If you could hear the thoughts inside my head (which no one wants) you would hear this sort of self-talk. “Yeah, you really blew that one. Don’t do that again. Wow, that was dumb!” And then … “Persist. Keep on trying. Don’t give up. Keep learning. Apologize. Persist again.”
Can you think of a time in your life when you experienced a sudden shift? Perhaps something on one random day just changed? Maybe it was a relationship or a career that took an unexpected turn. Possibly at this moment, you are being reminded of a point in time that marked a different terrain for your physical, mental, or spiritual health?
Shifts happen to all of us at some point in our life’s journey. Change is a certainty. And not all of these fork-in-the-road moments are bad. However, for most of us, these unexpected life events are destabilizing, to say the least. Loneliness tends to creep in and cause us to feel isolated in a situation, not of our own choosing.
Persist in these things:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.Romasns 12:12-13
Usually, change is personal, but then 2020 happened and humanity on a global scale experienced a mass shift in lifestyle. Most everything normal to our daily routine was shut down, unplugged, and made inaccessible. People everywhere on our planet were confronted with unwanted and unexpected change. I could be wrong and often am, but I think no one came out of 2020 unchanged.
And yet for many people, this time of isolation became an opportunity to persist in living and in faith and in doing good for others. Our homes had the potential for becoming prayer closets and sanctuaries. Many people opted to take advantage of the good that could be achieved by persisting in love, honor, and serving the people to whom they had access. As I look back now I see a time in history when creativity and ingenuity spiked to high levels in an effort to keep on living in a time of great duress.
Persist in these things:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:14-15
Even as so many people suffered all manner of illnesses and even death, and just as many felt the pain of loneliness in grieving tremendous losses, our built-in human desire for connection and relationship caused us to think way outside of our cultural boxes. Social media was full of touching stories in which birthdays, weddings, Mother’s Day and so many other special moments were celebrated sometimes through windows or with drive-by parades.
Do you remember any creative activities in which you were able to participate?
Wasn’t it just good to let creativity carry you outside the normal routines in order to create good out of a bad situation?
Shifts. Change. Unplanned circumstances. Unexpected and unwelcome moments have the potential to send us careening into a ditch. Yet in all things, even looking up from a ditch, hope flickers persistently to move us toward life. I hope to never again experience anything like the horror of 2020 and the resulting consequences through which we are all still finding our way. But, I can honestly say that I am grateful for the interruption, the slowdown, and the opportunity to live and think creatively outside the box of routine.
Persist in this:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:18
It’s good for me to remember. It’s good for you as well. It is good to look in the rearview mirror from time to time and recognize from where we’ve come and from what we have lived through. It is good to persist in living and doing good and serving others. It is good when change happens and I am flailing inside to gain some equilibrium to choose to persist again. And keep on persisting until I am called home.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.2 Corinthiasns 4:7-9
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
What does Jesus want you to know about an unexpected change or shift currently occurring in your life? Have you sat with Him and lamented the uncertainty of this moment in time?
Would you be okay to let yourself rest and catch your breath for a time? Will you allow yourself to feel the emotions stirred up by current events? And will you give yourself permission to seek Jesus and possibly another trusted person with whom you can process your loss of equilibrium?
Jesus, this stuff that has happened in my life feels really awful. I’m feeling ______________________ and can’t quite catch my breath because of it. This situation has rocked me and knocked me off balance. I want to know what You think about what is happening. I want to see what You see and feel what You feel. I want to have Your perspective. I need wisdom. Thank You for giving me wisdom when I ask.
Help me to be still. To listen to You. To be teachable at this moment. Change me through this set of circumstances to look more like You, Jesus. And place someone trustworthy in my path with whom I can process and find balance again.
For Your glory, Jesus, and my maturity I ask these things. Amen and thank you.
Today I am participating in the Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung and her crew of brilliant writers. The word this week is <persist>.
Setting my timer for 5 minutes and finishing a work which was already in progress. Grateful for the motivation to finish this piece.