At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, I felt like there were some things I was supposed to cut out of my life and other things that I was supposed to start doing. I wanted to stop eating out as much and reduce the number of Starbucks visits per week. I wanted to start using my money more intentionally, purchasing more sustainable and ethically made products. I also wanted to start taking better care of myself.
I did a few of these things, but not to the degree I wanted to. Making these changes in my life was going to require more willpower than I was willing to muster—it’s hard to break deeply ingrained habits, especially those born out of laziness.
So when coronavirus began spreading through the U.S. and we were forced into our homes, I knew this was an opportunity for me to examine my habits. I saw this as an opportunity to grow in the areas that I wanted to grow in and cut out some things in my life that just aren’t necessary. And the positive changes that I’ve made over the past few weeks, while difficult, have been good.
But I recently realized something: I have been finding my identity in my routine.
Working from home is difficult for me. If I’m not careful, I can easily become either a work-obsessed robot or a lethargic, immovable sloth. So, to combat these two unhealthy extremes, I put some boundaries in place and set up a routine for me to follow. I was able to use wisdom, learn from past mistakes, and create a plan for myself going forward. I hoped that this plan, filled with opportunities for me to spend time with God and myself, would keep me from switching to the autopilot of numbness. But that’s where I’ve found myself.
While I’ve been very intentional with my physical boundaries, I have not been intentional with my heart.
“My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:20-23 (NIV)
Honestly, I’m finding it difficult to tend to my heart in this season. With so much chaos and worry and anxiety and fear in the world right now, it seems easier to just shut down. Grieving, mourning, and lamenting the loss of life, the state of the world, and the horrible things we’re seeing daily is exhausting. Binging something mindless seems like a much more fun way to occupy this time. Turning to numbness is much easier than feeling everything that’s going on, but that doesn’t mean that it’s wise or right.
Caring for our hearts is one of the best things we can possibly do.
During this time when we’re all stuck indoors, we have an opportunity to let the Lord prune our hearts and our minds. As we trim back some of the excess from our physical lives, I believe the same can be done for our internal environments. Numbness had snuck up on me again, so I’ve had to lay that before the Lord and invite him into my heart yet again. I’ve had to ask him to help me feel the emotions that I’ve been repressing and give me the courage to express these things without fear or shame. And he’s been faithful to help me.
This season is not easy, but I believe that God is going to use it for our good and his glory. I believe that this season is not going to be wasted, but is an opportunity for us to examine our foundations and put our lives back on the Rock, if we’ve been using sand instead. This season can be a time of preparation for the good that I know we will see.
Let’s use this time to tend to our hearts and minds, cutting the things away that never should’ve been there and trimming away areas to make room for future growth.
How can you practically tend to your heart and mind this week?
Are there any false beliefs or ways of thinking that God is wanting to uproot in you?