As Singapore’s Circuit Breaker and Circuit Breaker Lite™ come to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences over the past few months. How was it for you? Was it restful? Frustrating? A little of both?
Bizarre as this season has been, I am confident that it was not a waste. I know that God has used it to prepare all of us for whatever is coming next and, before the next chapter begins, I want to pause and take stock of what I’ve learned.
Thinking back through the last couple of months, here are the convictions that I hope to carry with me beyond Circuit Breaker.
1. The Holy Spirit’s voice is kind, not critical.
Adjusting to the lockdown was difficult for me. There were some good days, but more often than not I was struggling.
I felt frustrated at my lack of productivity, annoyed at myself for feeling despondent, and I felt like a failure for not meeting my goals (or even having the diligence to set goals). Being stuck with my perfectionistic and critical thoughts without an end in sight was not fun.
But more than my inefficiency, I was frustrated at my lack of desire to be in God’s presence. Reading the Bible, praying, worship…it all felt burdensome. If I were honest, I didn’t want to be in God’s presence. I didn’t want to hear his voice.
I didn’t want to hear God’s voice because I was afraid of what I might hear. “What will you have to show when the lockdown is over?” “When’s the last time you checked in on someone else? You’re so selfish.” “You should be doing that instead—why do you waste so much time.” Strict, judgmental, critical.
But that’s my voice, not God’s voice.
The Holy Spirit’s voice is not like mine. His voice is gracious. It’s kind. He doesn’t berate me into repentance; He uses kindness to show me the way instead. The Holy Spirit’s voice is kind, not critical. In a time of isolation, God taught me to better differentiate my thoughts from His. “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20
The Holy Spirit’s voice is kind, not critical.
2. There are always reasons to be thankful— you just have to look.
What do you see? A rabbit or a duck? I see a rabbit.
But because I know that I can also see a duck, I see the duck!
Once you know the other exists, it’s not hard to switch back and forth between the two. Both of them have always been there—you just have to look.
Similarly, our ability to notice reasons to be thankful can be switched on and off.
Sometimes we feel as if there’s nothing to be thankful for. We are certain that what we see is all there is. But God tells us in Psalm 106:1 to “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” And again in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
You may be convinced that there is nothing to be thankful for, but once you decide to take God at his word you will find that there are, in fact, many things to be thankful for. If not in circumstances, then in God’s character.
If you only want to see a rabbit, you’ll only see a rabbit. If we decide that there is nothing to be thankful for, we will find nothing to be thankful for. If you know that both rabbit and duck exist, you will see both.
Gratitude is a muscle that must be trained. There are always reasons to be thankful—you just have to look.
Coming out of this Circuit Breaker, I am grateful for these two reminders of God’s character. His voice is always kind, never critical. And there are always reasons to be thankful— you just have to look.
What are some frustrations that you’ve experienced in the last couple months? How do you think the Holy Spirit sees the things that cause you frustration?
What are some ways that your expectations of yourself differ from God's expectations?
What can you be thankful for that was only possible because of COVID?