Life has had a way of de-railing me so quickly lately.
There are circumstances with no resolution.
So many things out of my control. (A sure recipe for an anxious person like me.)
A steady stream of not-so-positive news.
A culture lacking respect and grace.
Sickness. Depression. Anxiety. All wrecking havoc on so many around me. People I love and care for.
It seems like it has literally been one thing after another going on two years now.
It's enough to leave a mind feeling completely overwhelmed.
And with no end in sight.
It has been so hard to find solid footing on this ground that keeps shifting and changing.
And I KNOW I'm not alone. These thoughts and feelings have been echoed in nearly every serious conversation I have had lately.
But while I was out jogging this afternoon I had a mental image that came to mind. (I often view life in mental pictures. If only I were an artist that could paint or draw these images to help depict what I'm thinking! Clearly that was NOT my gifting given that my stick figures are even laughable. Just ask my family!) Anyway, here is what I saw...it was me, kind of hovering above the ground. Objects were spinning out of control all around me, almost like I was in the middle of a tornado. My hair was blowing in my face and I couldn't figure out what to do. What was going on. What to grab ahold of. I was paralyzed. And then all of a sudden I found some abstract thing (I can't really explain what this thing was) and just began zoning in on that one thing. Nothing stopped moving or spinning out of control, the chaos was still there, but my body began to slowly lower down to the ground and my hair stopped blowing in my face. And I felt a calm wash over me.
All of a sudden it reminded me of a time I was doing yoga. I was trying to hold this ridiculously difficult pose for an obscene amount of time (thanks to the YouTube instructor I was following along with). But then my dog (and maybe a kid or two;) began to start running laps around me and I quickly lost my pose and had to start over. It was hard for me to keep my mind focused on the pose while my eyes were focused on the chaos and movement of the dog and kids. (This is my life people!) But every good yoga instructor tells her class to find a focal point to look at in order to keep your mind focused and your pose in tact.
It's the same in childbirth. Finding a focal point helps to eliminate the distraction and ease the pain. (or so they say, ha)
What does all this have to do with me trying to just figure out how to make it through my day-to-day?
It actually has EVERYTHING to do with learning how to thrive in the midst of chaos.
We have to find our focal point. And let me tell you from experience, the ONLY true north, the only firm foundation, the only constant in this every-changing world with fickle emotions, desires and outcomes is Jesus Christ.
It reminds me of the story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14. The wind was tossing and turning the boat. When Jesus started walking on the water toward them he didn't call the waves to stop right then. He called Peter to come out and join him. In the midst of the troubled waters and the wind. And as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was fine. But as soon as he took his eyes off Christ and looked at the wind (the chaos around him) he began to sink. But even then, Peter cried out to Jesus, "Lord, save me" and "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him...".
Yes, our world, specifically our country right now, seems to be tearing apart at the seams.
Yes, Covid is STILL here.
Yes, there are unresolved relationships and circumstances.
Yes, people have lost all sense of compassion for one another, therefore say and do hurtful things.
Yes. All of these things are valid and real.
But I am learning that my focal point HAS to be Jesus Christ in order to keep my head above water.
In order to keep the chaos in its place.
I MUST keep shifting my gaze to the ONE who brings peace in the storm or the storm will consume me.
My mental, emotional and spiritual health will all begin to fail and those I love the most will pay the price right along with me.
So take your mental lens and keep fixing your eyes on Jesus.
The storms will roll in and the waves may rise but God promises to give us peace.
We can trust Him.