Like many people, my plans for 2020 went “out of the window” when coronavirus and the lock down happened here in the UK. As I have wrestled with this new way of life, I have been asking the question “what is God saying to me through coronavirus?”
This is the fourth blog in this series. I do not pretend to have the answers, nor do I claim to have thought these things fully through. The whole purpose of writing these is that they spark a discussion in the fellowship to which I belong. If they go wider and cause further discussion; Great!
In the early days of lockdown, I struggled with trying to know what I was to do now. My normal routines and patterns of work and life were no longer going to fit with this new situation.
It was amazing how quickly my wife reminded me of all those irritating little jobs that I either avoided, or just never found time to get round to.
The garden needed clearing
Our document filing boxes needed a good sort out
I rediscovered clothes I had forgotten that I even owned, shoved at the back of the wardrobe.
Our garage now is teaming with black sacks full of rubbish that await the re-opening of the local rubbish tip. As I stacked the sacks, I found myself wondering “how long will it take before we replace all this with yet more stuff?” Sean’s first law of sorting out says;
Rubbish always expands to fill the space available to it
This law, I have found, is true not only with “stuff” but, also with life in general too. Everything expands to fill the space available to it.
One of the biggest struggles I have faced in lockdown, is handling the guilt that is attached to “I am not working in the same way that I always work”. I should be doing more. Ministry is one of those callings where each day is different but, there are anchor points. Without the anchor points, how could I justify my working life?
It was amazing how soon I discovered that there were webinars, meetings, discussions to be had, endless paperwork, filming, preparation and people to organize. I could fill every second from dawn to dusk and never complete the amount that was suddenly available to me. As I started to fill my diary, I felt God say to me;
As I breathed, I realised that the only person putting pressure on me during lockdown was, me. It is a sobering realisation in life, we are our biggest critic and we are our biggest problem. The only person who was demanding production, usefulness and justification of me, was me.
I think there is something here for all of us and for our Churches too. We all need a season when we can Just breathe and take stock of where we are and what we are about.
Sometimes, in an effort to justify ourselves and our churches, ministers have been guilty of becoming competitive and driven. We have painted a false picture of what success looks like, in our desire to be successful. I know I have been guilty of this
Mea Maxima culpa.
Yes, there have been things to do during lockdown. There have been services to plan, prepare and film. There have been phone calls to make and meetings to attend but, there has also been time to breathe