There is a chair in my house I sit in when I feel deeply and my emotions spill over. Usually, it’s anger, fear, despair, frustration, resentment, sadness, bitterness, and confusion that take me to my chair. Next to my chair is usually a pen and notebook. Inside this notebook are nonsense paragraphs and run-on sentences directed to God. Sometimes, the pages are filled with pleading scribbles, begging God to intervene. Other times, my rage is all over a tear-stained page, demanding he do something—anything. Then there are the blank pages that scream, “I have no words for right now!”
Then there are times like right now. The COVID-19 days. These days are bizarre and uncharted. These days drag on and fly by simultaneously. These days I feel angry, sad, and hopeful all at once. These days, my emotional pendulum will sometimes swing hard and fast, hitting every emotion known to man, and some unique ones known only to me, along the way. When I sense an emotional shift of this magnitude, I go sit in my chair. I know God will meet me there. He always does. I recognize he’s always with me, but in the thick of an emotional pandemic pendulum swing, I know I need to deliberately and swiftly enter into his very real presence.
When I sit down in my chair, I pause. I take a deep breath in—hold it—and slowly exhale. Sometimes I have to do this several times just to quiet my spirit and slow my racing heart. Sometimes tears leak. Sometimes I have to tell my children I will not respond to them right now because I need to be with Jesus for a little while. Then, I listen and wait for his voice.
He always shows up. Not sometimes. Every. Single. Time.
Most days, I recognize his voice easily. It took a while to learn to discern his voice from the other voices that swirl around in my head, but I’ve practiced listening for his voice for a while. It’s gotten easier. The assurance from Jesus that I will recognize his voice (John 10:27) has given me the staying power to sit in my chair long enough to hear it.
So here I am on another COVID-19 day sitting in my chair waiting for the voice of God to wash over me like a wave gently kissing the shore. It’s been a hard week. I have felt like I have been doing everything and nothing all at once. I’m tired, sad, anxious, mad, hopeful, and glad. I enjoy being home with my people, but I miss having the freedom to go somewhere. I miss the voices of my closest friends. I miss walking down the hall and popping my head into my boss’ office. Honestly, I feel like a jumbled mess. I am a mess, but I know God can handle my mess. He can handle yours, too.
This is how I expect the rest of this season to go. I will go about my days helping my boys with their distance learning. I’ll attempt to work from home. I’ll reach out to those God places on my heart. I will be okay some days and not okay other days. I will do my best to recognize that God is near in the midst of it all.
On the days I forget and feel like a mess, I will go to my chair and I will realize that God was already waiting for me.