‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.’

Joshua 1.9 the Bible

Start with Honesty. 

Is it just me or is social media going mental at the moment during lockdown? 

As someone who is an extravert one hundred percent of the time I’ve noticed that my capacity to deal with the increase in peoples online communication is causing me more and more stress as I have been trying to keep up with it all. It feels like a fulltime job I have on the side at the moment which has been overwhelming me. Maybe it’s been because of my lack of connection with others that I have been desiring more connection online then I normally, so I have been giving more and more of my time to messaging, social media and facetime. Or perhaps it’s a pressure I am picking up of ‘needing to stay connected’. Whatever it is it has felt like a lot recently. None of this is bad as such but I have felt challenged to address the ‘signs and triggers’ I have been noticing in my own life. These have been things like when I’ve noticed my phone light up when I’ve received a message and instead of feeling a sense of joy or happiness at getting a note from someone I’ve noticed my anxiety levels raise a whole level. Or when the only way I’ve been able to focus on a task is when I put my phone in another room as having it beside me has meant I’ve spent the whole past hour wanting to check it. This has made me pause and ask if I need to change something? 

For you it maybe is something else…but something has been one thing to many this week. Sometimes we don’t notice that there is something needing changed until our lives become overwhelming and we find ourselves exploding or withdrawing as we feel we can’t cope. The issue is on me and it is my responsibility to respond to this. However often I don’t want to have to put my phone away, mute a chat or limit my social media time. Why? Because I feel this is somehow a fault of mine to be struggling with something I don’t want to be finding hard. I want to be the person who breezes through a lockdown pandemic and come out of it unscathed. But sadly, this is not going to be the case for me…or anyone. We all find things challenging and some days are better than others but that is the thing, on days we find things more challenging we need to be able to adapt so we don’t lose the plot.  

So, what do I do? Ignore it and hope it goes away…or be honest?

Honesty is hard as it requires us to have to accept truths we perhaps don’t want to. To embrace facts that are not nice. But it also offers us an opportunity to see change. It’s not perhaps how we expected it to be or want but if we want to move on we at first need to accept where we are. 

Where are you at? How are you finding things? Easy? Hard? Difficult? How have your relationships been this week? I find this is often a good place to start as I notice if I’ve had more fraught conversations over simple things that normally wouldn’t bother me it’s a sure sign that I am not processing my stress well or that for whatever reason my capacity this week hasn’t been what I hoped or wanted it to be. Honestly…how’s your week been? 

I’ve recently been through a journey where I’ve been learning that being honest about the state of things whether that is how I feel, my behavior or a situation brings freedom rather than shame. I used to believe that somehow if I was honest about something that wasn’t good that somehow made it worse, more real and I didn’t want to accept that I had failed, messed up or was finding something hard. The truth about that process is about how I viewed myself. If my worth is in how good a job I do, then when I fail I am no longer worthwhile. Equally if my life is only as good as long as it looks great than the minute something bad happens my life is rubbish. All this to say that it’s meant I’ve had to learn to be honest even if that means accepting things are not as I want.  

Are you willing to see change? We can get stuck at the honesty part. It’s one thing to say ‘I’m struggling with …’ like me saying for whatever reason I am struggling with the anxiety social media has been causing me but it’s another to put the hard work in. It’s a whole lot tougher to be willing to look down what can seem and feel like a long dark tunnel with no end then say ‘you know what I’m not going down there’. 

The thing is whether we are in lockdown or not we do not live our lives in isolation so whatever the hard stuff in your life is it’s not just going to affect us but everyone around us. For me this is what often encourages me to be willing to face the long dark tunnel. The tunnel analogy maybe feels extreme for an example like social media but whatever the thing you’re struggling with it affects others in your life too. You facing it impacts your life but also those you live with, go to school with, hang out with and also who you will become. Facing our fears is tough and we cannot manage this on our own. Finding that support network for you is key. 

Finding your support network. 

I’ve never managed to face the tough stuff on my own and trying has never led me anywhere. As Christians we are promised that we will never face anything on our own. That God is with me and will never leave me. As I’ve been thinking about this I was reminded about Joshua in the Bible. Joshua was asked to lead God’s people into the promised land after their time in the wilderness. Moses was Joshua’s leader and I am sure that he felt a huge sense of responsibility taking on such a role after Moses. I know I would have. What he didn’t know was that once he got to the promised land he would face many tough things. The land was full of Giants. I wonder if he would have said yes to the call to lead God’s people into their destiny if he knew that there would be many, many challenges ahead? I also wonder if he felt scared at the prospect of facing these giants and the uncertainty of how things would turn out. But God was with him and every obstacle he faced God helped him defeat them. We can’t do life on our own and especially get through the tough stuff without Gods help. 

I don’t know what you have going on this week and how lockdown has left you feeling but whatever it is I want to encourage you to listen to God, invite him to help you face your challenge and trust that by following Him and trusting him that he will help you through it. For that however we need to be honest before God, honest about what we are finding hard, be willing to face the long dark tunnel and do the work of dealing with the challenges we uncover but we do this in the knowledge that we do not do this alone. 

God said this to Joshua and I believe he says something similar to us today to. 

‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.’ Joshua 1:9 

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