Without a doubt this has been the most memorable May I have experienced in a long time. I feel quite certain most of us will look back on the spring of 2020 as a time in our lives when something changed. Everything has been impacted in one way or another—our jobs, our relationships, our schedules, our thoughts—even our sleep! It seems no stone has gone unturned. One thing is for certain; we are all making memories!
To be honest when the announcement was first made that we would be quarantined for a month, I seriously thought the time would drag on. I am used to traveling and being extremely busy. What was I going to do with all of this time? I have literally been stunned at how quickly the days go by. Before I know it, another week has passed. I don’t want to waste this time. I want to make the most of the time and opportunity God has given me to make new memories. I realize for some educators the experience is quite different. Many of you are working long hours trying to navigate the new landscape of educating children online. Whatever our situation, memories are being created. While some memories are made for us, we have a chance to create new memories of our own—ones that may change us forever.
I had a friend recently ask me, “Ten years from now, what do you hope you will look back on this time and remember?” I couldn’t answer it at the time, and she didn’t press me. I have thought a great deal about this question since then, and if I were asked the same question today, I would respond, “We have a choice.” By that I mean this—we can choose to take an active role in making memories, or we can be passive and take our chances with what comes our way. In my opinion the latter is not an option.
I have come to the conclusion that what we choose to think about, dwell upon, and pursue during this time will shape our memories. I recently read the following statement: “Today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.” We get to shape those moments that will determine our memories. As I think about our current situation, I know there is a great deal of fear, frustration, and uncertainty. Will we fall victim to these type of memories, or will we make different memories—ones of faith, obedience, and assurance?
Faith or Fear? What would it look like to choose faith over fear? Maybe it is speaking hope into the lives of those we teach or remaining calm when a friend is anxious. Maybe it is memorizing Scripture or praying instead of worrying. Choosing faith over fear invites God into our circumstance. When God becomes part of our memories, we are changed.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Choosing faith over fear isn’t easy. It involves moment-by-moment decisions to trust God over the noise in our heads. However, when we do, we make memories worth remembering!
Obedience or Frustration? These two might seem like unlikely counterparts, but I know when I become frustrated, obedience is the last thing on my mind. Frustration causes us to become self-absorbed and overwhelmed by our situation. Our thoughts go into a tailspin, creating all kinds of unhealthy scenarios in our minds.
God’s Word tells us to stay in control of our thoughts by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6). The only way we can truly discern God’s perfect will in times like these is to renew our mind (i.e., to pray and meditate on God’s word-Romans 12:2). If we don’t do this, God’s voice will be drowned out by the world’s negativity and paranoia. Responding to and obeying God’s voice during times of trial takes courage. What is God asking you to do during this pandemic?
· Is He calling you to reach out to a particular student or colleague?
· Is He challenging you to share the gospel with someone else?
· Is He asking you to volunteer with a ministry?
Whatever it is, be obedient. Make a memory. We never know how God will use our obedience to further His kingdom work.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25
When your circumstance becomes frustrating (and it will), stop and ask God how He wants you to respond. When we are obedient to God’s word, frustration dissipates and wonderful memories are made.
Assurance or Uncertainty? Our brains are wired for emotion. This is why we remember the “highs” and the “lows” whether we want to or not. When I look back at some of my family’s most challenging years, the memories of God’s provision come flooding back. Over and over again, God has been faithful.
· In times of distress, someone would happen to show up to pray with us.
· In times of need, a check would appear in the mail; we just “happened” to overpay a bill.
· In times of waiting, a solution would be found, one we could never have imagined.
Time and again, God has provided. This has given us an assurance in times of uncertainty. We know this time will be no different. We will wait. We will trust. We will not doubt. God, in all His sovereignty, will make the memories for us. In fact, He has already started.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. I Chronicles 29:11-12
I speculate many of us will point to this time as being a turning point in our lives—a time when something changed. Let’s join God in creating memories worth remembering.