When something (anything) disrupts the usual ebb and flow of our days and weeks, we are more likely to discover things we didn’t notice before. That is truer still if the disruption is unexpected and upends more than one area of our lives.
Our lives have changed in cataclysmic proportions in the past month it seems, and our moorings have unraveled for multiple reasons.
Some of us have recognized and discovered some things about ourselves that we may not have seen before or at least the extent of them. Some of us have been so busy with any kind of activity we can find to quell our anxiety or fear that we have not yet discovered much.
What kinds of things might we be discovering?
One of the big ones might be how much of our time is spent on doing. Some of that doing is of necessity and required, but some of the doing relates to activities and involvements of our own choosing that keep our minds, hearts, and bodies in motion nearly all the time.
How often do you ask someone else the question, “How are you?”, and hear back, “I’m busy.”
Even those whose lives have transitioned to retirement remain busy with a variety of pursuits if their health permits. And now many (if not most) of the things that keep us busy by either requirement or choice are gone.
The impact shows up now when you hear someone talking about not knowing what to do with themselves, or how much cleaning they have done to try to fill up the time, or they feel like they are going stir crazy because they are used to being on the go all the time.
Another discovery some might make is how hard it is to be still, quiet, or relaxed not running through each day like a gerbil running on a wheel. The sense of being in such a place creates tension rather than rest, dis-ease rather than ease.
There are many discoveries one can make, but one other I might mention is discovering where we receive comfort. If our comfort comes from other people we may not be able to see, from eating out more than cooking, from running more than reading, from listening more than talking, that can give us a great deal of insight.
This difficult season gives us an opportunity to reassess much about ourselves, our relationships with people and things, and our relationship with God.
It is not hard to see how much we struggle with contentment when what we want to do is denied. Few people had as many experiences to struggle with contentment than the apostle Paul and yet while sitting in prison, he wrote these words to the church at Philippi:
“11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
Perhaps we might use this time to discover that those things we might look to for contentment are fickle because they can so easily be taken away when we lose our control to obtain them.
I wonder if God would want to use this time to have us practice being as our doing is now limited.
I wonder if He would want us to finally take time to simply be with Him rather running on the treadmill, we are so accustomed to doing.
One of the books I am reading is Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly. Kelly asks excellent questions at the end of each very brief chapter that seem well-suited to current life:
“How much is the sheer busyness of your life preventing you from living the life God is calling you to live?
In what area of your life is God inviting you to experience a new beginning?
How well do you really know Jesus?
When was the last time you had the courage to seek out the root of an important issue?
What are you most grateful for?”
Maybe it is worth noting how many authors have recently published books challenging us to slow down, get off the treadmill, and gain deeper soul nourishment.
That was evident in John Eldredge’s latest work, Get Your Life Back, that was released just as the pandemic began in earnest. Listen to these words in some of the opening pages of Eldredge’s book:
“We live in a crazy-making world. So much stimulation rushes at us with such unrelenting fury, we are overstimulated most of the time. Things that nourish us – a lingering conversation, a leisurely stroll through the park, time to savor both making and then enjoying dinner – these are lost at an alarming rate; we simply don’t have room for them.”
We are more acutely aware of some of these things now.
How long we will be in the current way we are living is not yet clear, but perhaps while we are here, we can make this time count by making discoveries that are essential to the quality of our lives (not just the quantity).
Perhaps we can practice the art of being and discover contentment where we would least expect to find it.
Then we, like Paul, will have learned a great deal in the midst of this trial.
18 thoughts on “What Have You Discovered?”
Great article and so many times I have been guilty of saying I am so busy! It seems like I feel like I am busier now than I was before this virus and I realize that it is me! My work really hasn’t increased. I have just filled the time with more stuff. Now, not all of it is bad. Much of it is taking courses in Biblical studies so I can write on various topics, but it can’t replace my time spent with Him and just being in this time and appreciating all I have around me. So thank you for this great reminder and thank you for linking up with me @worthbeyondrubies
Thanks, Diane! I think that is an astute observation of yourself. Often all that busyness is often of our own making. Sometimes we are simply wired more toward that and we emulate Martha instead of Mary in the New Testament story. This period of time is a chance to develop more of what Mary was drawn to back then and as we recall, the Lord said she chose the better part. May we all learn to be more like Mary.⚓️
I do think we are quite spoiled by the ease at which we gain immediate gratification. When immediate gratification becomes less easy and even impossible, so many of us don’t know how to deal with the disappointment and we view it as discomfort and even inhumane. Using this time to recenter and refocus is a God send that many people seem to be missing. I have chosen instead to take advantage of it! Another wonderfully inspiring post, Pam! Thanks for sharing and linking up.
I do believe this time is a gift and I’m seeking to savor it though I have to fight against the urge to simply want to get more done, even during this time of forced isolation. Your post reminds me of something I heard a Christian from another culture say many years ago. He said that He wondered how American Christians can really develop a deep relationship with God because we don’t appreciate time to do nothing (by our own estimation). We find it hard to just be still and by with the Lord. This is an opportunity to grow in that spiritual discipline. One I need to work on. Thanks for your very thoughtful post. I’m pinning. I pray you will stay well and continue to grow in your trust in God during this time.
That’s an accurate observation from the person you noted here. OH has been at this for almost 6 weeks already as our governor chose to pull us home earlier than many and my urge to get things done has been tamed a great deal week by week and with it my peace and contentment have grown exponentially. I think we misunderstand what “doing nothing” means and how often we westerners are so consumed with activity that we think it means to literally “do” nothing. Sometimes we forget it means using the time for the important versus the urgent lists that pursue us to keep working at them so we lose the preciousness of life and time and the gifts they are.
Thanks for those prayers and I pray so for you as well.
I like Matthew Kelly’s questions! Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Pam. I hope we don’t look back on this time and see that we wasted it. It truly is a gift!
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Great! I liked them as well, but I am also keen about good questions that provoke me to thinking more deeply😊 I so agree about how we use this time.
Thanks for hosting a great linkup to encourage the rest of us in our outreach!💕
So lovely and beautifully said.
Your message is so timely. I am trying to use this time to really reflect on God’s mission for me. Thank you for the inspirational words!❤️
Praying you discover a clear sense of the “now” mission for you and a fresh resolve to pursue it.♥️
one important truth i’ve learned this year is living one day at a time, Pam.
more than a Bible verse or an AA logo, this is absolute truth and the way we can best make our way through this crisis with our heads still screwed on straight, our perspectives fairly healthy, our souls at peace.
come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Great lesson and one I think He would remind us all to remember. Until or unless hard times come our way, we tend to forget each day is a present, a gift, and the only one we have to invest, steward, grow, and live out. Phil 4:11-13 is to be lived out and now we apply it.
Those are some great questions – asked by Matthew Kelly. Ones to really ponder for a while (perhaps during devotions with my husband tomorrow morning!) Much continues to be exposed to me during these days. My need for control. My preoccupation with “what is ahead” or tomorrow’s goodness…causing me to miss the beauty of today. And on it goes..seemingly every day! Another great challenging post!
I thought so as well, Jennifer. Great idea of how you might use those questions. This is not an easy season, but it does expose a great deal and I think the Lord would have us discover these things to strengthen us individually and as his body and bride. The sad truth is that we learn the most when things are not easy. I look back to school days at any level from primary school through graduate school and I see clearly the instructors that I wasn’t always excited about and pushed me the hardest are the ones I really grew and learned most from.
I have spent more time in the Word this past month. Amazing that after 58 years there is still so much to learn!
Forgot to say that I’m coming to you from Inspire ME Mondays
I get that and maybe it is because the Word is alive in so many ways that we continue to see more.