes to mind.
4. Serve. How can you serve in new ways or continue to serve your community?
5. Determine your needs verses wants. This season is forcing/encouraging us to focus on the needs vs wants more than anything else in our lives. We’re encouraged to follow the guidance of our leaders (which is Biblical - not going down that rabbit hole today though!) and by doing so we’re giving up a lot of daily life. However, it’s teaching us to be frugal with our money in some areas but generous in others. This season is teaching us that there are great needs and we have means to help. Teaching us that we have many luxuries most don’t have. Teaching us that anything we have is not ours anyways. What can we give up, what can we give to the Lord, so His name can better be known?
I often plan my days down to the minute. But I typically never include time and space in that schedule to pause. Until now. What are you going to do while you wait for normalcy? While you wait for clarity? While you wait for the next step? I hope we all look back on this season and realize that we used this time wisely, that we have renewed perspectives, and new respect for everyone around us.
If you're feeling the weight of this time - please know you're not alone. If you need a friend to talk to - please reach out. I'd be happy to listen or connect you to people that can help more than I can. I'm praying for YOU. I'm supporting YOU. We truly all are in this together.