The Hard Thing

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to my blog! I know it’s been a while. I took some vacation time and then some thinking time as the world has seemingly gone to pieces during the month of June. Between Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine, the racial issues caused by the death of George Floyd and other African-Americans, and my own personal issues, 2020 has been an avalanche I haven’t been able to climb to the top of yet. As I’ve thought about these events and how they’ve impacted my life, the phrase “doing the hard thing” came to mind. The last four months have been hard on all of us, and I was struck by this phrase when I heard a review of the lessons that had been taught during the online Vacation Bible School at my church. This life isn’t supposed to be easy for Christians even though there’s a big misconception to the contrary. So, today, I want to talk about the things that have been hard for me over the past few months.

First, the pandemic itself. When this started back in March, no one knew a whole lot about the coronavirus. The people responsible for giving the orders to shut down were feeling their way around the whole situation. No one knew the best things to do or if they would even help. And, everyone had an opinion. I remember sharing some articles about how people’s mental health might be affected by a quarantine, and it was only a day or so later that people who had shared this information were being slammed by medical personnel who had no concern about how our society might be affected in other ways by this quarantine. I ignored them knowing that I would sadly be proven right at some point. And low and behold, four months later I have been. Mental issues have skyrocketed, and the rate of suicide has gone way up. I believe this is because people have been isolated from each other and don’t feel connected with anyone, cute sayings created by the media notwithstanding.

Then, there’s been what’s happened this month with the racially oriented protests and riots due to the deaths of George Floyd and others. I have seen, from both sides, the truly ugly parts of humanity during this time. And, I haven’t known how to react except for not being deliberately ugly with either words or actions. (Yes, I was taught how to be a decent human being though I know I fail at it more often than not.) But, I know racism still exists whether it is deliberate or ingrained in society. Anyway, events left me unsure of what to say or if I should even say anything at all.  I only knew that I wanted my life to reflect the life of the risen Savior I follow and to love as He does though to paraphrase a quote from one of my friends, I’m not exactly sure what that means anymore. It’s the way society is right now.

Finally, there’s the personal stuff. I am so tired. Tired of not being able to see people or even talk to them. Tired of not being able to bare my heart. Tired of not being able to worship. Tired of seeing the same people all of the time. It’s starting to make me wonder if living this life is really worth it. Whether it’s worth dealing with all the hard stuff.

But, all of this brings me back full circle to what I mentioned at the beginning of this post. “Doing the hard thing.” We can’t do it by ourselves. We can only do it with God’s help. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Then, Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I’ve said this before. The presence of God has helped me survive this time of quarantine. It has helped me do the hard thing. This hasn’t come without a cost. My mental health has suffered. And I’m not one to hide how I feel about something much to other people’s chagrin and judgment. It’s who I am though and who I want to be as a follower of Jesus Christ. Honest about my faith, honest about my feelings, and honest about myself as I try to live this life Jesus has called me to live.

May we all do our best to do the hard thing during these tumultuous times!

God bless you all!