Were you ready for the COVID-19 pandemic? I don’t mean did you have enough toilet paper or wifi power or fabric or baking supplies or a working bicycle? Were you spiritually ready?
This pandemic has brought so many burdens on all of us and my concern is that followers of Christ hadn’t built up their spiritual lives enough to handle it. To gauge our current spiritual lives we can think about our reactions to the past year and what they say about our hearts.
For example, as the virus started to creep across the globe did fear begin to overwhelm you? Did that manifest itself in doomscrolling, hoarding of materials, embracing of conspiracy theories? Or, were you reminded of the words of Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Did this truth shake you from the tendency to fret, lash out, get wrapped up in the moment and not see the big picture? My own default under these fearful times was to get really tired and burdened emotionally and lack the capacity to handle the next troublesome thing. I had to find ways to recharge and replenish. I increased my exercise to help with stress but I also spent more time in prayer and in meditation and buried myself in the rich promises of scripture such as Matthew 11:28-33.
Another mark of the last year has been the rise in anger. Around the world, domestic violence has increased, political vitriol has left families broken apart, friends no longer speaking to each other, and social media, once a space to build connection, now a wasteland of tribal mentality, trolling, and ideological echo chambers. It is no joke that Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, addressed anger before pride, worry, falseness, and lust. Anger and contempt destroys and we cannot cultivate that anger and let it grow or it will destroy our relationships and even the fabric of our society, which we have seen over and over again this past year. My tendency, instead of being honest about my anger, is to justify it and easily explain it away. What would be best is for me to acknowledge that anger, reflect on what it says about my heart, and ask God to replace my anger with understanding, empathy, and love. I am not very good at this but what a skill to develop and how needed it is.
The reality is that the things that get talked about on this site (Growing Up, building wisdom, relying on Christ, living his kind of life) aren’t just nice add ons to your Christian life. Items to set alongside your Christian trinkets and bumper stickers. No, Growing Up gives you the tools, the capacity, and the off the spot training to face the problems, the hardships, and the injustices of our terrible and remorseful times. If one thing we have learned over the last year is that our spiritual life matters and can make or break how we handle all that comes our way, the bad and the good.
What are you willing to do to begin stockpiling your Christian spiritual resources for the rest of this pandemic and what comes next?
I ask that you keep checking into this space and we will continue to discuss ways to Grow Up for the benefit of our own well being and that of those around us.