Usually, when I sit down to write, I try to put myself in the mind of my reader and introduce the topic in such a way that my reader will not be lost for lack of common ground or understanding. However, I feel I hardly need to introduce the idea of the world being turned on its head because every one of us has been living it and has been affected by it in one way or another.
One word: COVID-19
Two words: Family, Ministry
Three words: Closed Doors, Relocation
Four words: A Whole New World
Five words: Learning to Live Life Again
Besides being a bizarre new method of poetry, the above pretty much sums up what our lives have been like in the last six months. There was one large overshadowing issue that affected our family and ministry. Because of that (and a few other reasons), we had to leave the country where we had been serving and move back to the U.S.
Learning to Live Again
We are very happy to be back but have gone through and will continue to go through a period of adjustment. Sometimes, just when I think I’m getting my feet on the ground and am back into “normal life”, I’m hit with feelings of how different everything is now.
I feel joy when using the toaster and toaster oven and comfort at knowing my electricity and water will probably stay on and keep running. Even the privilege of having a mailbox in front of the house makes me tear up. Am I the only one who l gets excited about the circulars from local grocery stores? And the library, don’t get me started about the incredible opportunity of having access to the public library!
Then there’s the flip side. I still sometimes find myself pulling out of a parking lot and wonder if I’m on the right side of the road. Many times, I feel lost when listening in on other’s conversations because I have no idea what they are talking about. It’s also easy to feel excluded and disconnected and, at times, I just don’t have the mental energy to make the effort to try and build bridges of understanding with others. Sometimes, in the jumble of this upside-down world, I even feel disconnected from God (Gasp!) and I seem to have more questions than answers. So, what’s a citizen of an upside-down world supposed to do?
What Am I Supposed to Do Now?
“What am I supposed to do now?”
After returning to the US, this question really stressed me out until one day I realized Jesus was also talking to me when he was asked about the greatest commandment. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
Is that all? No problem (just kidding).
I’m not going to try and unpack all this right now, but I do want to say that in order for me to know how to love God and love my neighbor, I need to:
- Be in the Word. I need to spend regular time reading God’s Word. I need to think about it and let God speak to me through it.
- Be in prayer. I need to spend time listening to God. It’s easy to try and distract myself from the craziness of life through entertainment and projects and not be still enough to hear the voice of God.
- Be thankful for the many blessings I have and don’t focus on what I feel I don’t have.
- Be a blessing to others. As I focus on God, he will open my eyes to the many opportunities I have to serve others, even with the restrictions I may have of avoiding large gatherings, health struggles or busy schedules.
- Be faithful to keep growing in these things and doing them.
Rather than trying to bear up under the stress of knowing the answer to the questions “What’s next?” or “What am I supposed to do now?”, I can focus on the simplicity of what God calls me to do. In that simplicity I can let my insecurities, uncertainties and fears go. God calls me first to love him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then, I am to love my neighbor as I love myself.
What things are weighing you down today? Can you let them go as you realize God has already provided the answer?
BONUS: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 NIV