By Jess Soames
Well, I think we can aptly describe it as an absolute roller coaster! Like everyone there was a lot to take in regarding the gravity of the situation and how quickly our world had changed. We had been making a lot of preparations to make the church able to stay connected through this season in a very short space of time that in some ways this actually stopped me from fully processing what this would actually look like for me personally. The Kids at home, me furloughed from work, Andy working in a risky environment (he’s a paramedic) and the sudden shrinking of our world.
When I look back on those first few weeks I can see how Lockdown served to highlight some pretty unflattering traits in me. I’ll outline just a few 😉 :
- The realisation I get a lot of my worth as a Christian from what I contribute, produce or do. So when this was no longer an option for me the question lingered …… was I still as important to God?
- I use buying things as a comfort and/or distraction from circumstances (cue brown amazon parcels winging their way to my house on a regular basis)
- I crave structure; endless days without plans was hugely overwhelming.
Thinking through the first one took a while and some recalibration was needed on this. I hadn’t realised how I had fallen into performing for God rather than just being with Him. To remember that we are made first and foremost for relationship is truly freeing. For me it meant I could hear the birds sing, smell the sea air (our walks were mine and the kid’s saviours!) and enjoy taking care of my children and know that I didn’t need to score points with God through doing things for him.
Number 2 was just a gentle Holy Spirit reminder of ‘hey jess’ don’t put your security in ‘things’, when you are scared, anxious, or just plain bored. Instead, come to me and I will give you life in abundance. The brown packages began to come less frequently!
With life looking so different I knew I needed to first get some kind of spiritual structure into my days. Lectio 365 (a daily devotional) become a feature every morning as did the 8am prayer meetings. I knew if I could come to Jesus with the first part of the day, I could actively choose to partner with Jesus in it and not be led by my emotions.
I also have begun to learn, probably for the first time in my life, how to ‘pray without ceasing’. I found that the days seemed to have a train track of prayer that ran alongside; these prayers often just muttered under my breath. Often, I’d find myself speaking in tongues as me and the kids were going about our day. The kids would notice it and say ‘are you speaking in tongues again mum?’. I think I just knew that I needed to maintain connection with God and knew constant prayer for our nation could be my rhythm.
And so, as our future un-folds and we adjust to how life is going to be I don’t want to lose sight of these things the Holy Spirit has revealed to me. I know there is more, more for all of us.