The time is coming that we are all going to be called to re-engage with a world that we had to so abruptly and wholly disengaged from for the sake of others’ safety and love. The anxiety involved in re-engagement is genuine. But as a dear friend told me, “What served you then, may no longer serve you now.”
After we filmed the BECOMING:engaged podcast, I found myself thinking a lot about how becoming engaged in community life after COVID will be wrought with a measure of anxiety for nearly everyone. I can’t remember a time in my life where all the usual pathways of community engagement were so abruptly severed and needed to be reconnected. And the reconnections won’t look as they did before. This time in history will be a total and global starting-over and entirely new for many.
Perhaps living in Russia in 1992 when the Soviet Union collapsed is the closest comparison I can make from my own life experience to what we are now entering and experiencing. The rippling effects on the human psyche and human interactions were monumental and long-lasting. Everyone was afraid, and it showed in so many unfortunate ways. But those who were courageous enough to go out and to risk loving others became lights in that place, and their lights showed far brighter because of the darkness surrounding them.
At first, each reconnection we make will take extra effort, or feel awkward or uncomfortable, or even be down-right anxiety evoking. Because in many senses, each engagement, even in old relationships, will be new because we have all become changed. We must pray for courage – for ourselves and others. We must also remember we are not alone. God’s Spirit is the Shepherd who will lead us, the Rock who will protect us, the Father who will empower us, the Mother who will comfort us, and the Savior who will forgive us and cover over our mistakes when we get it wrong along the way.
There’s been a lot of noisiness this year over the airwaves and on social media – all the societal extremes have been on full display – opposing voices yelling loud opinions that have brought anxiety to our young ones and us. And there are innumerable hurting souls who need God’s body to care for them; so many have lost so much! But even godly people have been fractured and become anxious. Therefore, we all must consider what fears to entrust to God that we unknowingly took on board our souls during this stormy season. God is calling His children to make themselves ready – to become covered in mercy and strength, compassion and peace, joy and sacrificial love, and prepared for His excellent use. Noble vessels that overflow with hope and love in humble service are very much needed. If we go out from these inner places covered in hurt and clinging to the sharp shards of our own fracturing, we will inevitably bring hurt and pain to others. My mom often says, “May those who are more healed care for those who are less healed.” This is a truth that speaks to the working of body ministry. And so we need to be intentional about taking time to allow the Spirit to heal us and teach us more about the creative purposes he has for us as we go out into the new normal of society.
I am incredibly blessed and grateful to have walked weekly with several hundred people during these 12 months through the BECOMING Academy curriculum and our three online retreats. It has been an emotional, relational, and spiritual lifeline this year as well as a preparation for what we are all going to face. We have all learned to entrust our hurts and fragments to the Lord for healing and it has made a difference for us all.
Suppose you are looking for healing and peace from the anxieties you have experienced this season. In that case, I encourage you to consider walking through the BECOMING Transformed Course on the BECOMING Academy site. It has restored peace and joy, hope and power within those who have taken the time to do it. There is intentional soul work involved and reflective activities where you look at aspects of your own stories. Still, it is work that results in acquiring the courage needed to re-engage and understand how to do so according to your gifts and callings as God has intended for you. May we all BECOME noble vessels overflowing with love, healing, compassion, generosity, and mercy.