A month ago, I went into self-quarantine for two weeks on the heels of an international trip. It honestly felt like a sweet deal as I gained a forced break from our usual crazy calendar. I had hours of bonus time with Rob and a houseful of kids. Work was interrupted to walk our dogs in the sunshine, bake and bake some more, and enjoy spring’s takeover of winter. But fast-forward to today, and I’m feeling kinda over it.
This long interruption of normal doesn’t feel quite so wonderful. We feel grieved and helpless as friends and loved ones lose paychecks or health or suffer painful isolation. Our sweet family time is over since our grown kids have headed out. Home learning is an uphill climb for our youngest, who really just wants to camp out with Minecraft all day. We had to choose pants that fit over more yummy treats from the oven. The toilet paper supply is dwindling! We’ve resorted to home haircuts. Yikes. Errands are slow and stressful. We desperately miss our parents and kids, friends, and church community. We’re stuck in the tension between bored and distracted, since we want to stay busy and productive but don’t have the focus or energy to do it all.
At our house, we’re not battling sickness or a job crisis or family breakdown. We “suffer” in relative comfort with a full refrigerator, cuddly dogs, and a cozy fireplace. Our true battle is in our minds and hearts. Will gratitude win out over negativity and complaining? Will self-focus crush our compassion for those with real, painful struggles around us? Can we give grace at home, or will we spoil our togetherness with quick tempers and bad attitudes? In the face of much, much bad news in the world, will tenacious hope beat down fear and panic?
I feel the tug of war in my spirit every morning when I wake up.
This morning, in fact, my first thought was, “Oh no. Today will be just like yesterday. And tomorrow will be more of the same. I don’t think I can keep doing this.” But I’m grateful that when I’m feeling over it and losing ground in the battle, I’m not alone. Prayer is powerful. God’s Word sets my crooked thinking straight every time. I can hold on to his promises with two hands when nothing else is stable or sure.
The books of First and Second Peter have been a particular lifeline in this season.
They remind me that as God’s children, we’re in the battle side by side. When the enemy hits hard, we “resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9)
If stress is pushing us over the edge or the kids have stomped on our last nerve, God gives the reassurance we need: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
God can turn my negativity into praise, because he’s using every hardship as a tool of transformation. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” (1 Peter 4:1) God can use the ways we’re limited and stuck to set us free from pride, unbelief, and sinful habits once and for all.
(If you want to study 1 and 2 Peter for a dose of encouragement during COVID-19, I found this commentary to be a great help.)
I’m thankful God is near. And it’s a comfort to know we’re in this together, my friend. Pray with me?
Lord, I’m weary. Worried. Waiting to fill my days with the people I Iove once again. The enemy is whispering in my ear, saying I can’t do this. It’s hard to keep my eyes on you and remember the lavish love you’ve poured into our lives. Without you, I’m going to fall on my face.
Lord, fill me with strength. Give your deep peace that can’t be shaken by morning headlines. Breathe your Spirit’s gentleness, patience, and kindness into my soul so I can love my family well. Dress me up in Jesus’ armor so I can win every battle with sin, fear, and discouragement. I trust you are doing a new good thing in my life and our home. Work your Word down deep into my heart so it can change me from the inside out. Your love is life. Amen!