A year ago we had no idea that life as we knew it was getting ready to change, drastically. I remember telling several people after the country shut down that we would be back to normal in two or so weeks. Surely this wouldn’t last longer than that… It was around month two I realized things were indeed not going back to normal and they probably never would.
A sincere panic (read here) set in. How was I going to function in this new world? I already didn’t care for virtual anything, now I was supposed to deal with it as my new normal? Well, yea. I have and so have you. If you had told me last year I would have survived teaching virtually a year, I would have called you a liar. If you had told me I wouldn’t be going to church for a year, I would have called you a liar. If you had told me I would be wearing a mask every time I walked into a building, I would have called you a liar. All of this seemed inconceivable but here I am living it out.
The devastation our world has experienced often times seems unfathomable, but God saw fit to keep us here. If I’ve learned nothing else this past year, I’ve learned the meaning of the saying “nothing is promised.” Nothing. Not events, not jobs, not income, not life. So even if we find ourselves in a similar situation another year from now, rest in knowing God is in control.
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Well, kind of. Tomorrow the students in my district will return back to school virtually. I’ve technically been back a week (virtually), but tomorrow everything will be official, official. This is probably the most unprepared I’ve felt returning from Summer break. Thankfully, I’ll be able to do everything from the comfort of my home but there are so many unknowns. I’m nosey and like to know things before they happen, so this doesn’t sit well with me. But after talking to God and my coworkers and my friends and my family, I’ve decided it’s not going to be so bad. How do I know? Because I’ve decided it’s just not going to be.
I’ve also decided I’m going to set myself up for greatness and control what I can control. And I encourage you to do the same thing. I was always one of those people who said I could stay home by myself and be happy not going anywhere but this pandemic has shown that to be a lie. My home was/is my safe haven and comfort zone but now it’s become my workplace, and I don’t like that. I don’t have to like it but I have to deal with it, so my goal is to do the following to balance my life out a bit:
Only do work in one area of my house
Stop working at 6pm (I’ve already failed at this today, y’all pray for me)
Get a schedule and keep a schedule while remaining flexible
Schedule time to do nothing
Read my bible
Make spending time with family and friends a priority
I can vent but I still have to get the job done
Get out of the house (safely)
Whether you’ve been back at work for a while or maybe you never left or maybe you have no idea when you’ll return to work or when you’ll get another job, it’s necessary to take steps to create the life you strive to live, even under the strangest circumstances. God has full control and this pandemic is proof of that, if we needed any. He’s given us tools and people to help us navigate through uncertain times. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to stay at a standstill. Decide that today will be better than yesterday and live like it. So even as I return back to a new normal, feeling completely out of control, I’ve decided my reality won’t be so bad.
Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT)
If you’ve been reading my blog since the pandemic has started, you’ve probably read about my disdain for virtual anything. Calls, conferences, meetings, workshops, workouts… I’d rather you email me. I’ve unmuted myself by accident (thankfully I didn’t say anything too crazy). I’ve fallen asleep and woke up long after the meeting ended. One of the things I’m dreading happens is I’m called on to speak but I don’t realize it because I’m not listening. I’m relatively tech savvy and definitely see the benefits, given the current state our world is in and I’m grateful people who don’t mind this medium have access to a variety of content and resources, but it’s difficult for me to sit in front of my laptop and be engaged (which is kind of strange considering the amount of TV I watch, but that’s a story for another day). With all that being said, I can feel how I want to feel about it, “virtual things” aren’t going anywhere any time soon. I recently had the opportunity to present virtually and it was a fail guys. Well, a fail by my standards.
I wrote previously about me being an undercover perfectionist so it should come as no surprise this carries over to me presenting virtually. Why do I think I failed? Basically because things did not go as I thought they would. At one point, I was talking while music was playing loudly in the background without me realizing it, so the participants couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t do the interactive game the way I wanted to so I had to come up with an alternative. I wish I had incorporated more information from the topic I was given. Although some people responded to my questions, I thought we were going to have a livelier discussion. I could honestly keep this list going but I kept thinking about how different all of this would have been if we didn’t have to do it virtually. I wondered how many people it would take to tell me that I did a good job in order for me to believe it, and I realized that number did not exist. I had to accept defeat and try harder the next time. Or so I thought…
As I was complaining about all the “terrible” things that went wrong, I finally said I would accept the success I did have, and a wise person told me to CELEBRATE the success. Afterall, so many things went well. Children from different areas got to meet each other. I was able to share scripture and talk about the wonderfulness of God and connect it to their daily lives. Even if the children didn’t do very well on the interactive game, they were exposed to new information. Some children received monetary prizes. I became more familiar with how Zoom works and different features available. It was a success worthy of being celebrated.
As we navigate this virtual world and life itself, I encourage you (and myself) to acknowledge what you may deem as failures but don’t forget to celebrate the successes. Don’t just accept it, don’t push it to the side, don’t minimize it, CELEBRATE SUCCESS!
Proverbs 16: 3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed
I recently told someone it’s been May 20th the past couple of days in my world. Time has become such a fluid concept for me (which I’m sure my bosses did not appreciate considering I had deadlines to meet). However, as a child, I was obsessed with time. I wore ugly sports watches well into high school because I always wanted to know what time it was. Now, it just doesn’t seem to be that important. The days come and go. I’ve had really great days and other days, not so much. I’ve talked to friends a lot more than I usually would have. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime most nights. I’ve read books. I haven’t written as much as I’ve wanted to. I’ve cooked (yes, me, I cooked). I’ve done bible plans. I’ve exercised. I’ve loathed video conferences. I’ve cried. I’ve taken breaks from social media and the news. I’ve prayed. I’ve laughed. I’ve done a whole lot since the world took a “kind of” pause but I’m realizing through writing this, that I’ve let a lot of time just go by.
Some days I’ve been really intentional. Sometimes I intentionally rested and sometimes I intentionally completed tasks, but I haven’t had enough of those intentional days. With that in mind, I’m going to do more to fill my time with things I set out to do (being intentional) instead of just going to bed at 4am, clueless as to how it got to be so late and unsure of what I’ve done with the day (being lazy). That may look like me sleeping in until noon some days and other days getting up at 8am (probably not going to do much earlier than that unless I’m highly motivated). That may look like reading a book for four hours or binge watching “A Different World.” That may look like praying/mediating for an hour or listening to music while playing Candy Crush Soda Saga. That may look like doing a video call with my college friends or harassing my younger sister about whatever comes to mind. That may look like writing about everything and nothing or looking up recipes I’m not going to make. And that may still look like, “today we’re going to just see what happens,” sometimes. We don’t all have to start a new business or become fitness gurus (shout out to those of you who did though; I can’t tell you how proud I am to call y’all friends!) but we all have to be responsible for what we do with our time. I want to fill my time with things that feel right for me. I want to look back and be able to say time did not pass me, but I decided how I passed it.
As in control as I thought God was, this whole pandemic has shown me just how true that is. He is working things out for good, and even after we get to our new normal, I always want to fill time with feelings.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.