2020 really did a number on us, didn’t it?!
Anybody else tired of hearing the words 'new normal' and 'unprecedented times'?
The turn of the new year, 2021, brought with it some much needed hope and a chance for a fresh start. But we can’t deny that some of the limitations of the past 10 months have carried on into this year as well.
Masks, sanitizers, intense hand washing, and social distancing have become the norm. Church gatherings have become restricted, and fellowship with real-life friends in the faith has become strained. Don’t even get me started on the awkwardness of meeting a loved one after ages and wondering whether it’s ok to envelop them in a bear hug!
Dealing with the pandemic as an introvert was quite liberating for me at first because I could stay home for extended periods of time.
But the rising infection rates, the plight of migrant workers, small business shutdowns, and difficulties in getting even our essentials wore me down.
Since my family was home all day, every day, it also meant that I hardly had any peace or quiet to settle my soul – for months at a stretch.
I felt tired and overwhelmed all the time but didn’t know how I could get myself out of the dumps.
I might’ve kept wallowing in my misery for weeks, but my husband graciously stepped in. We had a hard talk about how I could get rid of the overwhelm, and how my family could come alongside and alleviate some of the work I had taken on myself.
We needed to survive the pandemic and I needed to be present for my family. So, one thing I needed to prioritize was caring for my soul. I regularly needed time on a daily/weekly basis to cultivate spiritual habits that would help me sustain my faith and my sanity.
It was time to get back to the basics: Bible study, prayer, reading and journaling. None of these practices were new to me. They are habits I’ve built over the years. But I had been quite lackadaisical about them once the pandemic started.
Thankfully, as I became more intentional about these spiritual disciplines and built them back into my daily routine, I could feel the tide turning in my favour.
Every time I felt myself sliding towards the pit of despair, I learnt to ask my family for a little bit of quiet so I could recharge my batteries. I would come out of my room refreshed, with a renewed mind and just a tad more energy to face the rest of the day.
I've also made practical choices on a daily basis to preserve my peace. Some nights, I leave the dishes in the sink, or ask my family to fix their own sandwiches for dinner. On other days, I choose to give up my need for time alone to enjoy a movie or an animated conversation with the family about football (that I have zero interest in!)
When I look back at the way life has changed since March 2020, I believe it’s added a new dimension to who I am - as a wife, mother, daughter, employee, and child of God.
I’ve learned to rely on God more than ever before, and above all… to surrender.
We don’t know what the rest of 2021 is going to look like. Virtual school might continue, plans may still be cancelled, and masks may continue to be mandatory. However, when we live surrendered to the plans of God, we have the assurance that the new guidelines and rules that pop up each day haven’t taken Him by surprise.
Yes, life looks different now, but let’s not forget that we serve a God who delights in giving His children exceedingly, abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I believe He has good plans for us… not just for life in eternity, but life right here in 2021 (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 27:13).
With God on our side, we won’t just survive the new normal… we’re going to thrive and come out of it better than before!