4 weeks can be a really long time. Is anyone else starting to feel the emotional strain? At first the practical realities of adjusting to life in lockdown and the initial rapid changes of the crisis seemed to occupy everything….but now it’s feeling harder somehow, more tiring, tougher to walk.
If you relate to that at all then you might be encouraged like I am to know that’s exactly what we’d expect….and it’s not the end…it’s part of the journey.
A friend shared an invaluable article by Jessie Cruickshank at the start of lockdown that described the journey of these days based on learning from long haul expeditions – 60 days plus. The first 14 days are Building Phase focused on the practical implications and daily necessities of the new normal. But then comes the Breaking phase around 21-28 days in….that’s where we start to realise all the things we can’t control….it’s where emotional, mental, and physical tiredness kicks in. This is where we hit the wall.
This is where we are right now. We might be getting used to the practicalities of life in lockdown and even making progress, but for some reason we find ourselves struggling more internally. The things we can’t do, places we can’t go, people we can’t see, are all starting to sit more heavily on us. If not for you, then I guarantee for someone close to you, this is where they are at.
But the good news is that we won’t stay here for ever. Breaking leads into Baptising – as we begin to get used to the new normal, to find our rhythms of life start to get embedded and we adjust. From here we will eventually move into Budding maybe around 60 days where we find innovation and new ways of being start to emerge.
As we hit the wall right now we need a few things…
…We need each other. The temptation can be to go insular, to assume everyone is doing their own thing now, or to not have energy to pick the phone or turn on the computer. Don’t give in to that. Get in touch, keep connecting, keep calling and thinking and reaching out. Do it for yourself and do it for each other.
…We need to remember and perservere with what we started at first. Early on we began to speak about doing one thing each day for our Heart, Body, and Mind with Jesus at the center. Don’t stop. The things we started at first we need now – you are doing well, they are making a difference, keep going! And share what you find helpful, fun, energising, and spirit lifting.
…We need to allow ourselves to rest and recognise that life is tiring right now.
…We can start to look forward. When you hit the wall, your energy flags, and your emotions are down, it’s natural to want to lower your eyes and shrink inside. But the wall we face today leads into something better tomorrow. One question we’ve begun to ask ourselves and our church family is this: Who do we want to be when lockdown is over?
In this season we start to rely on God and each other more, to find new rhythms of family life, working life, spiritual life. We are seeing community and neighbours connecting more together and seeing care rising for the vulnerable in our society and thanks for those who give so much. I don’t want to lose these things. I don’t want to go back to ‘the way things were’ before Covid19, but instead to be a different person and live in a more united community because we’ve walked through the wall and come out the other side.
Just over a week ago Anna and I finished a prayer gathering on zoom and felt stirred as we talked abuot what we saw God doing in our church and our community. We hit record on the phone and this video is the result. Whether you watch it or not, these are the things we want to ask God to speak into us and to remember as we face the wall and move beyond it. What do we think, hope and pray that God is doing and will do in us through this time?
For Anna and myself, we believe God is waking up the church. Calling us to learn and grow in pushing into His presence, leaning on Him, praying. We’re being confronted with the fragility of our way of life in the West and shaken out of our comfortable religion that was shaped around what we wanted. Now we’re being invited to learn to pray as if our life depends on it, to recognise God as the one we desperately need, and to learn how to grow in Him for ourselves. And how to fight for our communities and nation in prayer – to intercede, cry out, and seek His mercy and power for those in need.
Coming out of this time I want to be someone who knows more how to pray; who has a greater awareness of God’s power and my need of Him; who has learned to live beautifully resting in God even as I give all I am to Him.
When lockdown is over – whatever that looks like and however gradually that unfolds – we will still have a long way to go. There are many who will be grieving, facing economic hardship, needing comfort and strength to process what has happened and adjust to the new situation. Let’s fix our eyes on learning now to see Jesus, know how to draw near to Him, care for others, and be kind to ourselves.