Good morning and welcome to Making Space Mondays. Today we face a crisis that many of us never thought we would experience in our lifetime.  Sickness, disease, yes, but a pandemic (definition- prevalent over a whole country or world) probably not.  In an article on the story of influenza, I learned that in the late 19th century, influenza had twice reached pandemic proportions. Since then, we have gained experience due to the influenza outbreaks in 1918, 1957, and 1968. However the world is more vulnerable to a pandemic than in 1918 when the pace of global travel was considerably less.

And here we are in 2020, in the midst of the Coronavirus with a big learning curve and the disease rapidly spreading.

Most of the talk in Christian circles is centered around not fearing which is very true reminding us that we must not be overwhelmed or overcome by fear. However I want to suggest that we flip the conversation to being overwhelmed with God’s sufficiency, His love and His peace.

The definition of overwhelm is bury or drown beneath a huge mass. 

Some of us feel like that right now. Schools closing, churches moving to online services— all necessary to help prevent this deadly virus. It does feel overwhelming as we watch the news updates and the virus continues to march strongly into our communities.

But what if…

What if… we flip the definition of being overwhelmed by fear to being overwhelmed by God? What would that look like? If the definition of overwhelm is bury or drown beneath a huge mass, what if we allow God to submerge us in His perfect love which according to Scripture casts out fear? All of this sounds good on paper, but let’s get practical and look at the how is this done.

Here are some steps to overthrowing the stress of being overwhelmed with life and take on the peace of God:

  • Spend time in prayer, journaling, reflecting on what God is saying to you. Do this at the top of your day.
  • Take time to invest in things that you enjoy doing. Go for a walk, read, etc.
  • Invest in relationships.
  • Be intentional in changing the rhythm of your life from over committed to simply committed.

During this crisis you may find yourself in isolation joining others in helping to keep the virus contained. Use this time to take stock and evaluate your life. Organize your thoughts, your home, your work space.

In so doing you are making space– more space for God; for His thoughts, His rhythm, His ways. 

God turns all things around for good. This season of unusual stress may be a time for unusual re positioning of your life so that in the end, you will find peace that Jesus describes which is beyond all understanding.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. (Matthew 11:28-30)

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  • Barbara Boone
    Reply

    I do believe that one of God’s purposes in this time of isolation is to draw us nearer to himself. Yes, to be overwhelmed by Him and not by the things of the world that are happening around us. This is an opportunity that we should not miss –an opportunity to spend time with Jesus when nothing else is calling us. As you said, Joanne, a time for repositioning and a wonderful time to make space for God in our lives. This is some of the good that He is bringing to us through this very frightening situation. Thanks, Joanne, for encouraging us as many are battling fear. Your words bring a new, fresh perspective on life in these times. Very comforting! Barbara

    • joanneellison
      Reply

      Appreciate your encouragement Barbara. I believe as Christians the Lord is calling us to join hands both in prayer and solidarity to help people draw near to God. Jesus is still on the throne. We are just being repositioned to remember that. Overwhelmed with you by His love!

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