‘Your value is not hinged on this lockdown’
For some of us during this lockdown season, they may need to read this again. ‘Your value is not tied to how you respond to this lockdown’. From my experience of three (!!!) Melbourne lockdowns, lockdown has a way of convincing us that we need to either continue to momentum of things pre-COVID, or that everyone else is doing great, while we ourselves are not.
If I may encourage you, God’s love for His Church is not impacted by this lockdown, God’s love for you and purpose for you hasn’t changed either. The only thing that has changed, is the context of His love and purpose. If you’re thriving during this time, your spiritual life is going great, your family is closer than ever, then awesome! Keep at it. But if like many many other Christians within Sydney, your life and mood has fluctuated from this break in momentum and rhythm, or your work and business has suffered because of it and it seems trying and never ending; I just want to say, you’re not alone. God is still working in you. You are still valuable and precious.
I have a few reflections on what God had taught me through scripture and my experience through four (!!) lockdowns, and perhaps it may encourage you too in your journey towards thriving again.
1) Find a routine that involves reflection for your inner growth.
In Psalm 1, the Psalms describes those that meditate on God’s Word as ‘a tree planted by the steams of water, bearing fruit in its season’. Some seasons are not fruit bearing seasons, but it doesn’t mean we do not need sustenance and nourishing from God. Are you looking after yourself this season? Are you taking time in prayer and in meditation? It’s so important to not put a pause on our well-being, God is still at work within you.
2) Let the change in life schedule help you say no to dysfunctional habits.
God’s work isn’t just in the continuation of our life, but also in the ceasing of things which may diminish our joy and satisfaction in Him. For many of us, the issue isn’t that our lives aren’t productive enough, it’s that it’s too full. Too full to enjoy the fellowship of our family, the community of brothers and sisters around us. In the Epistle to the Church of Ephesus, Paul implores the church to, ‘put off your old self’ as a way to work out our salvation. Sometimes, subtraction is not a bad thing for our lives.
3) Reflect on how you may thrive in this season.
One of the temptations I’ve seen people succumb to during lockdown, is to lower our expectations of God to meet our circumstance. That because we aren’t able to do what we used to, then we shouldn’t try anything new at all. In Philippians, Paul writes from a time in his life where he was restriction from any sort of missional or liturgical ministry within his life, but yet he still writes (Phil 4:8), ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’. We must recognise God is still at work within our church, our family and even our own hearts. Even if they are in areas what we aren’t choosing to focus on, it’s still an opportunity to thrive in Christ. For some of us this may mean simply getting in more exercise, reading that book to invest in our lives again, or try something new within our ministries.
Hopefully these things are helpful to you. Lockdown will end, all ministries will end, but God’s love for us is eternal (Roman 8:38-39), just keep going.
當我們身處封城期間，對有些人來說，可能需要重讀 “你的人生價值並非着你對封城的反應而定”。對我這個曾經經歷墨爾本三次封城的過來人來說，封城使我確實明白有兩個選擇： 一是繼續保持那在疫情爆發前對各樣事物所抱的衝勁，或者，看他人都是一帆風順，而自己卻是一事無成。
神不單在我們的生命上持續地作工，祂還致力消除那些使我們未能在祂裏面得到喜樂和滿足的障碍。或者，我們當中有不少人的人生並非不夠有成效， 而是太滿了，滿到未能享受與家人共聚及與主內弟兄姊妹團契生活的樂趣。在致以弗所教會書信中，保羅懇切地規勸他們要“脱去你們的舊我” ，去做成得救的工夫。有時，“減除”對我們人生並非一件壞事。
希望這些事對你有幫助。 封城終會結束，事工也會有終結，但神的愛永遠長存（羅馬書8:38-39）, 只要繼續前進。