One thing that is certain about 2020 is the uncertainty. Another thing that seems to be certain is that every person and every family has been impacted differently. Some businesses are thriving while others are decimated. Some families are closer than ever before while others are trying not to crumble under so much stress.
A few weeks ago, I went to a dry cleaner in Ohio. It was the first time I’d been in there in weeks. I thought I had two items to pick up, so my jaw hit the floor when the attendant told me the total cost. I thought he must be mistaken… or maybe I had more clothes there than I thought. Nope – it was just that pricey!
As all the Dave Ramsey principles and our impending financial changes ran through my mind, somehow the Holy Spirit pushed through my mental gymnastics enough for me to withhold a grumble and instead ask, “How has business been?” He said they’d been down 90% in April and 50% in May. But even more shocking was that two of his three suppliers had already gone out of business. My heart stopped. An expensive dry-cleaning bill seemed so petty. I needed to save my “woe-is-me” for something that actually counts!
Whether you’re dealing with inconvenience or catastrophe, I’m going to guess that almost everyone feels out of control after six months of “this.” Whether you’re a control freak, a recovering control freak (that’s me), or loose as a goose, most of us have hit our limit. So, what can we practically do?
Here’s what I’ve decided…
1. Make Two Lists
Yes, I’m actually making two literal lists: what I can control and what I can’t. On List One, I start with what I eat, my attitude, my sleep, how I speak to people, my time with the Lord, much of my work, etc. (I’ll spare you the rest of the list so this blog isn’t too long!) On List Two, I can’t change what COVID does, what the economy does, what people say about everything going on, when schools open or close or change their ever-living mind, etc…
2. Work on List One
Once I have my lists done, I’m going to intentionally decide to redirect any “woe-is-me” thoughts to List One – the one list I can impact. Maybe in this season, while I’m not able to work on some other important things, I’ll get to work on some things that I wouldn’t normally be working on (eg. good sleeping habits and expressing love to people). Thankfully, God isn’t caught off guard by our current season!
3. Pray through List Two
List Two contains the things where I need God to do what only He can do. I need Him to move in the supernatural. I need Him to move in people’s hearts. I need Him to show up. The good news is that He hears and He cares. There’s also something incredibly healthy about acknowledging the heavy… and then leaving it with Him.
Of course, there are many times when our efforts and our prayers intersect. But at a time when there are so many constant changes, I know God’s big enough to show up exactly where I need Him while I steady my mind and heart. If you’re struggling to steady your mind and heart, find a note pad and join me.