Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
Psalms 66:20 (NIV)
How deep is your love for your children, Lord! Though we stumble and sin, you never give up on us but patiently wait for us to fall on our knees.
How you must suffer to see us grovel because of our stubborn ways. How you must long for us to listen when your Holy Spirit whispers to us. But your love is so deep, so wide, that you will wait, and wait . . . until we realize how far we’ve fallen away.
On our knees and drowning in our sin, only then do we turn to you in humility and prayer. Without hesitation and with open arms, you welcome us back into your arms. Oh, the inexplicable joy you must have when you hear us call and run to you!
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
The imposed lockdown is bringing out the goodness in people but it is also brewing spitefulness in the hearts of many. Perhaps the pressure of being on lockdown forces people, including myself, to express our freedom and rights through impulsive responses and artless retorts in social media. A very poor and childish reason, I know. I used to imagine my heart as a musical box that plays sweet praises. But recently, it looks more like Pandora’s box.
Social distancing in public may be the new norm, but not when it comes to social media. All social media apps have been burning with chat groups and it’s not unusual to drown in a hundred messages a day. Besides passing information, news, jokes and personal updates — which are all good in itself, the same propels people to impulsively react to unsavory news and opinions.
Before the lockdown, our work and busy lives were our safeguards to texting: we censored and prioritized essentials; we gave thought and time to compose our responses. With the lockdown and all the free time on our hands, our safeguards and filters are gone. We react on impulse, giving off-hand comments, using brash, negative words, not mindful of how it affects others and our hearts. The danger with this behavior is that it so easily dominates and silences our good sense — my good sense.
For the past days, I have been reacting and responding with minimal filter and it has affected friends who are dear to me; and more importantly, it has greatly diminished the joy in my heart. The usual joyful music that my heart sings was replaced by incessant criticism of the leaders in government. My peace was driven out and constant worry about food and supplies for the daily wage earners took its place. The rising number of CoVid patients and mortality replaced the blessings that I used to count. Kind and encouraging words were locked out and the substitutes were nasty and boorish talk.
It only took a few days for my heart that used to be a musical box turn into Pandora’s box. The change happened too easily, without much resistance or conflicting emotions. How alarming was that?
So for the remainder of the lockdown, I’ve decided to step back from social media and limit my time on it. Just as I was before the lockdown, I’ll spend more time reading and reflecting on God’s word; on reading YA novels and writing, pursuing hobbies and other interests. I intend to get back what I lost: my joy in the Lord, His peace, my hope in Him. I intend to count the numerous blessings He brings my way and to give His joy to those around me. This time, I will censor my responses in social media.
And, by the end of the Pandemic, I’d like my heart to sing its sweet, musical praises again, just like a musical box.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for
tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
exception, I’m one of those who worry a lot about the future, of the ‘what
if’s’, of the unknown. It is
tiring to say the least. There are
nights when I could not sleep worrying about my future: of unpaid bills, of getting the next
project, of what my life will be like a few years from now. Being single and a freelancer has its
freedom and perks, but it also comes with some worries.
Matthew 6 several times, especially verses 25-34. These are verses often introduced to the young believers and
a comfort for those who have been in the faith for some time. Though I’m the latter, there are
moments that these do not bring comfort.
(Yes, me of little faith!)
How can I not worry when bills are piling up and I start to feel creaks
and pain in my body that were not felt a few days ago?
time with my 7yo nephew who has Autism, made the verses 25-34 clearer. Miguel’s therapists have been teaching
him the concept of ‘today, yesterday and tomorrow’. He has difficulty understanding the concept of ‘yesterday
and tomorrow’, but has no problem with ‘today’. Miguel focuses on ‘today’, the present, the now: what he
eats today, the things he could do today, his schedule for the day. He does not worry about yesterday, more
so about tomorrow. He happily goes
about his life, knowing that his parents and family will take care of him for
the ‘tomorrows’. Miguel has faith
in his parents and family.
This is what
the Lord is asking of me, of us:
to trust Him, to have faith in Him who gave His life for us. Like Miguel, I could trust in my Lord
for He knows everything about me, even my unspoken and hidden desires of the
heart. I could trust my Creator for
He created me for His purpose and He works everything for the good of those who
I could put my
faith in Him who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The troubles of today are enough: of
understanding His word and applying it to the present; of responding in
Christ-likeness when you encounter difficult people or circumstance; of being a
trustworthy steward even in the little things; of sharing who our Lord and
Savior is to our family, friends and the people that cross our paths; and of
thanking and praising Him for today’s abundant blessings.
Knowing that the Lord has our back (and front, center, sides, above and below), we could joyfully rest in His peace!
*My reflection on “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip” by Michelle Bengtson