I woke this morning with this nagging sense of sadness. It sat with me as I ate breakfast, followed me throughout my morning, and then nestled close as I sat to read.
I wrestled to identify a reason for the emotion. Until, I stopped and reflected on our new reality—a world of imposed limitations, social distancing, forced confinement. And now, experts are telling us it could be weeks before we flatten the curve and move towards our post-virus norms.
Certainly, a reason to be sad.
A friend shared, “We are relational people.”
And as relational beings, we mourn the loss of our freedom, the touch of a friend, the interaction of our tribe. If we are honest, we are all a little sadder, a little out-of-sorts, as we adjust to the rhythms of today.
A Shift in Surroundings
I continued to sit curled in my office chair until I noticed our dog, Titus, pacing the floor. A clear indication it was time to go outside for a walk.
We made our way out the garage door into the sun peeking through gray clouds. The wind swirled in the trees. We headed down the street and crossed the intersection when I caught a glimpse of the trees lining the normally busy street.
The trees had buds gracing the ends of their branches. Some ready to open while others tightly closed waiting for warmer weather. We moved from tree to tree, admiring the uniqueness of each.
And as we moved, I noticed something had changed inside my heart. The sadness had shifted and in its place was an overwhelming sense of calm. A peacefulness in my world despite all that was wrong around the world.
Titus finished all he needed to do and we turned the corner to head home.
A single bird’s song could be heard in the distance. The dirt in the flowerbeds adjacent the sidewalk disrupted by the crowning of crocus and daffodil. The earth was coming alive.
A Shift in Perspective
We made our final turn towards home and I realized, this simple walk had helped shift my sadness to overwhelming satisfaction and peace. My perspective changed to focusing on the Creator instead of the brokenness.
Sadness, fear, and anger are all natural reactions to our new lives. But, we can’t allow these feelings to hold us captive in a world that still contains so much beauty—God’s masterpiece revealed in such personal ways:
A surprise discovery of children’s artwork displayed on the sidewalk.
A hummingbird, motionless on a branch.
The silence of early morning—void of the noise from cars and trucks.
Lingering over a warm cup of tea, no demands, an opportunity to just be present.
Time, unscheduled and unhurried, spent with loved ones in person, through technology, and in the memories of our minds.
These are all gifts our new reality offers us. Wonderfully orchestrated by our Father.
A Shift in Our Soul
Frank Peretti, author of “This Present Darkness” shares, “God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn’t come our way for no reason, and He seems efficient at using what we endure to mold character. If we are malleable, He takes our bumps and bruises and shapes them into something beautiful.”
I am confident that God is going to use the outcomes of this virus to mold our character, shaping us into something beautiful. But only if we are malleable. Only if we are willing to see beyond our limited perspectives to His amazing plan. Only when we surrender to His authority and love.
Today we may not be able to comprehend what beauty can come from such devastation but God asks us to trust Him. Trust that His ways are not our ways and that He remains in control—even in the face of the chaos we are experiencing.
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How is your heart, your attitude, your mindset? Has sadness, fear, or anger overcome you?
Do you need to experience God’s amazing perspective-shifting love? A little taste of His miraculous in the face of the mundane of your days.
I encourage you to spend time with your Father today. Settle into a comfortable chair, plug in your favorite music, and prepare your heart to be moved from anxiety to calm. God is waiting for you to surrender those things that keep you wrestling. He offers in their place His peace, a peace that is beyond our mind’s ability to understand.
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