So This is the New Normal

time just flies by and now it is april. time is like sand. i try to hold on it, but it keeps slipping between my fingers.

things have changed a lot in the last few months. i know. it’s on everyone’s minds lately. the virus. the coronavirus. or COVID-19. whatever name you put to it, you can’t go a day without hearing about it (much less a few hours).

an unknown virus has changed life as we know it. everyone has been effected, whether in big or small ways. we can hope that things will go back to “normal” soon, but for now this is the new normal.

unfortunately, so many people are struggling in this time. we have people working in the medical field or working for the government or working in the food industry. there are more, like all the first responders out there. i could go on.

these people are essentially risking their lives day in and day out, some more than others. either way, there is always a possibility, always a chance that they could come into contact with the virus. they still work though, because they are needed and necessary.

then there are all the people without jobs. people who are trying to figure out how long they can survive like this. how will they take care of their families? their relatives? themselves? no one knows when things will get better. everything is up in the air.

but while many struggles are visible, there are some struggles that go unseen. those who have mental health problems. for many people, they now have to practice social distancing. they have to stay at home. if they go out, it’s only for necessities or the occasional walk…by themselves. for those who struggle mentally, i can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

(thankfully, here in taiwan we have yet to practice social distancing. we are just trying not to travel a lot or associate with too many different people. and we’re always wearing masks and washing our hands.)

and lets not forget all the plans that were cancelled. weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and more. some of these were monumental events that people only experience once, but the virus changed that.

people are stressed. worried. anxious. the list goes on. and what is God’s purpose in all of this? i’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. and honestly, i’m not sure that i’ll ever know, not until i see God. that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use this time for good.

there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. people are scared. while they have no hope, we, as Christians, do. we have hope. we may be scared, but we can act despite the fear. we know there is someone who is greater than this virus and he is in control. even if we can’t see him, he is with us. we may not know his plan, but we know that he is good.

“i pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

-romans 15:13

in this dark time, let’s be that light to others. send a text to that friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. call up that person you’ve been meaning to talk to. it can be something as simple as that. you don’t know fully what people are struggling with. you never know when something as simple as a message saying “i care. i see you.” may make all the difference in his/her life.

Christ poured out his love for us. we can definitely take the time to show that love to others. small acts of kindness really do make all the difference.

and i hope that when things do go back to “normal,” that we, as a people, won’t. we will be changed. i hope that we learn something from this time. that we appreciate the small things. that we don’t take for granted the time we have with our families and friends.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what have you been doing during this hectic time? what have you learned or taken away from this time?

Word of the Year: Invest

we are already almost in the third month of the year. i barely feel like this year has started and we are almost a quarter of the way through it.

i say all of this as i see some kind of spider or bug crawl across my screen. ugh. apparently it is not cold enough to make all the creepy crawlies go away. i really dislike all insects. i love snakes and lizards, but i can’t stand bugs.

anyways, back to the topic. i didn’t have a word for this year as the year began. i felt like i could still work on the word that i had last year (that is, trust), but i think that’s how i’ll think about every word that i have. just because a word isn’t my “word of the year” doesn’t mean that i’m not still working on that word. it only means that it is not what i’m focusing on for the year. it’s still important.

well, i racked my brain for a word that would fit this year.

i first thought of the future, one which is full of unknowns. i know that the beginning half of the year i’ll be spending in taiwan. as for the rest of the year, i have no idea of what it is going to look like. of course, do we really know what even the next hour will look like? only God truly knows.

then i thought of the past, was there something that i could see from last year that i could work on this year? last year was full of travels and change and adventures and transitions. from home to australia to the u.s. to four countries in europe to the u.s. to taiwan where i’ve been living since august. so much has happened. it’s been quite the whirlwind of a year.

and that’s where i found it. something that was lacking from my life.

last year i was so focused on what was coming. i was always looking towards the future. and that’s not a bad thing. it’s good to look forward. you can’t always be in the present. then how will you ever prepare or make plans for the future?

in the same way, you can’t be looking towards the future all the time. how will your ever be present if your eyes are turned towards the future? can you truly live if you are unable to focus on the present?

this past year i spent way too much time focused on the future. even when i was home and not traveling or anything, i didn’t really feel “there” most of the time. i spent so much time last year adrift. never present, never home. i felt somewhat lost, always scrambling or looking for the next thing.

and from personal experience, that’s not healthy. i felt out of touch with the world and the people around me.

i want to change that. i want to be present. i want to invest in the people and the community that i’m surrounded by. i want to be someone who is “there” and active in the moment.

instead of always worrying about the future, i want to enjoy the moment that i’m living in right here and now.

so whether i’m in a place for a few weeks or a few months, i want to invest. God has placed me where i am right now for a reason. i want to make the most of my time, wherever i am.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what’s your word of the year? do you struggle with being present? please, share your thoughts!