Updated: Jan 30, 2021
Sitting on my bench today, on this 27th day of quarantine I look down at an empty beach. It is peaceful but eerie and the surreal scene immediately takes my mind to the uncomfortable thoughts about being 'controlled'. I think about how I normally want to relinquish and surrender control over my life to God, who I trust, but how I feel such disturbance over having it taken, more and more, with ever increasing jurisdiction by government officials who I don't trust.
As I feel the tension within...stress, anxiety, dis-ease growing, my mind and heart scramble to grab hold of something that makes me feel like I have some control. I think that is what we do when we are uncomfortable like this... or at least, it's what I do. But then I realize that the one thing that is really, truly mine to control I haven't been handling very successfully. My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions and moods...all the things that effect my attitude, on these I have dropped the ball.
Thoughts run rampant through my mind. They dart in from any direction and have the power to gain force and momentum and end up completely hijacking the whole mental operation and create a jumble of feelings.
Feelings aren't solid. They fluctuate based on hearing good news or bad news, on what music is playing, on blood sugar levels, on good or bad hair days. They change according to what and how I'm thinking and throw me into a corresponding emotional mood.
Emotions become like a filter through which I see everything going on in my life... a framework that I hang all my circumstances on. Emotions can make me a Tigger or an Eyore. Then what is happening inside of me emotionally begins to shape my attitudes.
Attitudes are how I 'greet' everything I encounter. They effect how I interpret a look or a comment from someone. I can have an attitude of defeat or victory, rebellion or apathy, of grace or confrontation of belonging or isolation. Unlike thoughts or feelings though, our attitudes can be felt and even seen by others. Whether we want them to or not, we wear them in our body language and on our faces, in our eyes. They season our words and speech.
So, as I sit on my bench listening to music I hear Switchfoot playing "...This is your life. Are you who you want to be?" Normally I answer that in my mind with a wholehearted Yes! But today I chuckle at the "This is your life..." line. That part is just unreal. "THIS" is our life now? This quarantine life? Then I hear "...Are you who you want to be?" "NO", I say. No, I am not who I want to be. Right now I am cynical, angry, irritated, full of self pity, uptight, and out of control. I am out of self-control, thought-control, feelings-control and attitude-control. And I don't find it the least bit attractive. I need to get a grip.
Once home I take out my journal and employ this tool that always helps me get a grip and restore peace and order in my heart and mind. At the top of the page I write "What Do I Know To Be True About This Quarantine Life?"
~ Everything is NOT out of control. God is and will remain sovereign over ALL.
~Nothing is unseen, misunderstood, or surprising to Him.
~He has given me a manual of how to control those things which I am responsible for in order to remain a peace filled, hope filled, joy filled person who can reflect Light instead of adding to darkness.
~His Spirit within me has given me the power to implement the instructions in that manual.
~He has a plan for my life and yours. It is a good plan and it is built on love and compassion.
As I think on these things, my feelings become anchored on something that doesn't fluctuate or change. The Truth becomes the filter through which I see and measure circumstances. My emotions become secured and do not swing wildly in the wind of whatever is going on around me. And my attitude can look more and more like Jesus... still in the storm ...with a blessed assurance and a strong grip. At peace.
Now, if I can just remember this all again tomorrow....