Can you think beyond COVID-19?
Hope carries us into tomorrow. Don’t give up today – hang in there and wait.
It is April 2020. Who would have thought a month ago that we would be where we are today? Never in a million years could anyone predict that more than half the world’s population would be in lockdown with the way we do life turned upside down. But are you ready to think beyond COVID-19 yet?
Everything has changed, and everything is different.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his nationwide address, expressed that ‘We can longer work in the way we have before. Much is being asked of you, far more than ever should be asked.”
Every single human being is impacted by COVID-19. A pandemic marking this generation forever. But what can emerge from this lockdown, this slowing down and crisis?
Can you think beyond COVID-19 yet?
Are you able to change your perspective and adapt? In this blog post, I’d like to turn your attention to what next?
One challenge besides the virus itself is the collateral damage and fallout. Now, this post is meant to be an encouragement, not a downer but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that. Far greater is the challenge we face of bouncing back. We need to rise again emotionally, physically, economically, socially and more.
It’s not easy.
We’re in this together, and collectively we will rise again.
One of my favourite phrases in Scripture is when Jesus first appears to Mary, and He says these words to her, “Throw off your fears.” You can read more about it in Matthew 28 (TPT).
We cannot rise again if we are held captive fear. Imagine with me a heavy cloak of fear wrapped around every single human being. This cloak is no ordinary cloak – in fact, its made of chains interwoven with lies of ‘what if,’ and ‘don’t try’ and ‘you can’t.” Fear lies to us by wrapping around our hearts and mind terrorizing our souls into inaction, paralysis and negativity.
Fear weakens our immune system because of the rise of anxiety, stress and a whirlwind of negative emotions.
Let’s expose the lies and fears. Fear will feed you lies that you cannot survive this pandemic.
Lockdown changes you, but how?
You were made for this time in history. Your purpose is unique, and you have a gift to offer the world. It’s yours to share.
We need to build resilience
Firstly, resilience is what we need right now. I think that Jesus was the most resilient person who ever lived. Resilience, by definition, is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; it’s a toughness that enables you to bounce back. When we live with resilience, we can overcome crisis, obstacles and use creativity in a type of ‘rebirth’ if you will.
In my book Courage in the Fire, I explore this concept. It’s your reaction to the hardships you encounter and fears you face that will determine the outcome of your life.
“Your resilience and courage determine your trajectory. Self-care and resilience go hand-in-hand; they are good friends. Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) reminds us that, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Life is fraught with unexpected hardships. Jesus’ words to us in John 16:33 show that we will run into problems and trials. This passage says, “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.” No-one is exempt from hard times. Fear will knock on the door of every single human being; however, it’s our response when fear comes knocking, that makes the difference. Resilient people can adapt their lives in the face of tragedy, adversity, hardship and ongoing life stressors.”
Acceptance helps us move forward
Secondly, accept that the world is a different place. Perhaps you, like my husband and I, had travel planned for this year and now cancelled. Maybe, like friends of ours, they had a family wedding scheduled, and that too got cancelled. Perhaps, you or someone you know has the coronavirus or even worse, someone you know and love, has passed away. Or you find yourself homeschooling your children and feel swamped by the overwhelming needs around you? Take comfort, you are not alone. Everything has changed, and there is a time for grieving life as we knew it to be and a time for accepting that loss.
Total honesty with yourself
Thirdly, be completely frank and honest with yourself. What emotions are you experiencing during this period of history in the making? What are you struggling with, and what are you celebrating? Take time to reflect on the inner dialogue going on in your soul.
Where are you now?
Fourth, are you able to look beyond yet? If not, that’s ok. There is an inner transformation taking place, and so you need to surrender to that journey. A friend said recently that transformation comes when we experience suffering, unconditional love and times of silence and solitude. I think that these three elements are in our lives right now. Can you be a changemaker in our world?
If any of these points hit a home run in your heart, please let me know. Either in the comments below or in a private message. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we journey together into a new world – beyond COVID-19.
Remember that you don’t need to go through this on your own even with social distancing and lockdown in place. Reach out today.
P.S. If you’d like to journey on a three-day devotional, then click on this link. I wrote one for YouVersion, and it’s free.