I think this is almost day 50 of quarantine…..I’ve lost count.
This has been a season of inward reflection for me. A LOT of inward reflection.
Something has happened to me during this time. It’s something I don’t like, it isn’t fun, and it certainly isn’t comfortable. But, in the end, it’s an incredibly good thing.
It’s called CONVICTION. That’s right. I have been convicted LEFT and RIGHT. From the smallest, seemingly minor things to the deepest, darkest sins of my soul.
There is a popular song by Hillsong UNITED called, “Even When It Hurts”.
The chorus says this:
“Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise you
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise you
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing your praise
Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise!”
I have sung this song maybe 100 times in the last few years, usually while crying because I’m in my feelings. It has been a hard few years. From the passing of my mother-in-law, the relocation to a new city without any family around us, struggling through the pains and heartache of ministry, watching my husband go through cancer, experiencing the loss of family members and even the disintegration of some friendships.
This song has been a great reminder of God’s goodness, even through those major trials.
But do you know when it’s even harder for me to praise God lately?
In my day-to-day struggles.
Honestly. I feel like such a diva.
The minor inconveniences I experience working from home, while homeschooling my children, while trying to keep my house clean, while trying to remember to make 3 meals a day, all while unable to leave the house has given me a major attitude.
I call these inconveniences “minor” because I am not a nurse or doctor or first responder putting my life on the line. I am not, nor is anyone in my family, in the hospital with COVID-19. My husband and I have not lost our jobs. We have not lost our home.
I have a dear friend whose mother is going through cancer, a co-worker who just lost a family member, another friend who is working as a nurse on a cruise ship, caring for people infected with Coronavirus, individuals from my church who are lonely because they live alone and can’t visit their family….. the list goes on and on and on……
I find myself acting like a teenager….rolling my eyes at least 50 times a day at different situations and different people. I find myself in the throws of full-blown frustration and annoyance at every little thing. My husband chews too loud. My kids keep fighting. The dog pooped on the carpet. My roots are grown out. The kitchen is a mess. My pants don’t fit anymore. Work stuff is unorganized. My Amazon package is delayed. Another Zoom call??! I can’t find yeast at the grocery stores. There’s nothing in the kitchen I feel like eating. My husband chews too loud.
I know most of us are experiencing all of these things (and much more, much worse), but this morning on my run, while listening to this song, I was majorly convicted (once again. The COVID CONVICTIONS CONTINUE).
As I sung, “Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you”, I felt like God was saying,
“BUT, DO YOU THOUGH???”
If I can’t even praise him in the midst of a minor inconvenience……how can I expect to praise him in the midst of deep pain?
WHO am I to sing “Even when it’s hard to find the words, I’ll praise you” if I can’t even praise him through an innocuous frustrating occurrence with no long-term damage?
What is my problem? Why am I being such a brat?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many quarantine moments of great joy and thankfulness. I’ve had moments that I have treasured only in my heart instead of sharing them on social media because they were just that private and special.
But still…..I have found myself easily returning to the pattern of complaint instead of a pattern of praise.
And that moment of conviction this morning….it hurt. Because I knew I was wrong. I knew that even though I have tried my best to help and support others in this time, to be positive and uplifting, to see the glass half-full, I still continued to slip back to old patterns of complaint instead of praise the moment something didn’t go my way.
When someone calls you out and you know they’re right, it hurts. Especially when it’s someone you love.
When God calls me out, it hurts even more than a friend or a family member. He is the one who has given me all that I have. So when he gently reminds me that I ought to be praising him instead of complaining, it’s painful. I feel ashamed.
The beauty of pain, is that it causes us to grow, to adapt, to change. We would remain stagnant and useless if we never sought growth. That is the purpose of conviction.
So, ask yourself these questions today:
- Are you in a pattern of complaint instead of a pattern of praise? If you can’t praise God in the midst of inconvenience, can you really praise him in the midst of true pain?
- What is God convicting you of during this quarantine? What is your Covid Conviction?
- What is one thing you do have to be thankful for in this season?
This will be over one day.
Seek help if you need it.
Look upward (to God) and inward (self-reflection) for strength and growth.
Talk to those you love.
Prioritize your time and your life.
Oh yeah……and just eat the dang brownies.