Vision & Joy Amidst COVID-19
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
By BARB LOWNSBURY
What a roller coaster ride these last few months have been! Watching the world stumble through COVID-19, isolating from the people we love and do life with, walking around in face masks; it feels other-worldly sometimes. I have these moments where I can almost forget everything going on around me, moments where my life seems normal. But when I hear the news, or go out and see the face masks, or talk with another financially or emotionally struggling friend, reality marches in, demanding my attention.
I talk a lot about the importance of creating a God-given vision for our lives. I have witnessed and experienced the power that comes from letting the Creator of the Universe drive my ship versus take off in a direction that looks good to me. But how do I do that in the midst of a world-wide pandemic? How can I still find joy in the midst of financial, emotional and physical challenges?
Like many, I started out strong at the beginning. But as the days rolled into weeks and the weeks rolled into months, I came to the end of myself and landed squarely before the Lord. It is here, on my knees, that I am finally able to reach for His vision for me in the midst of COVID-19. I have three objectives He is working on within me:
#1 - Strength of Character: I’ve always thought I had a strong character. What time has shown me is that I’m strong-willed. Those two things are not the same. Character is more about the qualities that make up who I am, the thoughts running through my mind, and who I am when no one else is around. Being strong-willed has more to do with pushing hard no matter what, of being determined, regardless of whether or not the path I’m on is best. When I’m working on developing my character with God, He provides the strength I need to continue (not me).
God has profoundly changed me over the years. If I gave you the long version of who I was versus who I am now, it would be a fat book. Yet looming ahead of me are all the ways I still need to grow in my faith. I’m still entirely too selfish. My thoughts are still dominated by self-concern. I can still feel cowardly and cheated in the midst of opposition. I’m tempted to quit.
How do I deal with that big, fat upcoming novel of growth? I don’t. I don’t have to. God’s character vision for me is to keep running back to Him. To throw out the list and let Him do His work within me. To pray, and then release it back into His capable hands. And to not get off my knees or move from a posture of humility until fear, worry and anxiety turn to peace, trust and hope. As I do that, He produces within me the very thing I need. I find myself being able to focus outward again, ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
My character go-to scripture: “Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening—it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character. So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm o