This morning, I heard birds.
Oh, and by the way, I’m back. Did you know I was missing? Did you miss me? I won’t hold it against you if you have had no idea that I haven’t published a blog in about three months. God and I decided together that this week was the week to return. And this morning, I heard birds. Like, a lot of them. They were singing so loudly, surrounding my house in a chirpy chorus. Why does this matter to you?
Because it’s been a year. A year of pandemic, quarantine, masks, distancing. This time last year, we spent all of our time finding ways to be still and be creative with our time. And the birds sang really loud, just like they are this morning. Do you ever hear a noise or smell a smell and it’s like the most intense version of deja vu? I was suddenly hit in the face with the reality that it’s truly been a year that we have been living this way. Everyone dealt with our new reality in different ways, right? Some of us really thrived with some extra rest and space. Others of us died a little inside when we had to isolate, and we’re still working through that shift.
Me? I’m probably somewhere in the middle. As the year progressed, I found myself seeking safety and comfort more and more. I surrounded myself with Netflix shows, TikTok, sugar and social media. I ate what I wanted because I deserved it. I rewarded myself daily for surviving virtual school in a pandemic.
None of that was necessarily wrong. But what I found is that at the beginning of 2021, I claimed the feeling of emptiness. I felt like everything in me had been poured out and I just couldn’t get filled back up. Not enough energy, patience, or passion. But the truth is, I wasn’t empty at all. I was completely stuffed with things that would never really satisfy me.
Have you been there, too? Have you been waking up and ending each day feeling drained; so unsure of where your energy or focus or passion would come from? Be really, really honest with yourself. What are you putting into your body, heart and mind? What is your knee-jerk response when things feel hard or out of control? It could be eating, shopping, scrolling, zoning out. None of these things are inherently bad. But do me a favor and dig a little deeper. Don’t read too quickly past these next two questions:
Are you really empty? Or are you full of things that never satisfy you?
What I found for myself in January is that I had nothing to write. I had nothing to share with you because I wasn’t leaving enough room for Jesus to really speak to me. Also, I was trying to just survive each day with virtual school. The reality of all of our lives this past year is that we are all living in some state of grief or loss. These levels vary based on your personal experience. Some of us are grieving normalcy for our work or our kids, and some of us are learning how to live without a loved one. By now, I hope you know me a little bit. I am never here to downplay your experience or your reality, and neither is God. He has given us resources and coping mechanisms to get through whatever we are facing.
The truth for those of us who call Christ our Savior is that not only is He everything we need, but He has also given us all that we need. Here’s that promise:
Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by His divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the right experience of knowing Him who has called us by name and invited us to come to Him through a glorious manifestation of His goodness.2 Peter 1:3 TPT
Isn’t that amazing? Pandemic or not, God has already deposited in us everything we need to live a godly life. But we will never reach the depth of that gift if we aren’t in need of Him. The deep need for comfort and safety in anything or anyone other than God steals our awareness of all that we’ve been given. The artificial comforts of the world leave us unsatisfied, always in need of the next thing. God promises satisfaction and contentment.
Here’s the thing. We can feel things are shifting, right? Spring is coming, thank You, Jesus. The world is beginning to open up a bit at a time. Yay! But before we celebrate, let’s take a really good look at what’s been filling us and what we rely on for our contentment. Let’s be careful what we idolize as our comfort and our safety.
Normalcy is not our god.
Comfort is not our savior.
Ease is not our safe place.
A lack of struggle does not automatically produce peace.
What has been filling you? What has become idolized in your life? Think of it this way: if I could just have ______________, then I would be okay. What fills that blank for you other than the presence and the promises of God?
Let me tell you something. I am still watching Netflix and I am still rewarding myself for virtual school. But I had to create more space first to put Jesus in His rightful place again in my life: my Sustainer, my Peace, my Strength, my Passion. Is there anything that has pushed Jesus out of the way in your life? Take a moment to ask Him to show it to you. Ask Him to reveal to you where you can create space, silence, room. He is gentle, and it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.
If you’re not sure what to pray or ask for, steal these words from Psalm 16 (TPT):
Yahweh, You alone are my inheritance.
You are my prize, my pleasure and my portion.
You hold my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I’m overwhelmed by the privileges that come with following you!
The way You counsel me makes me praise You more,
for Your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next.
Because I set you, Yahweh, always close to me,
my confidence will never be weakened,
for I experience Your wraparound presence every moment.
My heart and soul explode with joy – full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
For You will not abandon me to the realm of death,
Nor will You allow Your faithful one to experience corruption.
Because of You, I know the path of life,
As I taste the fullnesss of joy in Your presence.
At Your right side I experience divine pleasures forevermore!