It has been a while since I “had a moment” on this platform. Truth be told I’ve had lots of moments since I wrote last that cover the range of emotions represented by our emoji friends, but have not been in a place to share them. Long before the season we are facing of COVID-19 and a global pandemic, I was in a season of sheltering in some ways. Doing battle with some parts of my identity and disconnecting during that battle from all but those most close to me.
Now we are in forced sheltering – shelter in place. Stay home. Only go out if you have to. Work remotely. Stem the spread of the virus. It is truly an unprecedented time.
We have all weathered individual crises throughout our lives, local crises in the form of natural disasters like our recent Camp Fire that is so very fresh for us. National crisis with 9/11 as we faced the impact on our identity as a country. But global crisis feels new, at least in my short time on the planet.
As a leader I have wrestled with if and when to say something to anyone beyond my immediate sphere of influence – my company, my church, my friends and family. So many have posted great words of encouragement, tips on how to manage this time, wisdom and calm for a world in chaos, and pleas to stop panic buying toilet paper!
In this morning’s email I saw something from Brene Brown with the subject line “Collective Vulnerability” and while I haven’t read it yet, that sentiment pushed me to finally writing this, which was a needed push. Since we're being vulnerable here, I know if I read hers first I probably won't post, I'll just increase my crush on Brene Brown and shrink back lol. So I'll be encouraged by her after I get this out!
While everyone is saying what we could or should do, how we ought to feel or process or lead, all I know is to share what is actually happening for me. So in no particular order, here is my truth, where I find myself on March 22nd, 2020, knowing that we are far from understanding the implications of this season.
- I find myself feeling bad that I am not automatically seeing or recognizing the impact this is having for some, even some that are close to me.
- I find myself having to choose carefully to not think too far ahead (or pull back when I start) because I can’t wrap my mind around all the “what-ifs” and it is too soon to know. As Jesus said in Matthew – don’t worry about tomorrow for sufficient unto the day is the trouble therein!
- I find myself being super intentional with a small handful of people who I know were struggling with super hard things before COVID-19 and are now more isolated and less top of mind as everyone is struggling to recalibrate their own world.
- I find myself unfocused and easily distracted. More tired than one should be with as much sleep as I am getting.
- I find myself wanting to hug people, missing it so much. So I need more hugs from my husband and daughter.
- I find myself just wanting to escape into fiction – whether a good book or Netflix, because staying focused on the present is hard.
- I find myself wanting to connect with strangers across parking lots just to know how they are. Just to connect in a world of mandated social distancing.
- I find myself extremely grateful we bought a new couch in the fall that is so much more comfortable than the old one.
- I found myself on day one of the shelter in place edict, being a little bit jealous of those with essential jobs who have to see people. I get that they probably feel the opposite.
- I find myself praying for small business owners who are so vulnerable and don't see how it is even possible to survive being shut down.
- And I find myself more addicted to my phone than ever before – or perhaps not since it has become our primary means of connection for this season
As a leader and as a follower of Jesus in this season, I want more than anything to lead well, to be a light in the darkness and to present as a calm, non-anxious presence in the face of a world filled with anxiety. I have moments of that, and I have moments when I simply find myself drawing inside and not even knowing what to say or how to feel.
I guess what I do know is tthat this is a journey for all of us that will test our very core. Jesus says ‘do not be afraid’ and yet we experience fear. Will we feel condemned or allow His grace to wash over us? Will we allow for the paradox that exists of trusting Him and knowing we will all be okay, yet owning that not knowing where this is all going is pretty terrifying? Will we think less of others who are scared and unsettled? Or will we give the grace that Jesus offers us to our friends?
I love the old hymn Great is Your Faithfulness and how it keeps the focus so clear. It contains phrases like
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Your hand has provided.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Great is your faithfulness Lord unto me.
Wherever you are in your mindset today. However you are feeling as you “shelter in place” know that you are in the hands of a loving and good God who will make a way where there seems to be no way. He is the one who can grow trees in the desert, bring water in parched lands, and give strength to the weary.
So be kind to yourself. Be present to those who need you. Be proactive where you can to reach out. And when you are able, be positive. The only way I know to do that is by choosing to spend time with the only One who knows the future. Let Him settle your heart and bring the peace you long for. The kind that does not require understanding, just Presence.
Blessings friends. Let me know how you find yourself these days and if there is anything I can do to help. In the words of High School Musical - We're all in this together!