It was a surreal ending to what began as a pretty ordinary week.
Midway through a drive to the retreat center where I was scheduled the following day to co-lead a Battle for Your Domain retreat I was juggling phone calls when it hit me. We might actually have to shut this thing down. Three retreats. Three consecutive weekends. Months of planning and preparation. I. Can’t. Even.
Wrapping up a call with other Wellspring Group staff and board members I was disappointed that we’d had to make that choice but at peace with the decision. Too much unknown. Too little information available on the true scope of coronavirus infection within the U.S. Too much unnecessary risk. I took comfort, though, in the fact that it wasn’t a fear-based reaction but a carefully discussed, prayerfully considered decision that centered around what it looks like to love our Wellspring community well.
Then I emerged back into the world of social media and news reports.
I’m pretty sure it was the decision to close Disney that did it. But honestly, it could have been the pictures and reports of grocery store runs and empty shelves. Or Amazon Pantry telling me all my go-to items were “out of stock.” Something was the tipping point. And I began to feel the tendrils of panic start to creep up. This dog doo is getting real.
Living in a rural area where we lose water when we lose power (well) and have limited access to substantive grocery stores we are better prepared than most with on-hand food, water and, yes, toilet paper. We could live for weeks on what we already have. But I thought I might actually hyperventilate with the need to rush to the store to get more.
“Psychologists view control as a fundamental human need…this epidemic violates a sense of control in fundamental ways,” a Time article explained to me.
Ahhh, control. My arch nemesis. Although I’d challenge their assertion that control is something I need there’s no question that it’s something I want. My go to crutch. It ties into my deeper desires for safety, security, peace, wholeness – a sense that all is right in my world.
Everything around me felt like shifting sand and I couldn’t find my solid rock.
I made the choice to shut it down (irony in the midst of a day of shut downs 😊). I turned off my news feed. Stepped away from social media. I took a breath. And I grasped for the truth in the midst of reality.
God has not given me a spirit of fear. He HAS NOT. What he has given me is a sound mind. And lots of truth captured in the pages of one amazing book. And that book tells me that I am okay. That I will be okay. That no matter what may happen God is with me. And he will never leave me. And he will never forsake me. And when I focus on the world around me I am tempted to forget that. But when I meditate on his word something deep within me finds resonance and peace.
I cannot control circumstances. But I can choose how I will walk through them. And today I choose peace. Today I choose to find my solid rock in scripture. When viral and economic storms rage around me I can speak to the storm that threatens to erupt in me, “Be still.”
For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (NIV)
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. John 16:33 (NIV)
One Step Further:
- Where do you find yourself currently responding from the shifting sand instead of the solid rock?
- How might God be inviting you to trust Him in this moment?
- In what ways might you need to release control to Him?
- What truth might God want to remind you of in this moment?