The questions I have to ask myself…
Only a few weeks into the first Lockdown I found myself having conversations about what the future of church looked like. There was a real excitement about how church would look when we came out of the other side of Covid, a recognition that we couldn’t go back to how things were before.
I knew that at some point I would need to ask myself a whole pile of questions not just about church but about my own life and habits. Was the way we did church before working? Should our activities restart exactly as they were before? Which relationships were most important to me? What are the plans God has for me in the next season? As I have journeyed through the last year the list of questions I know I have to ask myself has grown longer and longer… and more intimidating. The thought of planning for a time ‘PC’ – Post-covid makes me feel anxious. How can we begin to plan to bring everything back when we are struggling to manage all the projects, activities and zoom calls which have become our ‘covid-normal’.
There is a fear that if we let go of an activity even for a short time we will lose the connections we have worked so hard to maintain, so instead we are desperately trying to think of ways to sustain a presence online whilst also restarting activities in person. It looks like the only way forward is to double our workload… and at a time when most of us are already feeling burnt out and exhausted, perhaps like me you have found yourself doing anything to avoid answering those questions! Isaiah 43v16-19 says this: This is what the Lord says. He is the one who made a road through the sea and a path through rough waters. He is the one who defeated the chariots and horses and the mighty armies. They fell together and will never rise again. They were destroyed as a flame is put out. The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past.
Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?” Perhaps this season we need to stop thinking about all the activities and programmes we used to run, we need to be ready to let go of all the things we have launched to help us survive this season of pandemic and instead look to God for the new things. We need to be brave enough to ask the questions – yes, but also brave enough to forget and let go of the things of the past.
The truth is that the only thing we need to take with us into the future is God, follow His leading and everything else will fall into place. Use this opportunity for a fresh start with God, a chance to dream new big dreams and give yourself permission and freedom to let the old things fall to the ground. Jesus used the image of a grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying in order to produce a rich harvest (John 12). At Easter we remember Jesus’ own death and resurrection, we remember that we are called to die to ourselves and live for God. Let’s not see the questions we have to answer as an every increasing to do list, but instead an opportunity for self-compassion and a chance to let go of the things that have held us back and weighed us down in the past.
Reflective Roadmap – a resource for self-reflection based on Ecclesiastes 3 is available from www.foundationstones.co.uk Visit www.tath.co.uk/leaving-lockdown for a family reflection booklet and brand new resources to help with transition planning and vision casting.