Quarantine, oh quarantine. The levels of frenzy, fear, panic, grief, uncertainty & unrest that our nation has experienced in these past several months have been upending for many: families displaced, jobs lost, incomes squelched, loss and grief, illness and death. Interruption on all levels. Whether by force or voluntary, this national crisis has created the opportunity for a shift. Before there is a shift, there is always some type of slow down, pause, and at times a full stop. This global pandemic has demanded a force quit. Force quit on a computer is a hard stop and reset function that is typically used when an app has malfunctioned on some level and is stuck. At that point – the last resort and only option becomes the use of force quit. We work without rest, we play without boundaries, we indulge without moderation, we live without restraint, we make decisions without vision. We abuse our freedom and forsake our purpose. Change rarely happens without pauses. Progress is always preceded by change. We are at a necessary stopping and shifting point.
Shift: to put (something) aside and replace it by another or others; change or exchange:
When I think of the shift key on a computer, it is an option that makes other types of functionality accessible. There are levels in life that will remain unavailable to us unless we shift. Change is uncomfortable. We are creatures of comfort and predictability. Although it may take some time to achieve, stability is always our goal. So when change knocks at (or down in the case of this pandemic) our door, it often comes with a certain level of uneasiness. What can we do to prepare to shift well? How can we make the most of the disruption of a season of shift?
Below are some tips, practices and knowledge that if we master, will set us up for a successful shift.
Sacrifice: Learn how to lose things well - in a healthy way. In the midst of a change, you will have to surrender some things. In order to say yes to some things, you will have to say no to others. In order to embrace some things, you will have to let others go. You must approach life with open hands – grateful for what is there. Honor what was, release it and begin to expect next and new.
Humility: Have a sober view of yourself and the world around you. Many of our issues stem from self-indulgence (better known as pride). When you, your preference, your emotions and your desires are not the center of all things, it makes it that much easier to understand and process change.
Identity: Knowing who you are is an anchor. It is your power. Having and living from the revelation of who you are and who you were created to be determines your function in the world. When you get identity right, it’s difficult to get anything else wrong. Identity creates clarity and elevates vision. Vision is a long-term plan that allows sustainability and fortifies us through change.
Focus: Master self-discipline, as this is the bedrock of the ability to focus. Honor yourself enough to give attention to the things that matter, when they matter most and see them through to completion.
Trust: Believe that all things work together for your good. Trust in your maker to perfect all things that concern you (Psalm 138:8), especially in the midst of a shift. Many of us struggle in this area. We have endured so many disappointments, broken promises and indiscretions that we find it difficult to rely on anyone other than ourselves. Trust is the ability to rely on the integrity of a thing. Begin to study the character of God, He will prove his integrity and trustworthiness to you. Just give Him a try – what do you have to lose?
In the midst of a shift, we need something sure, stable and supportive – something reliable. There can be steady in the midst of a shift. Hebrews 6:19 tells us that hope in God is an anchor for the soul. The basis of this passage is that God is an oath keeper. He is faithful and reliable. This passage reminds us of the story of Abraham, a man who endured and thrived through several major shifts. One of the greatest shifts of his life was transitioning from being a man with no children and a barren wife, to trusting God’s word that he would one day be a father of many nations, to becoming a father of many nations. I would encourage you to read Abraham’s story. It’s filled with transitions and shifts, but he trusted his anchor, which proved to be steady, reliable and carried him to the exact place he needed to be. His anchor carried him, his story and his seed through generations; thousands and thousands of years into the future. His anchor carried him through all his shifts, into greatness. Like Abraham, happy shifting.
Alecia Swoope is a writer and speaker who's passionate about teaching and supporting people to be their best self. She loves all things relational and comfy- when she's not busy , you can find her chatting and laughing with loved ones, snuggled under a warm blanket or vibing out to feel-good music.