Well, I have been MIA for a couple of weeks. This whole situation kind of blew me out of the water. For those of you who know me really well, you know that I have battled with depression, post traumatic stress and anxiety for a long time. Unlike a lot of you, this situation has presented a lot of uncertainty, and the unknown can be very stressful. Sometimes paralysing. I have had to take some time to work out some things personally, and if you are struggling, you are not the only one. This is a very uncertain situation. I heard someone describe it as "feeling like you are sitting at the top of a rollercoaster waiting to drop". You know something is coming, but you really have no idea what that something looks like.
Knowing that I am struggling, why would I call this a blessing and opportunity? From the moment I started hearing news of social distancing, churches going remote, and schools shutting down, I felt an overwhelming peace about this being a wonderful opportunity to start fresh. An opportunity to bond with my family, to connect more with my kids that have grown more distant, to learn how to better arrange my schedule to be more effective in my home. Most importantly, I felt like this was an incredible opportunity for me to grow spiritually with my family. This is a time to help teach the truths that I have learned in my own trials to my children. This is an opportunity to help my kids understand the love their parents and their Savior Jesus Christ and God have for them, and help them to see that they have purpose and are part of a bigger plan.
We have a choice in every situation, we can either look at the bad and choose to live in despair, or we can look at what we can gain something from the situation. I am notoriously pessimistic, but always trying to improve my outlook and be optimistic.
Something I have been taught throughout my life is that trials are usually intended to teach us something. We can either look at a trial as a curse, or we can learn something from it and become better. So, what can we learn from this? I honestly don't believe this is the end, we will return to a sense of normalcy again one day. What opportunities can we glean from this? For me, in addition to what I have already listed, I have a few other things:
1: This is an opportunity for me to see where the holes are in my emergency plans. What can I do differently if something like this happens in the future? I mean really, I had never considered that maybe I need to make a meal plan to go with my food storage. How much easier would my life be if I knew what we were eating every day, and that I had all of the ingredients to get me through all of it? It has also helped me realize that maybe I need to keep soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper in my emergency supply because apparently those are one of the first things to disappear in the store. Good gracious!
2: This is a great opportunity for me to get closer to God.
I can take more time to focus on studying his doctrine and focus more deeply on what it means for me. What truths can he reveal to me and help me to understand about this current situation and what is coming in the future? How do I fit into his eternal plan, and how can I better serve him?
3: To learn how to develop, strengthen and exercise my faith.
I have had plenty of opportunities to do that in the past, but this might be the biggest one so far. How much do you trust God? How much do you trust the quiet sweet whisperings of the Holy Ghost? What can we do to allow ourselves to feel that peace that God is offering those who are trying to diligently live his commandments?
4: Be more creative in finding ways to serve others.
Social distancing has definitely created an interesting dynamic in how we interact. How can I use this to my advantage? How can I connect with and serve those I have volunteered to serve, and how can I reach out to others without showing up at their doors or gathering with them in our homes or places of worship? I am hoping to come up with something fun and unique to help me connect. Let me know if you have come up with any fun ideas in your own unique situations.
5: Slow down and focus on what is most important.
With the pace the world has been moving, it has become so easy to get distracted by all of the moving parts; Places to be, people to see, activities to be involved in, technology to keep us distracted. What is most important though? What was our main purpose of coming to this earth to begin with? Was it to make the most money so that I can go on fancy trips and buy the nicest things? Was it to find the best pins on pinterest and recreate all of them in my own home? Was it so that I could spend the day shuffling kids around with little time to connect? Or was it sweeter than that? None of those other things would mean anything without the people that I love. None of these things are bad, they contribute to our growth and personal improvement, but it has been so easy to get caught up in all the extras that we often forget to make time for the essentials, those who live in our own homes. Maybe we have forgotten how to love some of the people that should mean the most to us. I am taking this time to connect more deeply at home, with the ones I love.
I feel like I am already learning so much from this opportunity, and am already feeling blessed in so many ways. This is only the beginning, I really am looking forward to see what else the Lord has to teach me.
What is the Lord teaching you?