Taking a nap everyday will not make this go away.
Starting your 10th episode of Tiger King will not make this go away.
Eating oreos will not make this go away.
Drinking a bottle of wine will not make this go away.
This is not going away.
When we’ve gotten sad and gotten angry, gotten frustrated and frightened–when we’ve felt the full range, honored them as powerful and meaningful and human..…a new time comes.
This week I keep thinking about the greatest generation. (The ones who survived the great depression only to fight in world war 2 and propel us into the space age.) When I think of their resilience and courage in every obstacle and evil, I’ve wondered how they did it. I wonder if they felt the same waves of anxiety and fear and sadness as they pressed on.
I wonder most of all if I would have had the guts to rise to the occasion.
As Brene Brown said,
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
When given the choice will I choose comfort or courage? Right. Now. Right where I’m at.
I’m not an ICU doctor or truck driver or a critical care nurse. I’m “non-essential”.
But I can still choose courage in my here and now.
- With my family. — I choose to be present and patient and powered by Jesus for my three stir-crazy and big-feelings kids. They need a mom who plays games even though she’s anxious, takes them out to walk to burn off their energy, and helps them process their emotions and all the changes in these days.
- With my friends. — I choose to both connect and encourage, with authenticity. I will bring my true, wholehearted, messy self to the Facetime or Zoom calls, but I also won’t let things spiral into negativity and gloom.
- With my spouse. — I choose to serve with kindness and allow space for weakness. I’ll be courageous enough to be vulnerable with my own feelings. I’ll be quick to forgive and forget; quick to make memories; quick to laugh; quick to kiss; quick to love.
- With my social media presence. — I choose to be a hope spreader in the wild, wild west of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. I won’t spread fear or fake news. I’ll source my information and take breaks when I have nothing helpful to hear or say. I’ll lead by sharing grace and truth.
Will I rise to the occasion and choose comfort over fear in these everyday, ordinary moments in this extraordinary time in history?
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have FAITH AND ARE SAVED.” Hebrews 10:39
If you’ve been waiting on a time to be a leader….the time is now.
It’s totally normal to be afraid, to be scared, to want to hide in a pile of doritos and hoard everything you can get your hands on for yourself.
But I don’t want to be normal. Not on your average day, but especially not today.
The LEADERS are going to overcome and press on and show others the way. How to quarantine well. How to coronavirus well. How to live like Jesus for such a time as this.
We are going to teach them how to be a joyful mom who leans on Jesus, and prays often and forgives much during these times.
We are going to teach them how to be generous and thoughtful, instead of selfish and prideful.
We are going to show what compassion is. What faith is. What perseverance is.
As we buckle down and stay home or gear up and go out to those essential jobs on the frontlines.
I wrote in my journal a few days ago…How can I come out of this time BETTER?
How can my faith be a light now in a bigger way than ever? How can I be an encourager? How can I be a faithful church member? How can I be a compassionate community member?
How can I put others’ needs before my own?
Listen friends, this time is scary, this time is too much for us.
But it is not too much for God.
You are not strong enough for this. You are not strong enough to do what is counterintuitive and RISE UP in this time, BUT GOD IS and God is in you. So you can be strong. So you can be a leader.
His power is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9
For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:10
My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the portion of my heart and my strength forever. -Psalm 73:26
I don’t have to worry about tomorrow because God knows what I need and He cares about me. -Matthew 6:34-35
Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength and will RISE UP. -Isaiah 40:31
Some of us are ready. But maybe we are embarrassed or too nervous to say we aren’t worried. We fear that stepping up in this time will brand us as an opportunist or uninformed.
Maybe you’re ready because you’ve lost a child or fought cancer or endured the constant weight of depression or failed at something big or lived through a different type of crisis. You have been pumping iron in the gym of adversity and your faith is mighty because of it.
And we need you.
Right now, we need you to tell us that as bad as it gets, God is there. And when all hope is lost, He is the light.
We need you to tell us that it’s hard and we don’t “deserve it” and it sucks, but also we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength and we will get through this.
And I believe 40 years from now or at the end of our lives however many days that is we can look back at these days and say…
“Yeah I struggled, it was hard, but it also was the catalyst and the explosion of my faith.
It led to a revolution in my thinking and my heart and my perspective.
The coronavirus changed me; it made me a better leader, a better parent, a better spouse, a better Christ-follower to have walked that road.”
We’ve heard a lot of wartime mentality language being used around COVID-19. And I think it’s true and impactful and realizing that this is war made me think of just a beautiful reassurance that God gave to one of his children in the Bible.
Joshua here is a general, he’s a wartime leader and he’s about to enter the biggest battlefield of his life. And God sends an angel (maybe even Jesus himself) to tell him this:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous. Not by umph or effort, but by the presence of God WITH you.
By the presence of God with you.
Whether you go this week into a hospital to work…. God is with you.
Whether you are at home trying to teach your kids and work online at the same time… God is with you.
Whether you are stocking shelves at Walmart or working in a factory…God is with you.
Whether you are “essential” or “unessential”…God is with you
Whether you are diagnosed with this disease or admitted into a hospital fighting for your life…God is with you, even in this.
Be strong and courageous.
He is with you.