Pandemics do strange things to people. We adopt survival habits, which seem a good idea at the time, but don’t hold up so well longer term. In the first months of the pandemic, there was a complete panic in society that we were going to run out of toilet rolls, and so many shop shelves were empty. And so I used to keep a packet of toilets rolls in the back seat of the car, so if I met someone who didn’t have any, I could offer them a packet. It seemed like a good idea!
However 21 months later, I still have a packet of toilet paper in the back of the car. I know that I don’t need them, that in fact no one needs them, but it has been hard to let go. What if there is another shortage?
I think that we have all put strategies in place to help us deal with the pandemic, new patterns of living to seek to keep us and others safe, going out less often, doing our lateral flow tests etc. Many of these patterns are necessary and good.
However for some of our coping strategies, we need to adapt, and to let go. They are no longer relevant- hoarding our favourite food, ordering everything on line, deciding we don’t need to catch up with friends the same way. It feels a little as if we are trying to control things, to make things seem better, to try to erase our worries and anxieties.
I love the verses from Jesus in Matthew chapter 6:25 onwards: ‘therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food, the body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns,and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?’
Do not worry, are words I think we all need to hear, especially as we go into a new year. Sometimes we get frazzled trying to sort things out, trying to envisage what might happen, and to try to prevent it. We so overthink.
God calls us just to trust Him, not to prepare for things that haven’t yet happened, to put our energy into worrying when we don’t know what the future will bring. Our heavenly Father knows us, He knows what we need, and He will provide for us, with grace and care. And so in this year ahead, may we lay aside unhealthy patterns and worries from the past, and find courage to go forward in freedom.
Gracious God, You give us freedom to choose how we respond to the dilemmas and enigmas of this life. Sometimes we have got stuck in old habits, negative patterns and worries. Lord Jesus, You came into this world to set us free, and to give us life in all its fullness. Holy spirit give us discernment to let go of unnecessary burdens and habits, and heal us, so we can live in freedom, and make wise choices in the present. As we enter into another year. May we trust You, for your eye is even on the sparrow, and so Your love and provision for us is even more wonderful. Thankyou Jesus, Amen.