The honest conversations are the hardest ones to have because they uncover the things we try to hide. Like the things we don’t want to consider, the things we wish to forget, the things we cannot see or the things we don’t even know exist.
Honest conversations are never fun or easy and they take work to address, but the juice is always worth the squeeze even if the squeeze brings pain, vulnerability and true confession.
I came face to face with an honest conversation recently and it brought me so much perspective and gratitude that I feel compelled to share it with you. Don’t worry, there’s nothing to stress about. This little convo is just between you and well, you.
Like legit, is it better OR is it worse?
I entered into this conversation unexpectedly but ultimately thankful. I’m a selfish person, most people are but I’ve always been transparent in admitting that I am and how my prayer of desiring selflessness has become more of a plea and inside joke between God and I over the years as He continues to answer my “plea” prayer by granting me the gift of more children.
I absolutely adore God’s sense of humor.
But in all seriousness, my top sin battles are against selfishness, impatience and anger (all of which I’ve openly admitted over the years). Each one of these sin traps caught me more than once during the Covid-19 pandemic, much to my dismay. In particular, my selfishness has hit me the worst during 2020 because my previously limited “free” time as a mom of five young children has disappeared into no “free” or “me” time. Over the spring and now into the fall, I’ve become a part-time virtual teacher along with a stay-at-home mom to a 2-year-old and a 8-month-old. Make no mistake, my other wife and mom duties have not lessened but rather have multiplied while my personal interests (like going to the gym, attending weekly bible study, hosting small group gatherings, bringing my children on playdates and participating in toddler programming throughout my community) have gone away. I miss my daily routines, a sense of structure and normal chaos instead of uncontrolled chaos, and planning what is to come even though I subconsciously know the truth that I am never the One driving this life ship in the first place.
Focusing on all that has been lost to me during 2020 has eaten me up and at times has led me to spiral into a pit of selfish pity.
I was in that pit, yet again, when I asked myself the honest question of are things better or worse for me post-pandemic? You know what I learned? They aren’t worse. In fact, they are much, much better.
On the surface, life seems to feel out of control but the reality is life always was. On the surface, it seems like I have no time for myself to do the things I enjoy doing. But here’s the funny thing – I’ve realized there are way more things to enjoy than there are things I am missing out on.
For instance, the art of slowing down and unwrapping the present of the present moment. When life is quieter and slower than it is loud and busy, I am able to experience gratitude in its full and complete capacity. I’ve been able to embrace the space away from the bustling world and the calendar that is as wide as it is open. I’ve drawn closer to Christ during this time of crisis and I’ve learned the most important things are those that can never be taken away. They are treasures stored up and cherished both now and in eternity.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”John 10:10 (NIV)
For many, 2020 is a year that wants to be forgotten, wrapped up and passed on but I want to encourage you to take the time to self-evaluate how your life is actually going and what is the direction it is leading you in?
If your life feels worse, is it really? Or does it just feel that way on the surface? If it is actually worse and it very well could be, ask yourself – Why? Why is your life worse than it was post-pandemic? Did you lose a loved one or your job? Was your health jeopardized? Have your relationships been strained or are they in danger? Has your mental health taken a turn for the worst?
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in Him I put my hope.”Lamentations 3:22-24 (GNT)
Intentionally and purposefully evaluating your life and your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is not just insightful but is also wise. It will put both priorities and perspective in their well-deserved places while enforcing a bird’s-eye view rather than a vantage point from a singular perspective. Acknowledgement of the struggles faced leads to freedom, restoration and ultimately, sanctification.
The reality is that Covid-19 has infected more than just physical health – it has affected mental, emotional, and spiritual health along with financial well-being and interpersonal relationships, amongst other things. There is a lot of bad that will come from this pandemic but I am hopeful optimist who believes there is a lot of good that will positively impact the world as well.
The pandemic, both during and after, can be a productive, meaningful and fruitful time to rest, revitalize and grow. Don’t let this year waste away – make the most of your days because each breath taken and every moment experienced is truly a gift.
Take a peek behind the mask and dig a little under the surface. When the world returns to hugs we can physically feel and smiles we can actually see (that include both teeth and eyes!), you will be ready to thrive because of all you survived during this unprecedented time in history!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)