We all have a different reality from which we view and experience life. The Lord has given each of us individual grace to a walk through our own personal reality. I don’t have the grace for your reality. You don’t have the grace for mine. But should the Lord merge our realities, we can rest assured we’d each have the grace necessary to manage and rise above the challenge.
One of my boys expressed frustration over a challenge he faced. He brushed it aside as he talked, saying, “I know it doesn’t compare to how hard others have it.” Is that how we process our hard? In the light of another’s?
I assured him that his feelings matter. We need not compare them to someone else’s situation to determine if it’s ok to feel a certain way.
But I get it. I’m sad when I interact with social media these days. We are so quick to dismiss and shame another’s feelings. We also have little patience and grace for the journey we are each on. At the first post where we may express where we are currently, we are blasted by someone with an alternate perspective. As a people we are taking it as our full time job to make sure the rest of the world sees the situation the same as we do. And if they don’t, well we distance ourselves in our heart from them.
I’ve had people respond to things I’ve posted telling me they don’t like my wording and they wish I would change it so it aligned with their thoughts and perspectives. I find that so interesting. Are we not allowed to disagree anymore? Are we not allowed to view the same situation in complete opposition yet still maintain unity? I fear not.
I opened my prayer journal this morning and poured out my sadness to God. Currently, our world is in a situation many of us have never faced. COVID-19 is new and unknown, which brings fear. Fear causes reactions that aren’t our normal.
As I’ve watched this situation develop, my thoughts have developed, transitioned, even changed. This is human. This is natural. But what is happening on social media doesn’t show the full humanity of us as people or this situation. And that leaves me sad.
Just as we each live in our own reality, with our own personal grace from God, we each process life differently.
In the face of great anxiety, humor is a lifeline for some. For others, humor in the face of danger is offensive. I see people post in humor and then others follow behind telling them to take it seriously. I’m not a humor person so initially I felt it was a lack of respect. I’ve changed my opinion. It’s not a lack of respect as much as their way to cope. But in a world where we can’t differ anymore, this becomes harder and harder.
In the face of fear, some take to flight, some take to fight. Some run away and horde. Others take quick action and stand and serve.
In the face of fear, some become extremely sensitive and tender to those around them. Others become cynical.
It’s time to confess and repent of our pride and strong opinions. I’m guilty. I confess. I repent. My I have a heart of compassion stronger than the opinions I hold.
At the same time may we be gentle with our own souls today. The fear is real. The sadness is real. God is more real. We can trust Him.
For the care of my soul today, I poured out my heart to God. I expressed my deep sadness to Him. He cares about what we care about. He cares about our sadness. I decided I wouldn’t judge my sadness in the light of another’s sadness. I wouldn’t compare this trial in our world in the light of WWII or a time in history I didn’t experience or have the grace to walk through.
I’m a human today, living in the real fear and reality of today. I will take those to the cross and hand them to my Savior, trusting He will carry me close to His heart.
Today I told God I’m sad.
I’m sad I won’t see my son finish out his basketball season. I won’t get to hug our teammates and high five a fantastic season.
I’m sad many of us will fail to see the completion of what we’ve worked so hard for.
I’m sad for the beginning that will fail to start. Sad for full seasons that will be skipped.
I’m sad for seniors who will miss so much.
I’m sad for leaders making decisions that hold a weight of enormous impact.
I’m sad for our economy and what lies ahead.
I’m sad for working parents struggling to care for their kids at home and maintain their jobs.
I’m sad for parents who don’t want to homeschool, thrown into a world so foreign.
I’m sad for the judgement cast back and forth on each other based on how we each are processing and handling our fears and realities.
I’m sad for the ones who live with this type of fear all the time not just in an outbreak.
I’m sad our country simply can’t unite, even in sickness and fear.
I’m sad we can’t be physically close to people.
I’m sad we can’t gather together and worship live.
I’m sad we don’t know how long this will last.
I’m sad. Naming my sadness helps.
I don’t need to be understood by others because God understands me full well. And I think that is where many of us are struggling right now. We are reaching out to social media to hold us, to tell us it’s going to be ok. We are reaching out to social media to validate our opinions, positions, and feelings.
It can’t. It won’t. But God desires to be the One to fill our needs, to comfort, to care, to carry us. He hands out grace freely. Grace isn’t only a word used for salvation. Grace is needed to live this life daily, moment by moment.
We are all walking in unknown territory as our nation decides how to fight COVID-19. We are urged to exercise social distancing. Because of that we are in close quarters with our family members and many are excited about a free schedule and more connected time. But then some have no family members. This is extremely hard on them. If we could simply look from alternate views, I believe our empathy would grow.
What is stifling my own empathy is social media. I find my heart harden and cynicism grow. I can’t have that. When I see this happen, I know a social media break is in order. Sometimes I take a one day break, sometimes a one week, and sometimes even longer.
Maybe if social media is what you are struggling with most, a new definition to social distancing can take shape. Maybe social distancing includes a social media distance for a time. So we can process our own emotions without the sway and judgement of others or even our own selves.
I think we can all agree on one thing, we each care about some aspect of this situation, and we are scared. We may be scared about different things, but we are all scared. I pray we can be easy with our feelings, allow them to grow and change as they will, and love others well while they do the same.
We are all in it together. May God be glorified. May we resist fear and hold firm to Christ in the days ahead.