Inspiration, Encouragement & Instruction
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
This week our home was hit with the COVID-19 virus. I highly recommend avoiding it! Not just because it is inconvenient to shut down the events and happenings of your household, but because it is awful. I have heard the big C has degrees and varying impact on it’s victims, so maybe you’d “luck out” and simply have a few cold-like symptoms. That was not the case here.
Clarity of mind is a gift you don’t know you possess until it starts slipping away from you! And with this sickness, the loss of it was so quick and unexpected that I tried to fight through it as if it wasn’t really happening. I wanted to believe that I could use these days at home to keep up, catch up and even move forward. If there is something I dislike more than wasting time, I am not sure what it is--maybe onions or people chewing with their mouths open.
A few years ago, when I discovered the StrengthsFinders, this “achiever” (keep up, catch up, move forward) part of my design started making sense to me. And I could see it kicking in immediately after realizing I was going to be spending several days away from work and activities. In the Strengthsfinder book it says of Achievers, “You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good. . . As an Achiever you must learn to live with this whisper of discontentment.”
Oh, that whisper of discontentment.
You choose where to fix your eyes.
You choose to believe that the way you are wired was determined before the beginning of time and for accomplishing good works.
And, you choose to muster up just enough strength to accomplish at least one tangible thing each day. (Because that is in the very nature of your God-given design.)
Carpe diem wasn’t going to look like what I wanted it to, but I could “seize an hour” here and there and that would be an accomplishment in itself.
Whether or not you have had COVID or been in quarantine lately, I am guessing some portion of your life has been touched by disappointment and discontentment because of COVID. Whether it has been remote working and learning, a canceled or delayed party, or the inability to carry on a “normal” life, this year has been ripe with opportunities to gripe.
To be honest, some of our losses are deserving of grief and mourning. We are humans built with emotions and designed to commune with one another, and the loss of shared experiences hinders our ability to feel happiness and a sense of belonging. It is right and good for us to desire a return to celebrations, vacations and connectedness.
And in these less tangible things discontentment also whispers.
We choose to fix our eyes on Jesus and the hope and relationship he provides us, even (especially), when no one else is around.
We choose to fix our eye on the accomplishments of the Holy Spirit within us--souls at peace, thoughts not controlled by worry, and a heart fully trusting that God is good and he is good to you.
We choose to tune out the media and tune into the heart beat of Jesus, allowing his words and truth to tame our thoughts, turning them around to the reality that peace is not dependent on our circumstances.
We choose to ask the Holy Spirit to move us to see the actions we can accomplish, the ways we can serve, even in the midst of confining circumstances.
No doubt about it, 2020 has not been the year of clarity and vision many of us thought it would be.
Or has it?
What if discontentment is the very fire God can use to fuel the actions we can take because so many others have been eliminated?
What if this season we are in is helping us to embrace new visions by eliminating the “normal” that could have been holding us back?
If we let it, discontentment will tempt us to step away, give up or ignore the world for a while. But what if discontentment is in fact not calling us to complete stillness or dismissal of vision, but rather to do well the few things we can do: invest in the relationships right in front of us and fully commit to the few activities that can be accomplished from right where we are.
Your giftings haven’t changed. Your mission has not been thwarted. The love of Christ in you has not been put out.
I don’t know what God is working in your heart and mind right now. But for me, he is showing me that in this season, I am still who he made me to be. My design is unchanged, my mission is secure. My call to action resolute.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy to walk in what he has for me--it will be uncomfortable because it will not feel normal. I will face opportunities daily to allow how I feel about myself or the world determine my actions and moods. I can choose to submit to these, or I can choose to see how even something meant to hinder me is my helper.
What is bringing you discontentment these days?
Could God be using it to narrow your vision to see the good works he has for you in this season?
The year 2020 has certainly been one for the records. Like me, you have likely felt like the interruptions have led to days of wasted time and temporary loss of purpose and vision. But God doesn’t waste a thing. He has an eternal purpose in each experience we face and we get to choose to join him in His work by setting our eyes on His mission. 2020 isn’t a surprise to him, so go ahead and find out what good things he has for you in the discontent and discomfort you are facing today.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: