Updated: Jan 2
How are you doing?
It's a genuine question. Take a moment and really think about it. How are you, really?
I would generally consider myself an optimist who sees the best in people and who usually sees the bright side of each situation. But I am starting to struggle to find that sparkle these days.
Deep into the second Covid-19 lockdown, add in blustery cold winter days, and no ability to socialize in the midst of this very different world has left me feeling bereft of joy. Did I also mention that I am working almost straight nights? For those who know me, nights are not a highlight. I sleep like a feather and would consider myself chronically uninspired these days.
I have been looking back at my pictures from about this time a year ago. When we had no idea what Covid was and had never been through a lockdown before. I look happy, I look good even! My hair is done and styled and my make-up is done and I'm laughing or smiling a genuine smile and I see that twinkle in my eyes; I recognize it as joy, happiness is a silly moment captured by my phone's camera.
Those moments feel so very long ago. Now I look at my reflection in the mirror and I look tired. There is not much sparkle that's for sure! I wear the same cozy clothes at home on repeat, and although I still do my hair and make-up occasionally, it is just not the same. My children are home with the lockdown and we do not go anywhere. I work nights and I mother three girls and I repeat. The monotony does wear me down. There is none of that inspiration to be, "put together" if you will, when all I do is walk down my hall and straight toward the sink to start loading the 1687th load of dishes since the lockdown, and then back up the hall to do the 5849th load of laundry. I look around and see the same space we have occupied for weeks on end, and look at the same clutter that I move from table to island to countertop countless times as I do not want to throw any of it out. I let out an exasperated sigh, completely unmotivated and knowing full well there is zero chance that I am going to wear jeans today because let's be real here, if this is my season of life right now, it'll be lived in comfort.
To be honest I do enjoy hand washing dishes and house chores, even laundry. The chores are not the issue. It is the day to day loss of my community and ability to interact with humans that I am missing so very much. I have realized that life has become so uninspired without friendships and outings. I miss holding my nieces and laughing with my family members while seated around the same table drinking coffee and snacking on finger food. I miss hugging my friends whether in tears or laughter. I miss going to church and singing praise and worship to God. I miss it all!
Life feels low.
Inspiration is low. Motivation is low. Creativity is low. There seems to be a general sense of monotony that has settled on and all around me. It was in this mind space where I opened up my Bible. My faith is my source of hope and I realize that I need to plug into my source of hope more and more often these days to carry me through this hard season. It is not about what I feel like doing. Because when I am feeling uninspired and grey, I don't want to do anything. I know that I have to choose and thus show up in my faith, or it will wither further.
So I kid you not, I grabbed my Bible and flipped it open. It opened up to Jeremiah 29 and read my own highlights. And it spoke to me. These were the words I needed to hear.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT
And if that was not already inspiring me, the bookmark was equally great.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19 NIV
I feel that in this hard season of isolation and uncertainty, we need to turn to Jesus and recenter our hearts and calm our minds on the God who is the source of our hope and our joy. No, this may not change anything in your situation or home, but you know what it will do? It will help to change your perspective. I find perspective is always clarifying. It is incredibly powerful. A perspective shift from grumbling to gratitude (and I am very much pointing my own finger at myself!) helps to alleviate that greyness from my day. In the midst of this pandemic, I still have so very much to be grateful for. So I will chose a heart of gratitude and look forward to our future, one that is hopeful and bright. One that is centered on Christ. He promises that if we look for Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him.
Father God, in this hard, lonely, and uncertain season of life, I look to you. I seek you. I acknowledge that I need you to be my hope when all feels hopeless and I look to you to be the anchor that holds me when I feel that I am drifting away in despair.
Father God, I look to you for encouragement, remind me that your plans for me are good and not for disaster (Jeremiah 29:11). Remind me that my hope is in you, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19). Help me to realize when I am starting to despair. Help me to see the many ways that I am blessed so that my heart will have a posture of gratitude instead of grumbling. Thank you for being our Rock who is solid, trustworthy, and unchanging.