Anxiety got the better of me last night. Anxiety 1, Kallie 0, I thought, as I lay in bed late into the night after hours of continually waking up gasping for a breath.
This season is hard. There are days where I feel entirely fine, because I have grounded my thoughts in a higher Truth, or some, honestly, where I am most likely in denial. We have moved from a unity of “we are all in the same boat” to a new stage where we realize that some people’s boats have significant holes in them and some are self-sustainable yachts. I get exhausted by humanity’s ability to always find something to argue about. We all have different things we want to be true, me included, whether they are or not.
My biggest question for God recently has been what is the purpose of this season? I try to live my life with intentionality, setting goals and working towards personal and communal growth. So in a season where we are intentionally separated, slowing our lives down dramatically, and where I feel like I spend most of my time alone and not doing anything productive, I am asking the Lord this question. What is the purpose? How do we find purpose?
For some people, the “frontliners” as we’ve affectionately been calling them, purpose maybe feels very clear right now. Despite how difficult their work is, they can wake each morning knowing they are doing important work and making an impact (I hope you feel that way — you are!!).
The Lord’s answer for me has been that nothing has changed about calling just because of this season. That is the beauty of calling and purpose: they are not ruined or removed by circumstance. Maybe the specifics of how it plays out changes; for so many of us the way we do the job or role within our calling looks really different right now. But the baseline calling that God has put upon each of us doesn’t change or go away during this season.
So I started reminding myself of my calling and thinking through how I can live that out during this season. It can still exist — it must. I will go insane if my daily purpose is finishing puzzles and organizing my home. It isn’t enough. I hear that small voice that reminds me that we are made for more. I don’t necessarily have any issue with the slowness and simplicity that this season has brought us; sure, I think we needed to learn and reset. But God doesn’t call us to a life of rest that is entirely self-serving and isolated. That isn’t rest. Rest is living within the purposes and plans of the Father without sacrificing our health to prove our worth. Rest removes striving.
So hopefully we are all learning that some of the activities or habits that contribute to our excessive busyness could be completely eliminated from our lives, even after this whole pandemic. I imagine at some point we will look back and think, “Oh yeah, remember when we took a break from being so busy? How did things get back to this?” We are not great at sustaining practices of rest and simplicity.
Living with simplicity and rest does not require sacrificing purpose. We can find both. We can have rhythms of rest and purpose. In seasons of slow, we can zero in even more on who God has created us to be and how He has equipped us to live and love in this world.
I have not figured out exactly what this looks like. But for me, I know that my most broad and basic calling is to be a friend. That can still exist within these circumstances. I can still maintain relationships. I can reach out, still spend time, still encourage. I can send letters and remind people that they are loved. I’m not honestly sure how well I have done this, I think I found a way even in the simplicity to become fairly self-focused. But as I have asked the Lord for purpose in this season, He has reminded me of mine. I believe He can remind you of yours too.
If your experience has been at all like mine, it has been difficult to find anything to pray for other than the usual: keep us healthy, please. But maybe this is what we can be asking of God today: How do I serve even in these circumstances? What does my purpose look like when our way of living has changed drastically?
Here are some ideas:
It is still possible to have a friendly interaction with a store worker, even behind face masks and a glass partition. You can still ask how someone is doing, still thank them for their work.
It is still possible to bless your community and love your neighbors. It might be more digital or virtual than baking them cookies or bringing them a meal, but it still exists.
It is still possible to serve or volunteer. It might not be going and cleaning or serving food or hanging out in person. But maybe we get a little more generous with our bank accounts and most definitely serve people in prayer.
The best people in this season are the ones who have creatively found a way to still live out their purpose. I want to do that. I want to be one of those people. Not one who is crippled by the fear and the change. What does it look like to still live intentionally and with purpose in this season for you? How can your calling evolve to meet the needs of your community or sphere of influence amidst these crazy circumstances? Praying that God will bring you clarity and creativity to answer these questions for each of you.