As a teacher I have felt deluged in the last couple of weeks with news paper headlines about how schools are going to go back as the current Covid19 lock down we are living in is being eased. Ever since Boris Johnson announced that Primary School children would return in specific year groups on 1st June, the daily news headlines, papers, unions and pop up stories on social media are all theorising about how that will happen, if it will happen and whether it should happen.
I am going to be completely honest here and say that since the announcement from Boris I have been reading and searching for information to try and understand, help myself feel informed and to make myself feel less worried about going in and what the latest scientific evidence is supporting this re-entry. There have been a few nights where I have lost sleep over it and I know that is my own fault for reading said stories and headlines and other information before I try and go to sleep. Who can relate?
At the end of last week, I went out for a walk and felt God ask me the question…’What is shaping your thinking at the moment?’
Now who knows that when God asks you a question you know that He already knows the answer, it’s rhetorical! Just like in the Garden of Eden when he called out to Adam and Eve (who were hiding at this point).
Gen 3:8 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
In that moment I was immediately reminded of a page in my bible journaling bible (you know how visual I am) and it was this…
Jer 18:6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
I was reminded that He is the master craftsman and that He moulds and shapes me and that includes what I think about and how I think about things, through His eyes, through the lens of the Kingdom.
The thing I have found is that wherever I focus, whatever I give my attention to is the thing that fills my thoughts and often steers my thinking. Over the last couple of years, I really noticed this profoundly when I gave a year to focus on a different word every month and then choose it daily. I would then write a short post on social media about that word. It was so interesting as I daily thought about what the word represented. For instance, joy was one of my favourite choices and I felt more joyful as I spent the month thinking about making joy my daily choice.
2 Cor 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
I also chose to join in a campaign called ‘Grateful in April’ as a way of focusing on gratitude as we were in lock down. It was so helpful every day to look at all the little things that made me feel grateful every day and helped me take the emphasis off this challenging lock down living. It is self-perpetuating and the more grateful you feel, the more you notice the little things in life and the more grateful you feel.
So, as I was saying God asked me what was shaping my thinking and the honest answer was… the headlines, the spin, the panic, the anxiety of the back to school scenarios I was reading about. As I realised that this is what had been happening I spent some time telling God I was sorry because in doing that I was not letting Him shape the way I was looking at the situation and when you take your eyes of the Father you lose your balance as it were. So, I apologised and asked Him to shape me instead and He reminded me that even when it’s hard and things feel out of control, which to be honest that was exactly how things had been feeling-I’ve got no control about anything that is happening to me and my life in this lock down, He reassured me that I don’t have to control things, that’s His job and I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him and I will stay grounded. This might mean coming back to Him throughout the day as thoughts and worries come in but that I do not need to worry as it doesn’t add any thing of value to my day but just robs me of my joy. I was reminded of this fantastic quote by Corrie Ten Boom…
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength– carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”.
Matt 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
If you can relate to this, I urge you to fix your eyes on Jesus, tell Him how you’re feeling and hand it over to Him, apologise to Him if you’ve been trying to do it all on your own, talk to someone you trust, stop reading and re-reading the headlines, especially before you go to sleep at night, and allow God to do what He does best, bring comfort and reassurance into your life.
The best reassurance of all is that even in these uncertain times, whilst we are in lock down, God is very much not in lock down and is fully available to all those who call on Him, at any hour day or night and for that I am so grateful.
Photo cred: Markus Spiske.