I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.
This time is hard.
The best way I heard our collective situation was explained by Steven Furtick in his message this past Sunday. All of us are facing the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.
Some of you are nurses or police officers. You work in a grocery store. You are considered essential. And while you’re super grateful to still have a job and be paid, you’re jealous of everyone else staying home and steering clear of all the germs.
So many of you are simply on hold right now. You’re a teacher or you work in a restaurant. You own a small business. You have no idea what on earth this means for your job or for you personally. Every single moment is one big question mark, because how are you supposed to prepare for something like this?
Some of you are quarantined by yourself and going crazy. Some of you have teenagers and wish every day that you were by yourself. Some of you have newborns, and you don’t know how to feel about anything.
I can only speak for where I am right now. That’s the authority that I have. And my experience is this: I am a stay at home mom with little kids. At the beginning of this school year, I found nine hours a week that I had by myself. With a six and four year old, there were nine collective hours they were both in school. During this time, I got stuff done around the house. I wrote. I prayed. I listened to sermons. I sat. I breathed in space.
And in the past nine days, I have had effectively no physical space. The four of us are operating twenty four hours a day in a limited amount of square footage. Bear with me, okay? I so understand the value of perspective. Every single morning I’m asking God to remind me that this time is a gift. I love my family. I don’t need to fear tomorrow because He is in control. People are dealing with real crises right now, and in comparison, my “problems” should really be nonexistent.
I know all of this.
But what I feel? I feel trapped. I feel like my anxiety has been hiding in the corner waiting for the right opportunity to pounce, and this was it. The thing about anxiety is that it is so irrational.
Anxiety tells me something is wrong. But it is vague and unspecific. It taunts. It yells.
If you were to ask me what was wrong, I don’t think I could tell you. Because I don’t feel afraid. I don’t even feel worried.
Anxiety comes dressed up as irritability, tension, physical weakness, difficulty breathing. Our often body responds before our mind can comprehend what’s going on.
Anxiety tells us that whatever is wrong cannot be fixed, and it must be our fault. Anxiety yells that we will never get better. Anxiety tells us we are crazy and misunderstood.
If you’ve followed me long enough, you know I see a human counselor whom I love a ridiculous amount. She and God have teamed up time and time again to teach me, search me, and slow me.
You may not have that right now, but you have Jesus. And with Jesus, you are automatically given access to His Spirit; your personal Counselor.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him because He remains with you continually and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 AMP
You have access to Him right where you are. Right here, right now. I know you may not have space. I know you may have little people clinging to you or video calls that don’t seem to stop. The best counselors don’t throw opinions or advice at you. The helpful ones don’t work to fix your problems as soon as possible. They quietly take their time asking questions, allowing you to process and journey until you are able to answer the real questions yourself.
I believe this is what God is doing in so many of us right now. He is not barging in to “fix” us of anything; of our anxiety or worry or impatience.
Where anxiety yells, God whispers.
Anxiety is big and looming and feels all-encompassing. But God is near and He is gentle.
Anxiety is an intimidating bully. God is an empowering and loving friend.
There’s only one stipulation: we have to let Him be who He is. Unlike anxiety, He doesn’t push His way in. He doesn’t use force. He won’t yell over the noise. He waits for us to come to Him.
So hear me… don’t wait anymore. Find a way to get to Him. It may feel so impossible. Cry out where you are. Hide yourself in a closet or in your car. Vent to Him.
He assured us that life would be difficult. He isn’t asking you to like your situation right now. Instead, He is asking us to come to Him. Unfiltered, raw and honest. He is not looking for the Instagram-mable version of you. Be real with yourself and how you’re feeling right now, and be vulnerable with your most trusted Counselor. Allow Him to be your hope, your self-control, your patience and peace.
“For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” [John 16:33]