Persevering through the pandemic: Part 1
Last year I wrote a book called, “Chart a Course: Taking a Journey With God at the Helm”. The point of the book was to encourage and equip the reader to follow the God-sized dream inside them. There are four main segments which include; plan, prepare, persevere and praise. Each segment relates to the different seasons that life presents. However, as we are all facing the COVID pandemic the section on perseverance relates to all of us. It is a global storm we are weathering together. Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of the insights I discovered as I wrote the perseverance segment. I hope it will equip you to endure COVID-19 and to find divine revelation through it.
Persevere: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
The definition of persevering is a challenge to carry on without any assurance you will succeed. This pandemic is presenting the perfect conditions for us to rise to the challenge. Most of us are sheltering in place, working under new safety protocols, or trying to adapt to new rhythms that have been forced on us during this time. There is no real end in sight. It’s depressing. It’s hard. It’s scary. We can find ourselves asking, “What is the point?”
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
The last words of this scripture give me hope. “Not lacking anything.” When we are able to endure hardship, pressure, and the crucible of COVID-19 we will come out on the other side having gained something of value. One of the outcomes that perseverance produces is the ability to delay gratification. What I believe we all want right now is for COVID-19 to disappear. We want to get back to work and get back to seeing our friends and family face-to-face. However, what could some potential benefits be if we must delay this desire for a time?
Persevering through the Pandemic - Delayed gratification benefits:
Facing the COVID-19 crisis with a positive mindset to persevere will change the way we come out of this pandemic. That doesn’t eliminate the pain, the uncertainty, or the time we must endure.
Practically how do we persevere well?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
First, we have to focus our thoughts. Going down a depressing rabbit hole is easy if you are constantly checking the news or the latest social media post. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be informed but we need to be intentional what we are meditating on. During this pandemic, it is important to focus on what is noble, right, pure, and lovely and admirable. There are so many examples of heroism happening in every community around the world. Let’s be people that post, share, and participate in spreading the “good news” of the times.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Second, we need to laugh. All I know is there are some really good memes out there that have made me spit out my coffee they were so funny. Here are a two of my recent favorites.
Laughing is good for us. It helps us to overcome grief, which by the way we all are grieving in some way. It helps us to relieve stress and increases the strength of your immune system. It’s not just a figure of speech...laughter is literally good MEDICINE!
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)
Lastly, all of us are grieving in some way during this COVID-19 crisis. We could be grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the simple loss of interaction with others. Regardless of what we might be grieving all of us have lost something. It is ok to grieve. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to long for the future. The key is not to stay there. Grieve as it comes and for a time, but remind ourselves that we will be together again. It might look different but it will be a glorious celebration.
Persevering through this pandemic isn’t going to be easy. It breeds uncertainty and fear, but I am confident that we can endure and be better for it in the end. I’m so encouraged by what I am already seeing around me with neighbors waving and being outside. Whole car parades for graduating seniors and birthdays. We are human beings, made in the image and likeness of our creator, and this pandemic is forcing us to get creative! As we continue to ride out this storm we can stay healthy by thinking good thoughts, laughing as often as possible, and grieving together as well. My prayer is that we “Chart a Course” (shameless plug) through this crisis to safe harbors with more faith and hope than ever before!
What are the things you are doing to help you persevere through the pandemic? I’d love to hear your thoughts.