Focusing on the Small Things

Last night I wrote the following in a Facebook post:

Things seem to be building again. When this happens… I try to focus on knowns. Right now. This is what I know. Our home is filled with love. We trust something bigger than our selves. Our kids are seeing growth in things they love. Our neighbors are legitimately heaven sent. We have friends that lead to an abundance that I cannot describe. Our family has grown exponentially this year and we couldn’t be more grateful. Nothing unknown and scary today is unknown to the God who sent his son to be born in a manger some 2000 years ago then to die on a cross 33 years later. This story has already been written. Leaning into truth and rest as we lean in to whatever lies ahead.

I was sitting in our living room and things felt big. They felt heavy. The news is getting awfully scary again. Health concerns are mounting. For me that means the inevitable beginning of the feeling that the world is starting to spin awfully fast again.

What I didn’t realize when I posted it, was that it would resonate with others as well. I received several messages, texts, and even a call after the post from others feeling the same.

We’re In This Together

If you’re feeling the same: welcome to the club. You’re not alone here. COVID fatigue is real. We’ve been battling something for a long time and divisions seem deeper than ever. If you’re a parent it might seem even bigger: you have decisions to make for your child that seem so different from anything you may have prepared for (I feel this deeply). If you’re a caretaker for a parent or grandparent, you may also be feeling this in a big way.

Isolation. Fear. Concern. Despair. Grief. These words have come up in more conversations with others this year than I’ve had in my whole life… I’m guessing you’re in that place too.

You. Are. Not. Alone. We’re in this together.

BUT: We are not Without Hope.

As I was reflecting on the hard, a TobyMac song, “Help is on the Way” played, and I couldn’t help but start to smile.

Some of the lyrics go like this:

Sometimes it’s days
Sometimes it’s years
Some face a lifetime of falling tears
But He’s in the darkness
He’s in the cold
Just like the morning, He always shows

It may be midnight or midday
It’s never early, never late
He gon’ stand by what He claim
I’ve lived enough life to say: Help is on the way (roundin’ the corner)

Help is on the way

The words are true… and while catchy lyrics and an upbeat tempo aren’t the most “Christmasy” a few days before Christmas, they certainly felt relevant: perhaps more this time of year than any other.

As we settle in to celebrate with the gifts under the tree (maybe fewer this year than in past years), and time with family (maybe?), there’s something at the center that doesn’t change with the variables all around us: help really is on the way… in fact, it has already come.

What we’re really celebrating is that help.

A few thousand years ago the God of the world looked down and saw humans in need of rescue. He saw those alive at the time and he saw us. You see, the plan for all of eternity had already been written (what we’re facing today is NOT a surprise to him), and he knew that we were deeply in need of a perfect sacrifice, a Savior, a mediator between God and man. So he sent help in the form of a perfect little baby boy in the darkest, most unlikely of places and times in history.

What we’re facing today doesn’t change that. In fact, it illuminates it. Maybe this year makes it even more real.

We are not hopeless: there’s a tangible hope if we choose to believe it. We are not isolated: we are fully known and fully loved regardless of who sits at our table this year. We are not forgotten or forsaken: there is room for good here.

It Doesn’t Take the Hard Away

This hope doesn’t mean right now isn’t hard.

It doesn’t mean it’s not okay to feel the heaviness of current events, of the loss of this year and the year before it. It doesn’t mean that sorrow here on Earth doesn’t exist in a real, crushing way.

But JUST maybe it allows us to look for the small things in a way that we haven’t maybe held tightly in the past when everything felt “normal.”

Maybe it’s a conversation with a neighbor that you’ve gotten to know with more time at home.

Perhaps it’s a new gratitude for the things that ARE constant in your life: your imperfect, more messy than not, home that provides shelter and comfort from the outside.

Maybe it’s your child cracking a joke that makes everyone smile that maybe you would have missed when things were busier.

I don’t know what the small things in your life are… but I’d encourage you to think about the help that has already been sent and the hope of this season that doesn’t change with outside circumstances… and then to look closely at those small things and thank God for them. This is especially important as the outside feels like it’s getting bigger and closing in.

If you’re in that place today, friend: I see you and I feel you. More importantly, your creator does. The unknowns don’t have to be crippling. Look back to the help that has been sent, then look around you: there is good here. There is good in this place… choose to see it and lean in. You have hope to carry on.

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