Daily the world right now continues to shut down, to close, to quarantine, to social-distance; a term that was not a term just a couple short weeks ago.
We’re learning new languages, new patterns, new ways of moving, cleaning, sanitizing, and doing daily life.
And in the midst of it all, I have a wild calmness about it. I’ve tried to asses whether I am having angst or not, because our world can easily tell us we should have angst. I’ve recognized that I have a bit, but actually think that some of the anxiousness I’ve responded with is out of obligation.
Interestingly, since last November, I’ve been hearing the word “Retreat,” as in “withdraw;” not meaning “take a retreat.” With the coming of that word, I have been fully convicted that indeed it is God asking me to prepare the way for something. As I’ve shared with some of my dearest Jesus-lovers, “Lord, my palms are open, expectant and awaiting whatever may come; good or bad. I will be obedient and do as you are asking.”
As I moved into that obedience, I had a season of mourning as I faced decisions to step away from organizations within our community that are important to me. I said “no” to social functions, declined new offers to serve on Boards or committees and–even more so than normal–began to really slack on my business administration duties.
This obedience didn’t come without tears and heartache and hours of churning on what is happening–because in the midst of obedience comes doubt, questioning of self-worth and even mental stability.
Also with obedience comes the realization of the prideful person within. The person who easily dogged other people for “not caring” or for “not paying attention.” Lord, forgive me! Numerous times when I was “ON” I would get frustrated with others who weren’t on fire for a cause or their community. Now– I am “The Other.”
When January rolled around, I had stepped back from quite a bit; I made official resignations with the areas in which I was serving.
Since I didn’t have any understanding yet as to the meaning of the message “retreat,” I was thinking it was for the purpose of me to focus on our business. I had been working on assembling a team of talent to help me grow our business in certain areas and tackled those conversations and laid out a loose 2020 timeline. I was actually pretty jacked, and proud, to be so on top of things so early in the year. My natural tendency is a “last-minute-Lucy,” so to be thinking about the whole year is a pretty good leap for me.
Then it stopped. I hit a wall and nearly paralyzed, could not muster a thing to move forward. And still haven’t. Sure, I’m taking care of my day to day, but I’ve got no inclination to ready myself for the year. And as I’ve been chewing on that, I’m now finding myself totally ok that the world is on hold. I somewhat feel relief that I can easily place any guilt about not “being on fire” upon the virus.
But the flip side to the virus is how we are helping others. Are we helping others and spouting service only in crisis? Or all the time? It’s a question we each need to evaluate for ourselves. One that has led me to personally think that some of my response is being led by obligation; not really a place in which I find true freedom. There is an expectation right now that if one is not helping their neighbor or spouting ways to be the helping neighbor, that they are not loving enough, or caring enough or Christian enough. Our minds just might be mis-fit.
WOW! Sounds like what I was going through when I was “on fire” as I spoke above. Man, we are so messed up; prideful, selfish people in so many ways. Lord, forgive me.
As I continue to seek Jesus, I seem to know less and less…and less. Perhaps that’s the whole point. Day by day and sometimes even minute by minute, we continue to put to death our pride, ego, and thoughts of what we think we understand and replace those with simply viewing ourselves and others with grace and love. Perhaps they, too, are being told to retreat. Why don’t I think of that first? Lord, help me.
Other than feeling like I need to get some stuff out of my head, I’m not really sure why I’m writing this blog as I don’t really have any expectations for it. But, if I pay attention to the messages God has given me over my life, I just have to trust Him to use it for His glory if he so sees fit.
In the meantime, I’m asking God to help me ensure my service is in response to his great gift of Jesus–the redemptive gift of salvation from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to be the hands that serve out of guilt or obligation, but only as a response to the holy and perfect one, Christ who is in me, to the Holy Spirit who guides me and to the Father who has created and chosen me.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Gal 5:16
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Gal 5:24-26