What does our faith have to say about living in this time?
Reflections on Galatians 5:22-26 (Fruit of the Spirit)
This week the governor issued a “Safer at Home” order, instructing all but essential services to close and for people to stay home. About half of the country is under such an order (24 states and over 50% of the population as of Friday, March 27).
Clearly, there are differences of opinion, state-to-state and person-to-person, on the best strategy for fighting and controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus. What does our faith have to say about living in this time …
Let us pray… Lord, now may the words of my [pen] and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight – you, who are our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
I have been spending more time than usual online and on social media these last few weeks, both trying to keep up with the rapidly changing pandemic news and also figuring out how to get information out to people in the congregation in a timely and consistent fashion.
One thing I will say about this time – EVERYONE has an abundance of opinions about what everyone else could or should be doing. Trust me; I have plenty of my own opinions as well.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never done well trying to conform to other people’s expectations and opinions of me. I am a Myers-Briggs INTJ and an Enneagram 1 (Reformer). I am responsible, a perfectionist, and fixated on improvement. When I was a child, my mother would tell teachers and other parents that I “followed my own drummer.” I think this is why I am best suited for interim work – seriously NO ONE wants me around long term! (My husband is a saint.)
For good and for bad, this is who I am, how I am wired. This is who God created me to be.
And so my brain goes into hyper drive, racing to analyze and improve the situation…
I feverishly eavesdrop on every other church’s websites looking at how they are doing worship services and I begin to panic over the sheer volume of stuff I don’t know how to do and then feel overwhelmed by the ads that start popping up in my feed because now the cyber universe knows that I’m interested in video conferencing and cameras and digital worship resources but I have some free time because some stuff is canceled and I don’t have to factor in travel time to meetings and really I have the BEST staff and volunteers who are capable and willing and human too and now I’m home with my children – they are both adults but still I’m their mother and shouldn’t they do what I ask them to do the FIRST time and of course it is ok that Charlie’s caregivers can’t come any more – they are needed for more critical clients who don’t have other resources and since I’m home all the time anyway it’s of course going to be totally fine and we can make sure grandma has groceries and calls from her grandkids and dinner is on the table and laundry is done and the house is cleaned and those walks with the dog – I swear she needs to pee ALL THE TIME and heaven forbid you leave your laptop open for the cats to sit on and press random buttons with their feet and elbows no I didn’t mean to SEND that message …
This was an illustration but I think it mirrors what a lot of us are feeling right now. It is the kind of mental spiral that can sending a person crashing into an emotional pit because isn’t it obvious that I’m not good
enough to do ministry like those other better, cooler, pastors who seem to have it all together and look composed and calm on the video screens and those people on facebook who have all the time in the world to do so many creative projects and meditate for hours and finally write that novel and repaint the bathroom and organize their sock drawers…
When the crazy starts to wear me down, I bring myself back to the simple truth that I am not any of those other people. I would be a complete failure if I tried to be someone else. And “failure” in this sense is really good news for me.
For good and for bad, I am who God created me to be. And I am enough. I am loved. And I am made to share that love with others. That’s it. Just love. I am not in competition with anyone to be the best ME I can be.
One of my recent favorite quotes circulating on FaceBook is this one from business and life coach Dave Hollis, “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”
What are those parts of “normal” that helped me be more loving? Which parts of what I’m learning now, in this “new normal” help me do that even better?
We are all tasked with so many responsibilities and pulled in so many different directions. But the really important stuff all centers on how well we love one another. And right now, loving one another looks a lot like staying home which keeps it safer for those who need to be out.
Ignore those voices inside yourself and elsewhere that want to compare you to someone else. Remember that you are you and you are loved. Now and always.