I don’t think I am the only one who has felt like our lives were put on hold because of CoVid19.
Plans were changed, vacations cancelled and events were postponed indefinitely.
Being an introvert, I didn’t have much anxiety over the idea of staying at home–until it meant social distancing from my loved ones. One of my greatest joys is my grandchildren, and the idea of not being able to see them regularly or missing out on celebrating birthdays and holidays with them was hard on this Nana’s heart. While the world seemed to be on hold, nothing could put a pause on these precious little ones who were continuing to grow and experience life without me.
My parents are both in their 80’s and despite the risk were adamant about spending time with family. They have lived long enough to come face-to-face with the brevity of life, and were unwilling to sacrifice any amount of time to a “what if?”. Knowing that they were cognizant enough to make their own choices, I respected their decision and have visited them regularly.
As unique as this last year was, the feeling of having our life “put on hold” is not particularly out of the ordinary. Sometimes it takes center stage because of the season of life we are in, or perhaps when circumstances around us dictate it because of sickness, transition or just a period of waiting.
As a young mom, it was tempting for me to think that my life–or my own needs or desires had to be put on hold because I was raising our tribe. The truth is, if you had asked me prior to childbearing what my greatest desire was (and still is), I would have answered, “to be a wife and a mom.” Funny isn’t it, that when God blessed me with children, I would have moments of self-pity and wonder when I would ever have time for myself.
Can I just say here that I am human, and I do know that sometimes busy moms just need a breather, but that doesn’t excuse a selfish attitude or behavior. We live in a world that is constantly telling us to focus on ourselves. You can’t watch a television show or get on social media without being inundated with materialism and hedonism, trying to sell us on the next new gadget or gimmick that is supposed make us feel better about ourselves. Young girls today are growing up hearing that they can do everything a man can do–and with the same breath implies that to be valued they have to have the right hair, makeup and clothing if they want to be beautiful. The mixed message here not only denies the biblical role of men and women, it breeds a confusion of the truth.
“Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
What does this have to life being put on hold?
I was pondering this “life on hold” feeling, when God gently reminded me that He is in control, and therefore our life is never really on hold. The real issue here is more than just our physical circumstance–it is the condition of our heart. Could it be that when we feel like our life is on pause, it’s because we are focused more on what we want than what God wants for us? When we desire anything more than we want God’s will for our life, we are choosing to reject what God has allowed in our life. Saying or praying “thy will be done” is often much more easy to say that it is to accept, isn’t it?
The question is, is today an accident or a consequence of someone else’s choices? God gives man free will, and yes, the freedom to chose and endure the consequence, but in the scope of eternity, God is still sovereign. Think about that for a minute. He is not just a casual observer! He is always at work, and He can accomplish His purpose in and through us–despite our humanity. The Bible says that every day is a gift, and that God already knew that this day would come before any decision or action every came into view.
One of the most amazing things we read about Jesus was His sacrificial spirit. Most people know the story of His death, burial and resurrection. Even those who have never read the Bible for themselves will have a general knowledge of the story of Easter. They recognize the man on the cross and even celebrate that He came back to life, but don’t fully understand the “why?” of the story.
(To find out more, read my FAITH page here.)
The baby born in a manger at Christmas was the same man who claimed more than once to be the Son of God. He didn’t waste the years He spent on earth focusing on what He could do that would make Himself look better or be more attractive to those He was trying to influence.
He spent His life serving.
From His first public miracle where He turned the water into wine to provide for a wedding, to the upper room where we see Him washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus…
One of the lessons I learned in 2020 was in the avenue of surrender. This is a road that never leads to a dead end. When I choose to surrender my will to His, He reminds me that no matter the circumstance or season of life–even in this–I can grow and learn and become more of what He created me to be.
Don’t you see? Our life is never really on hold. As long as there is breath, there is life and there is an opportunity to magnify and glorify the One who gave us this moment in time. Don’t wish away what God has for you today. Look for ways to serve the Lord by serving others. Resist the temptation to focus on yourself and choose to focus on someone else you might need exactly what you are looking for. Are you looking for Kindness? Be kind to that tired, grumpy cashier. Friendship? Be a friend to that person that others look down on or criticize. Lonely? Find that single or that widow who just needs someone to talk to. Down and discouraged? Try smiling anyway. Brighten someone else’s day by greeting someone with a smile–even if it’s behind a mask. You will find that focusing on others is often a catalyst for change in your own heart.
I don’t know who needed this gentle reminder today, but God does. He sees you and He knows right where you are. Trust that He loves you and wants to guide you through this crazy world.