Thursday, April 23, 2020

covid-19 // i. learning


I struggle with knowing how to talk about COVID-19. Not that I don't have thoughts, but I feel almost too untouched to speak about it -- I still have my job and a steady paycheck, I live in a safe home with no threat of violence, and as an introvert I love all this time spent alone at home. As terrible as this virus has been for the world, it's been a gift in my personal life.

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One of my shortcomings, and I think one of many people's shortcomings, is the desire to skip the painful, hard times and get straight to the lesson learned. We prematurely surrender things to God without first working through them; we cheat themselves of wrestling through our desires with God and experiencing Him transform those desires within us. When we face something like the coronavirus, we instantly want to know what God is doing, what lesson we should learn, and then move on with life as before.

During the first few weeks of the crisis, I kept asking those questions, "What am I learning in this? What is He doing?" And to be fair -- there were some immediately obvious answers. He showed us how fragile we really are, how the things we cling to are not secure, and how only He is unshakeable and unchangeable.

But there were some personal lessons to learn as well. I asked the Lord to reveal the idols of my heart. I've spent more time praying in these six weeks I've been home, and I've felt the Spirit move significantly in several ways:

generosity // My income has remained the same and many of the things I used to spend money on (eating out, work clothes, activities with friends) are no longer priorities. At the same time, so many people are out of work and struggling to get by. My money is better spent meeting others' needs.

contentment // Now that I'm in my apartment all the time, I'm more appreciative of the things I already have. This time has been a gift to savor small joys, like a good cup of coffee in the morning and a daily walk around the neighborhood.

selfishness with time // I'm overly protective of my time. Work right now is busier than normal, and I was resentful of work hours spilling over into my evenings because that's my time. And yet I felt the Spirit prodding me about this one last week in the midst of my grumbling. These are some of the works set aside for me to do, and I should do them joyfully, regardless if they sometimes cut into my evening hours.

letting go of anger // Jennie Allen's podcast episode about anger revolutionized the way I think about it. She said the key to letting go of anger was to give up our rights to whatever we felt entitled to, which allows us to respond with humility. I often get frustrated with others because I impose my expectations on them, but when I let go of these, I see how often my anger is rooted in selfishness or a desire to not be uncomfortable.

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