Ruts. Have you ever been in one? Think of driving on less-than-perfect terrain on a “road” that is more mud than hard-packed dirt. Staying in the rut is a means of not venturing into even worse terrain.
Or how about cooking? Sometimes I describe my cooking/meal preparation as “being in a rut.” I make the same food over and over and over again. Thankfully, my husband never complains! But not trying something new, not venturing out of my food-preparation comfort zone gets… well… old. Boring. My motivation level is zilch. My enthusiasm non-existent. I’m just getting by.
I’m feeling a bit like that these days. I’m in a COVID rut.
This particular “rut” does have a redeeming quality. Staying in the rut, like not veering off into the mud on our less-than-perfect “road,” keeps me from something that could be worse. In this case, knowing – from our year’s-worth of experience—the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds is a “good rut” to be in, one that helps those around me and me to stay safe.
But the rut I’m struggling with is the one that has zapped my motivation level and enthusiasm. The one that has me not venturing out or seeking ways to “embrace” this most recent wave of COVID-inflicted restrictions. It’s a rut that wants to suck me into a mindset that only sees the negative, that only sees obstacles – not possibilities or even advantages that God may have in store.
I’m reminded afresh of how desperately I need to daily be renewed by the truth of God’s Word.
“But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great Your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left… When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If He works severely, He also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.”
Lamentations 3: 21-24, 28-32 (The Message)
I’m also reminded of how much I need others. When my perspective gets off, when I’m stuck in a rut, I desperately need someone to hear the weariness in my heart, to come alongside and wade through the rut with me.
Two weeks ago, Ronnie shared how a group of men helped him as he grappled with trauma. Last week Richard vulnerably shared how counseling has proven to be a crucial tool in helping him deal with past issues in his life. One thing both these men helped us see is that God often uses others to help us as we journey through life. We’re made for community. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have modeled that for us since the beginning of time. We’re not made for isolation.
If you’re feeling stuck right now, in a rut that you may not even be able to identify, PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out! Let someone know. Face-to-face/in person interactions may be limited right now, but that doesn’t keep us from chatting by phone or finding other ways to communicate! May we be sensitive to one another, coming alongside one another as we wade through the ruts of life… and by doing so, help build a healthy community.
Stay safe! Stay healthy! STAY CONNECTED!
on behalf of the Pastoral Care Team (email@example.com)