Happy Easter, everyone! While I know Easter may mean different things to you, this season is particularly important to me and my faith. So, I wanted to spend a bit of time on the blog to reflect on the last year in pandemic and the Christian books/music that have meant a lot to me during this crazy and unpredictable time.
When betrayal stings…
Last fall was particularly rough for me with regards to lack of community and betrayal of trust I thought I had in people I’ve known for many years. That’s right, not person but people. Needless to say, it was emotionally rough going at times especially when the anger was easier to hold onto than the depths of pain.
Lysa TerKeurst’s latest book was just coming out when everything came to its implosive event. And I remembered laughing that the title dealt with forgiveness. Of the sort that speaks of great pain where you just wanna hold onto the righteous anger and indignation because those people were in the wrong and I deserved an apology. Forgiving what I cannot forget.
Of course, most of those people sadly didn’t see what they did to me (and my family) as wrong so I could be holding my breath for an apology to ever come. So how do I deal with the anger and hurt? I could let it fester inside me, hurting only me, while those people go on living their lives like nothing happened. All smiles on their Instagram photos. The occasional interaction with me like we were back to the Before.
It wasn’t fair. But I can choose to move on from the pain because forgiveness ≠ reconciliation in every situation. It’s the letting go of the mess inside me so that this event doesn’t define me and continually haunt me forever.
That’s what I learned in this book. And it’s a continual journey but I’m ever grateful this precious book came into my life at the perfect moment. Thank God for that.
When motivations fall…
At the beginning of the pandemic lockdown where all over the world countries were slowing down and people were at home, one month into working full time at home, I just felt so unproductive. I was already struggling prior to this with regards to what I was doing. My day job is in public health research (I know, very useful in pandemic times eh?) but sometimes I wished to be more on the forefront of helping people instead of so far removed in the upstream process of prevention.
I thought about switching careers sometimes. A fleeting thought to go back to school for something else. And it wasn’t that I didn’t like what I did. I really did, but I was restless. I felt like I could do more. I felt like an impostor half the time among physicians, scientists and other people with many letters after their names. Who was I among them?
Then with remote work in effect for a while, I felt a bit afloat in April. What work was I doing? And what good is it doing when my actual educational degree is in epidemiology (which the whole world now knows what the word means when previously my own parents couldn’t even describe it to other people)?
Then I remembered I had this book in my shelf. Every Good Endeavor. What a title. And what a timely reminder that all our work is important. I am doing the work God has meant for me. At this time. At this place. It might not always look glamorous. Or even feel like I’m doing something. But that doesn’t mean I’m not. And it gave me a new perspective about work in general as a fairly recent graduate who’s been a student all her life.
If you’re feeling unproductive or unsure of what work the future holds for you, especially at a time when education or work is remote/off-site, please take a look into Tim Keller’s book. His writing always makes me think long after I closed the pages.
When doubt lingers…
Of course, this wouldn’t be an Easter recommendation without some Lee Strobel in here. I think the doubt comes in at times when things have been going well, or things have been going in slightly crazy ways.
I have been honest here before about my anxiety (also why I appreciate books that have protagonists who also suffer some form of anxiety as well). When I am anxious – and there have been plenty of times to be anxious about this last year – I either run to faith or linger in some doubts. And my logical brain loves Lee’s kind of thinking and research because it makes so much sense to me. It may not be how every brain works so this may not be for absolutely everyone, but if you are like me, maybe the wrestling of doubts do not have to be so lonesome.
When peace alludes me…
I’ve always been a bit of an old soul. It shows in the things I read and how I speak. Having grown up with hymns, they have always given me a sense of immediate nostalgia. Carrie Underwood put out her gospel album recently, My Saviour, and I’ve been giving it a listen during work.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the modern style of music but sometimes there’s just something powerful in something stripped down of all the beats and the frills. Something raw and real. And listening to it, I can close my eyes and be transported back to the young girl I was. Before anxiety tried to overwhelm me each day. Before life became so real and hard. Before I learned certain fears.
Here, I remember what it meant to be fearless and to have faith. Here, I find a peace I lack in the noisiness of life. And if you find yourself lacking some of this too, maybe something raw and powerful will help you as it did for me.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! I appreciate it more than I can say. This post was more of an honest insight into who I am, and it’s not always easy to write things so vulnerably and without fear. These are things that personally helped me, and if in some way it helps one of you, I am more than happy to have shared parts of myself with you.
Happy Sunday, everyone! And continue to stay safe and well.