Making the most of every opportunity
As I sit writing this blog post we are gradually making our way out of lockdown and I have been considering how I can make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:16); reflecting on what I can learn from this period of time that is making history. Over these past weeks and months I have sought to take time each day to think about how I am being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Rom 12:2).
I’m learning to have an attitude of gratitude (1 Thess 5:18). I have found it so easy to whinge and complain that we were not able to do the things that we used to be able to do. I’m sure you have caught yourself doing that on occasions too, but I am learning the importance of being grateful in all situations.
I’m not a gardener, but I have been so grateful for my garden over these part weeks, as I have been able to sit in the sunshine and get fresh air. Many people have not had that luxury, living in cramped conditions without being able to get outside. I’m learning to be grateful for the simple things in life, that I could walk round to my corner shop and buy food to eat without queuing up for it. These are things that only a few months ago I would have taken for granted.
This lockdown has also given me time to see and hear things that I have not even noticed before, due to busyness and dashing from one thing to another. It has been a time to hear the birds and see aspects of nature that have always been there, but I have not noticed. We are told in Matthew 6:25-34 ‘to consider’ God’s creation and yet how often do we do that? I found more and more over the lockdown that I was considering the beauty that God has put around me – I hope you are too.
God said ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Ps 46:1), but how often did I do that in my daily pre-lockdown life? I have learnt during this season to hear the still small voice of God speaking to me through his word and prayer, like I have never done before. In many ways I am achieving as much as I was before lock down, as all my lectures and meetings are online, but somehow this time is different and I feel less hurried and less busy. It is like the merry-go round of life is going at a quarter of the speed and it has given me time to ‘beware of the barrenness of a busy life’.
The last thing that has struck me is the importance of community for our sense of self and well-being. God created us to be ‘one another’ people and for many that has been lacking, as we have had to ‘stay home’ (Heb 10:25). I have missed being able to see family and friends when I want to and really miss my church family. However, I have also realised how much I have taken this for granted and, it is only when something is taken away from you that you understand how important it is.
God in control
So, what do I want to remember from this precious time of lockdown:
I want to keep those times that I have had to ponder on the world around me and be grateful to God for it every day. I want to keep those special times of hearing God’s still, small voice and him reminding me that he is in control and the world is not relying on me to keep it turning. I want to appreciate my friends and family much more and never take for granted that I can see them when I want too.
As I walk around my village and still see the rainbows in the windows of the houses I pass, celebrating our amazing NHS and carers, I am reminded afresh of the first rainbow in Genesis and God’s promise of hope for the world. Probably the greatest lesson I am learning from lockdown is that God is in control and because of that I have reason to hope. So ‘may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him’ during this post lock down period (Rom 15:13).