When Life Is Disrupted
How should I respond in a life that is so disrupted?
Yep, I bet you thought—just like me—that this storm was going to be temporary. I think we all thought this season was going to move through quickly, but now we are facing the understanding it may take longer than we initially thought. Given this, how should we respond?
Here are two optimistic ways we can look at this season.
Disruptions drive us to the essential and fundamental.
Yes, disruptions in our routines are initially annoyances.
I get it, and I agree with you.
But sometimes these disruptions force us to ask questions, assess unneeded clutter, and then drive us toward things that have more meaning, value, and purpose in this life.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:2
As a well-to-do American, I am certainly materialistically wealthy. I have a lot of unneeded clutter and stuff in my life. Subscriptions I don't use. Excess material I don't need. Aimless activity I don't need to do. And as I watch market shelves empty of essential items like bread, rice, and other resources (toilet paper?), this disruption forces me to assess.
I have noticed over the last few days I have done these things:
- I have stayed closer to home.
- I have had more conversations with my family that take on a "serious tone," updating them on the events happening in the world (since they are all around 24/7).
- I have become more protective of my family and ensure I know where and who they are with at all times.
- I have prayed more for my family, country, world, health, and spiritual awareness.
- I have discussed human fear in most conversations and tried to pivot them toward spiritual faith.
- I have called more people I love and almost immediately ask, "How's your family?".
- I have watched my intake of television and media, and am balancing this with more positive messages (like Christian music), to ensure I am not overdosing on fatalistic thinking.
- I have spent less money on trivial things, but more on necessities.
- I am spending more time in God's Word on thematic subject matter.
- I am having more conversations about the future and less about trivial matters (like which team Tom Brady is trading to).
As I read this list, I am amazed at how "fundamental and essential" these activities are for me as a man, husband, father, and leader. I am surprised at how quickly—in days really—some non-essential activities have been assessed and deleted from my life. These new rhythms are not activities that I have necessarily dismissed, but activities that I am now giving more attention to regularly. While I am excited about getting back to life, as usual, this season is forcing me to address the non-essentials and get back to the basics.
Disruption drives us toward answers and power.
During seasons like we are in right now, I think it is easy for us to become myopically (focused in a small and narrow way) on the interruption itself. And then because of our narrow focus, we become fatalistic about the present and the future. While we should not dismiss reality, or trivialize the issue or impact, we should not let our minds become consumed with narrow thinking that leads to fatalistic thoughts. If the present reality is the only thing we are focusing on, we will immerse our minds and imaginations—our soul—in human fears. Pandemics are never good, but what if the present season drove us from powerlessness to real power, healing, and hope?
Here is how the prophet Jeremiah addresses the fears the people of God have during his time.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.—Jeremiah 29:11-14
This moment is a very unsettling moment for the nation of Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem. Most of the nation was carried off into captivity by their Babylonian adversary led by King Nebuchadnezzar, where they would now spend a long unforeseen future (70 years). However, Jeremiah sends a note to the remaining survivors, including the priests, prophets, and a small segment of the people who remained. The letter is positive and hopeful and anchored in a future reality. But the conditions are simple—call, come, and pray to God.
And we should do the same—call, come, and pray to God.
Our power is with God—together. As Christians, we have access to significant power. A God who heals. A God who heals people, nations, and lands. A God who heals disease, pestilence, and infections. A God who is willing to come close and will come to our aid. Should we not as and believers bow before Him and call, come, and pray to the only one who heals body and spirit?
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases."—Psalm 103:2-3
So today, assess the challenge. See the good. And let call, come, and pray for each other and ask God to heal our sick world. He can do it.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.