There are a lot of stories being told right now; stories of panic and fear, stories of who’s to blame and who should have done what and when, even some stories of hope and optimism. In the middle of all this, it’s hard to know what to think and what to believe!
When you interact with people (or read their social media streams), you can almost immediately tell where they are getting their stories. Those who are glued to the media outlets often repeat the fear, blame and negativity we often see there. Those that are finding some positive in the situation tend to want to share positive stories. Others are lost in their own stories of discouragement and anxiety based on their own circumstances, (this is certainly understandable!). The point I’m making (or trying to make…it is Monday!!) is that we have more control over our narrative than we realize.
In this pandemic, everyone has a spin and unfortunately, some have even taken “sides.” We can’t control what is happening in the world, what our leaders do, or how our economy rebounds. What we can control is the story we choose to hear, believe and yes, speak!
I want to encourage us this week to stop and consider what narrative we believe and agree with. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and think about what we are thinking about! We get to decide what story we will believe, what narrative we choose to tell, both to ourselves and others. We may not be able to control much right now, but we can control this!
Listen to Proverbs 15:30: Eyes that focus on what is beautiful bring joy to the heart, and hearing a good report refreshes and strengthens the inner being.
Take some time today and reflect on this verse. Ask yourself if you are spending more time on the good reports or if you have possibly allowed a more negative narrative to take root. Determine to focus on the beautiful and the good reports–they are out there! Ask God to refresh you and strengthen you as you realign your thinking with his.
A scripture came to mind this morning that I want to share. I sense we each have our own set of struggles right now; possibly disappointment that Easter is coming and our normal traditions and celebrations will be different, possibly missing family and people we would normally spend time with, or facing financial stress as a result of the shut-down. I hope this scripture will give us strength and courage no matter what we are facing…
What stuck out to me in today’s verses is the promise that we can “attain every kind of endurance.” I sense we could each use some kind of endurance right now? Endurance to live with family 24/7, homeschooling kids, missing family and friends (and freedom!), having NO time to ourselves anymore. This takes all kinds of endurance.
Consider these definitions for a minute. Are you in need of any of these?
- Endurance is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.
- Perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
- And to forbear is to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.
Ok, the last one. Really. How many of us need some forbearance right now with our husbands or kids!? Or pets? I mean 24/7 is a lot of time together. Let’s be honest. Are we loving extra time to slow down and enjoy one another? Of course. But we also are being pressed in all kinds of ways if we are not used to being together all the time. This takes all kinds of endurance and perseverance and patience!
Just dealing with the unknowns and onslaught of fear in the media is enough to discourage. Then we add to that the stress some of us may have in our households and I can understand why the Lord brought us to this verse today.
Let’s not miss the last promise in this verse. Two little words: with joy. Not only can we endure this–we can do it with joy. This is a supernatural promise. We can’t do these things in our human strength or will. We must ask God to fill us, to energize us, to invigorate us with his presence…that we could have the endurance, perseverance, forbearance, patience we need. And to experience his joy in the midst!
Make this your prayer this week: Lord, energize and invigorate me in your presence! By the power of your Holy Spirit living in me, give me every kind of endurance I need for this season. Help me persevere in what you have for me to do in this moment; and to be patient and self-controlled as I deal with daily annoyances. Above all, I want to experience your joy in a fresh way, today! I choose to shut out the negativity of the world and focus on all I have to be joyful about: your faithfulness, the promise of your presence, the hope of the resurrection, and the knowledge that I can not just endure but enjoy this time. Amen.
I encourage you to continue this list of what we have to be joyful about. Post it somewhere. Share it with someone.