Have you felt it, too?
The unspoken, internal struggle of somehow redeeming this season to be more beautiful and memorable than ever? The pressure. The weight.
It feels like so much has been taken away from us. So much has been stolen from my kids. My daughter will never know the true joys of making memories in kindergarten because she’s experienced it all from my kitchen table. I want nothing more than to be able to counterbalance the awfulness with fun and joy. So in my head, I have created lots of fun crafts and baking opportunities and photo shoots of matching pajamas.
Spoiler: none of those things have happened.
I get it. I really, really do. Our brains are telling us that we should have a little more family time this year to create even more special memories. We want our littles to feel special. We want to fill in the void of all of the loss and replace the negativity with light. The reality is, all of the lights and any of the most special moments you are looking to create cannot fill the void and the pain of what this year has taken from you.
Don’t kill yourself to create joy, okay? You know me. I am all about the lights and finding comfort in absolutely anything I can right now. But the truth? The truth is that even with all of the external stuff we can find to light up our environment, we can still come up empty.
The truth is that everyone I know is weary. Including me.
We are weary of changed plans.
We are weary of plan B’s. And C’s and D’s.
We are weary of urgent care waiting rooms and counting down numbers of isolation.
We are weary of wondering. Waiting. Hoping for breakthrough and change.
We aren’t the first ones to experience an unorthodox Christmas Day, let alone a year of surprise and heartbreak. Jesus entered the world after 400 years of silence and shattered every expectation of who the Messiah was supposed to be. I am pretty positive Mary’s vision for her first child didn’t involve a baby out of wedlock miles away from her family and hometown.
The story of our salvation was born, literally, out of inconvenience and flexibility. The Author of our faith wrote the narrative of salvation through a lense of unexpected and radical obedience.
My prayer for us is that we would lean into the responses of Mary as we are thrown loop after loop this year. The reality is that although it may feel like we are simply subjects to the facts of the environment around us; the truth is that God is deeply involved in the details of our lives. While COVID-19 is altering the globe, the same Author of salvation has a storyline and a purpose weaved into your personal life. Rather than, “Why me?” or “When is this going to end?“, I wonder if we could have a different approach.
It makes no difference that we only have 15 days left in the calendar year. The date is just a number. But the condition and the obedience of our heart can be brand new with each morning’s fresh dose of grace. May our hearts take on the attitude of Mary, after being dropped the biggest bomb of her life:
“As His servant, I accept whatever He has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.”Luke 1:38 TPT
I’ve told you throughout this post that your best is enough. Practically speaking, it is. But you and I both know that even at our best, the glimmer of truth shines through us to remind us that somehow, even with our best efforts: there’s still something missing.
That has always been His intent. That when our very best attempts still make us feel like a failure, we would turn to Him. May our effort and our hard work fall to the side as we drop our tasks and open up our hands again. May we not throw ourselves into working hard for a positive attitude. Instead, let’s focus on obedience.
Surrender isn’t simply letting go of our own plans, it must also be trusting His.
Maybe all of your best laid plans were taken from you this year without permission, through sickness or that horrible “q” word. But maybe, with just 15 days left in the year, you can make the choice yourself to give up that last shred of attempted perfection. You can choose to open your hands and your heart, and allow God’s holy interruptions to shape you rather than forcing them to break you.
We are the Lord’s servants. Let everything He says about us come true.