I thought I would share my recent thoughts around the #coronavirus as people think about self isolating and the world locks down. There’s a lot of worry and anxiety, stress and confusion. The future feels daunting and uncertain. Here’s my advice in a nutshell – along with some of my recent life messages:
FIND THE JOY!
This might appear a tad optimistic,but what’s the alternative – find misery? In all things there is a silver lining, or a reason to smile. Yes, sometimes the silver lining comes after the harshness of an event, but often it accompanies the cloud.
So, look for joy, kindness, love. Look for opportunities to help the person next to you. Share humour with your mates (even if it needs to be via a video call). Share a good book. Send a gift. Have a birthday party for someone who isn’t having a birthday. Look at how green the sun makes the leaves on the tree outside your house. Have a tickle fight. Use extra time to make those sketches or start writing that training course. Enjoy silence. Exercise. Bake. Run (if you can get out). Pray. Laugh. Whatever brings you joy… look for and do those things. The sun is still shining behind those clouds
Thinking alone does not determine what we become, but it certainly sets our direction. For example, if you think you will fail something, you will be less likely to invest your time and energy in trying to accomplish it. If you think you can win a race, you are more likely to try.
kindness can be seen by some as a weakness in character because it makes you vulnerable and open to people treating you like a mug. This is one way of looking at kindness (bear with me) – but kindness is NOT weakness – it is the humble use of your strength. Kindness uses its strength to help others. If that makes us mugs then let us be the best mug we can possibly be. At the end of my life I want to be able to say I spent my life in the pursuit of helping other wonderful humans (whether they deserve it or not). Kindness uses its strength without conditions and with huge humility.
May we spread kindness freely and with passionate strength. Have a kind and wonderful day
So last month there were so many posts about being kind and looking out for one another. This month we have reports of people fighting over paracetamol and toilet paper as they seek to ‘hoard essentials’ in fear of the Coronavirus. Isn’t it heartbreaking?
It’s so easy to be kind when life is good; turns out it’s harder when difficulties arise. But it’s when life is tough that kindness is most needed. It’s when fear arises that love needs to be shown. A great teacher once said ‘perfect love casts out all fear’. Coronavirus seems scary to so many people. Rather than fighting alone because of fear, fight fear together with love and kindness – they really do make all the difference to an individual’s world. What does kindness look like?
Kindness is sharing what little you have with others around you, Kindness is the reassuring smile of a colleague in the workplace, Or a stranger in the street. Kindness is a note of encouragement left on a desk. Kindness is giving away your last toilet roll. Kindness is you knocking on your neighbours door to check they are okay. Kindness is boundless, beneficial and utterly beautiful.
Fear cripples our ability to move forward. It amplifies thoughts of doubt and worry, which in turn increases the stress we feel. To remedy fear there is the medicine of faith:
Have faith in yourself: you are more capable thank you have ever imagined. Believe that you can work hard, endure, keep on keeping on, succeed, etc. You might fail at times, but usually we get further when we have faith in ourselves. You’ve got this!
You are more capable that you have ever imagined
Have faith in others: the world has its idiots, but people are not all bad. Let your guard down a little and dare to believe that others will be there for you, and they will let you be there for them. Contrary to capitalistic belief, life is not always a competition where I need to have the comparative advantage: competition causes us to run against others rather than with others. Find the pack of trusted people you can run through life with – they will help release joy in your heart that compares the fear you might be feeling.
Find the pack of trusted people you can run through life with
You have something to offer the world that no one else can give. You are unique in the life experiences, education, skills, knowledge and ideas that fill you. No one else is like you, and no one else can give what you can give in the way that you can give it. In your life you will connect with people that others cannot connect with and you will speak into their lives in very unique ways. Understanding your sense of purpose is vital in this.
Seven Benefits of living your purpose
You will be more focused – purpose directs your decisions, journey and destination because you will have a stronger sense of meaning in life
You will be more passionate, with a deeper joy in living
You will be more hopeful – it is a joy to know that every day you can do something (even a small thing) that is linked to your overall purpose in life
Life is more straightforward – decisions are made through being purposeful
You will be more motivated – you are able to move in the direction you want and will be doing what energises you
You will be more resilient – having a stronger sense of purpose means that when life is tough (as it can be often!) you have strong reasons for weathering the storms and persevering to move forward
We are often encouraged to ‘build the life we want’ or to ‘create the identity we desire’, but life can have it’s way of reminding us that it is complex and has it’s hardships for everyone. Do not believe that everyone else is okay – trust me, they are not. The person next to you in class or in the queue may look sorted, but they will also be fighting their giants and wrestling their own demons! Show grace to those around you – they might need it right now!
Life is in reality, made of ups and downs – one day you will be smiling, and the next you might just be hit by bad news. Don’t worry. It will be okay. Bad times pass just as good times do. You will be dumped by partners; you might fail at some stuff that’s important to you – it will be okay. You will get through the shit (if you are willing to pick yourself up! Let other people pick you up if you need that – it’s okay to depend on other people. The world will tell you that you need to stand on your own two feet; that you need to walk independent of others – this is rubbish! We as humans are made to be INTER-dependent – you need other people to bring their strength to your life, and you need to also be willing to give your strength to help those around you. Please do not be a lone wolf. Do not be an island. You are meant to enjoy deep relationship with other trusted people around you.
When life is hard do not be afraid to ask for help – asking for support and help is not a sign of weakness- it is a sign of great strength – lions do not hunt alone, but in groups. Be a lion! Life has it’s great mountaintop moments, but it also has its dark days -expect both and decide today how you will handle them.
Jesus invites us to follow him and to receive his love, but He will all challenge us to live as forgiven people. Looking at many churches today you might think salvation is for the talented, the hipster and the Uber-religious. It’s understandable to think so, but it’s still not true.
For Jesus ALL ARE INVITED into his great kingdom. Jesus seemed to call people who were a ‘pain in the arse’:
1. The blind beggar making his living off the kindness of others
2. A tax collector who worked for the Romans
Just like blind Bartimeus, Jesus asks us ‘what do you want me to do for you?’
Just like taxman Zacheus, Jesus asks us if he can come to be with us.
God wants to know our needs and he wants to meet them in ways that bring us closer to him; in ways that change us from lost to found; in ways that lead us back into community and kingdom.
Jesus wants to know us; he wants to be with us and spend time with us. Why? Because he came came to seek and to save those who are lost; because he loves us unconditionally; because he cares about us.