“Who is leading you during this time? Who or what are you allowing to lead you?”
My pastor posed this question this morning during our morning service. Like many other churches across the nation, our congregation has transitioned into a strictly online platform in order to comply with the regulations to refrain from large gatherings. I’m truly grateful to attend a church that can pull these types of resources, and emphasize the point that church isn’t simply a building, but its people.
For me, the question did call for some pondering. As a believer, I do practice the idea of ‘Faith over Fear’. Contrary to what a lot of people think, this does not mean that I blatantly ignore what is going on around me, nor does it mean that I’m purposely being defiant in order to ‘prove my Faith’. The concept of Faith over Fear simply means that, while we are in a trying time, we know that Greater things are coming and that this storm shall pass.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7
However, it can be very hard to keep up this attitude of Faith when we are constantly surrounded by conflicting viewpoints. We watch everyone else panicking, everyone else buying the entire grocery store, everyone else giving someone the death glare simply for coughing or sneezing (not a good time for people prone to seasonal allergies). It’s easy to let this attitude get to us and start second guessing things. Even so, I’ve been trying my best to stay productive and positive through it all.
What I’m Learning About Myself
Think about a time in which you lost your internet connection, or even more, when the power went out in your home. How did you feel during the time that you didn’t have access? Were you bored? Were you frustrated, or even angry? Or did you eventually find something else to do to pass the time?
I think this is how a lot of people are feeling. Many of us are finding ourselves with a lot more free time and not really sure of how to go about it. Like many others, I’ve been grateful for the opportunity not to wake up for an early morning commute or fill my car with gas (it’s been at a quarter tank for a week now).
However, even though it’s a good time to catch up on sleep and (let’s be real) binge watch shows or play video games, I also think it’s a time for some reflection. At one point I had to ask myself: During this time, what is God trying to tell me? What is He urging me to get closer to?
Here are a few things I’ve been learning about myself during the time of the pandemic:
I Actually Like Exercising
For a while, I’ve been under the impression that I hate working out. True, no one really ‘likes’ the feeling of being sore or out of breath. Really, we enjoy the feeling afterwards of accomplishing something, of pushing ourselves, and–of course– the results.
What I’m finding is that I actually do like being active. I find myself looking forward to the daily walk (about 2 to 2.5 miles) I’ve implemented during my lunch break. Even now, I’m looking forward to the workout I plan to do tonight and the light workout I’ll do in the morning before I set up for work. I like the feeling of keeping my body healthy. Why did it take so long for me to realize this?
Well, my day is usually so full of running around, having meetings, running errands, etc. that I’m usually too mentally exhausted to entertain the idea of working out. And I usually want to get as much sleep as I can, which means working out in the morning typically doesn’t happen. I didn’t hate exercise, I just hated exercise when I didn’t really have much mental energy to put into it. Ironically, in a time where I thought I’d be gaining the most weight, I’m actually losing weight instead!
Cleaning Keeps Me Relaxed
Yes, cleaning can be a very annoying chore. But I find for me it’s been a real stress reliever.
A lot of that is psychological. Our environment plays a huge role in our attitude and actions. If we’re spending time in a messy or cluttered room, our minds tend to feel cluttered along with it. Subconsciously, we are adding in more stress on top of our other thoughts.
I’ve been enjoying keeping my apartment clean. My living room smells like a Bath & Body works plug-in and I actually fold my clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer! There’s something extremely calming about not having dishes in the sink, having organized shelves and closets, and having a clear floor. By decluttering my space, I’m also decluttring my mind. This is allowing me to dedicate more mental bandwidth into more important things.
I Crave Closeness with God
That shouldn’t come as any surprise, but for me it’s been a nice realization. I don’t think I’ve ever pursued my relationship with God as hard as I’ve been for the past three or four months, and it’s been a great experience.
Another point that my pastor made during his sermon is that we are hearing God more, not because He is suddenly speaking louder, but because we are finally ridding the things that distract us from Him. Seriously. At this point, many companies have switched to employees exclusively working from home. Restaurants and franchised cafes have switched over to a ‘carry-out’ only policy. Malls, movies, and other retail spots are closing their doors or working at drastically reduced hours. We’re at a point where the only distractions we have are the ones we’re choosing.
With that being said, I’ve been even more driven to read the Bible and to pray. While I’m not downplaying the seriousness of this pandemic by any means, I can’t help but wonder what I should be receiving during this time that society is putting itself to a halt. In the words of Shug Avery, ‘maybe God is trying to tell you something right now’.
Like many others, I am praying for all those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus, and that it doesn’t become something that consumes are lives for the next few months. But in that process, I definitely want to keep a positive mindset and keep an attitude of gratitude.
I sincerely want to hear from you all: What are some things you are discovering about yourself during this time of crisis?
Your Friendly Neighborhood Awkward Penguin,