Anxiety. Pain. Crisis. Fear. Pandemic. Isolation. Many of these words have been in the headlines these last few weeks as people come to grips with the “new normal” of Covid-19. Zoom and virtual chats. Church on line and working from home offices. Unemployment. Everything has been shut down and cancelled until further notice. Disappointment. It’s been long enough and I think people are beginning to feel it. Now, I don’t normally have anxiety. In fact, I don’t understand that fear of the future emotion, much to the shagrin of my friends and family who often find anxiety crippling. “How can you not ?” “Don’t you care?” But — It’s not about that. It’s me being different from you. My brain is wired unlike yours, and God made us each unique for our own unique purposes. This is not up for debate. It simply is.
Today though – today – I am feeling all the feels. Not anxiety and what ifs. Not fear of catching viruses. Diseases have been around much longer than this. Our days are numbered and we should not fear. Many are suffering. And many of you are wired to help — and you are. You are spreading joy and doing your best to connect when it is hard to connect. Keep doing that. Continue to bless the new superheros working on the frontlines and the spiritual leaders who are trying to shepherd at a distance. #Faithoverfear is being touted as the believer’s response to this pandemic. Jesus called us to stand firm in our faith. I’m with you on that. However, He didn’t ask us to be stupid. He encourages us to pray for, and obey, our leaders. He asks us to share His love and be kind. He didn’t ask us to take risks, but to be wise and seek council. He gives us tools, and expects us to use them.
And yet, I am preaching to myself as I write these words. You’ll forgive me if I use this platform as my journal this week. Maybe it will benefit you, too, as we positive self talk together. Because today, I am feeling all the feels. There are too many people in my space. There is no routine in my world right now — and I thrive on routine. There have been things happen this week that have made me sad. I am frustrated and angry. Not fear or anxiety, but insecurities and fights for control. And it’s not about right and wrong. Most of us have never experienced something like this before. We are winging it together. And please don’t tell me I just need fresh air and human contact. I am fully aware of the physical consequences of isolation and too many carbs. I am smart. I know things will eventually come out the other side.
Yet, they say the biggest distance on Earth is the six inches between your head and your heart. You wanna know where God lead me this week? What I mused about? John 14. Twice in this passage, Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled…” Your heart. That seat of emotions where things get mixed up and messy. The disciples knew Jesus. They had seen what He was capable of. They lived with Him. They ate with Him and followed His every word as He taught and prayed. And yet, He comforts them where it counted: in their hearts. Oh my friends, it’s not about whether you are in your pajamas for the whole day. It’s not about doing three hours of homeschool (or none!) or eating pasta again for the umpteenth time. It’s not about your double chin, your hairline, or the background lighting in your video chat. It’s not about doing the “right” thing. It’s not about knowing — it’s about understanding.
We’ve not been this route before. The disciples had never met anyone like Jesus before, either. They knew things, but they still didn’t understand the whys. It wasn’t supposed to be like this and our humanness often gets us mixed up in emotional messes, especially when the Devil gives us an extra dose of doubt, stress or insecurity. Jesus knew the path He had to take this week before Easter, and He knew His followers would be confused, misplaced and be having some “heart trouble”. It’s comforting to know that He still is in the business of calming that unsettling feeling deep within our chests.
I wish you virtual hugs this week, and encourage you to read and muse about John 14 along with me. May you be smothered with some supernatural peace in these unprecedented times (especially when you are feeling all the feels!) and “…let not your hearts be troubled….”