“It’s not about where you’re going, but how you get there.”
Let’s do a check-in. In the midst of this pandemic, are you sad, frustrated, angry, scared, or confused? How have these emotions affected you? Do you feel motivated to get stuff done or are you instead glued to the couch or trapped in your bed most days? Some of you may be dealing with boredom and have counteracted that it doing anything and everything over this break. You are trying things like painting, reading, puzzling and more. Some friends of mine have even been attempting to make Kombucha! Read Pastor Stu’s blog from last Tuesday about boredom to get some guidance if you’re struggling with that feeling. I know though that others in our ministry have gotten an overload of stress with due dates, fear of losing work, sick family, lack of housing, etc. I’m definitely on that side of the spectrum and have struggled with what I know as “paralysis by analysis.”
Analysis paralysis is when overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become “paralyzed,” meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon. The amount of work that has been piled on, the number of problems to solve and the grief that has come with “Plan A” being destroyed has left me doing nothing. Sometimes It’s just easier to wallow while finishing the video game Overcooked 2 in three days instead of applying myself.
What you’re feeling is valid. You do not have to come out of this pandemic having learned a new language, lost 20 lbs., or achieving some other success. It is healthy to mourn in this time; however, we can’t allow ourselves to waste away and allow the devil to not only control the world around us but also the hope we have in Christ. Take the time to grieve postponed weddings, missed graduations and cancelled vacations, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Seek God, and what He would have for you in this challenging season. In the book of James we read:
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:4 (NIV)
Perseverance is not only about giving great effort towards something. It is being persistent despite obstacles, failure, or knowing what is to come. We don’t know if we’ll be here for the next two weeks or the next five months (hopefully not, I have a Harry Styles concert in August). Many of us are going to be facing many trials in the weeks to come. We must persevere, knowing that God will do a great work in us even in this storm. For some, that may mean doing the dishes for the first time since the world shut down, while for others, it may mean reaching out to a friend and being Jesus to them.
Last week was faced with a potential diagnosis of COVID-19 in my parents. They had all the symptoms and were quite sick. However, they tested negative. Apparently, they got a nasty flu at about the same time as this crisis. Who would’ve thought? I have also been living in fear for my husband, who is immunocompromised. We’re also worried about our jobs, money and school. It’s left me absolutely paralyzed. Perseverance for me was going to bed at a reasonable time last night instead of at 5 AM. It was also sitting down and completing some papers I have been ignoring for a few weeks because I have been so overwhelmed. Seeking God’s guidance in all of this chaos has strengthened my relationship with Him, and I know that because of my perseverance, the Lord will continue to work through me. Tomorrow perseverance will be making dinner instead of driving to McDonald’s again.
As I write my posts for Beulah Young Adult’s blog, you’ll understand very quickly that I learn and teach through song. Usually, older songs that have walked me through various situations in my life. I have no idea why I find this to be so useful. Maybe it’s my runner-up enneagram eight nostalgia that causes it (Eights value the past greatly). When writing about today’s subject “perseverance”, I had the song “Bring It On” by Steven Curtis Chapman stuck in my head. Now, I grew up listening to Mr. Chapman. Many of his songs defined my childhood, but if you’re not into cheesy early 2000’s Shine FM music, I’d suggest just reading the lyrics.
It’s God alone that my hope is in
But I’m not gonna run from the very things
That would drive me closer to Him
So bring it on
Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let me be made weak so I’ll know the strength of the One who’s strong
Bring it on
We from Beulah Young Adults understand just how difficult this season may be and that it may seem impossible to persevere at this time. You are not alone. We want to support you; however, we can in your journey with God. We want to encourage you to reach out to your group members and to us. You do not need to face all of this alone. We all need to be the church in this time and persevere alongside one another. If you are not in a group, reach out to us at email@example.com, and we’ll get you connected.
I also want to encourage you to check out the Abide Pack. In it, there are resources such as a daily reading plan, prayers, podcasts and book suggestions and writings on the issue’s spiritual discipline. These tools can walk you through what a life surrendered to Christ truly looks like and support you in deepening your relationship with Him as you choose to persevere.