The Scriptures are filled with commands for us to listen, both to God and to others. And yet we often refuse to obey this command, choosing to be consumed only in our own narrative.
As we arrive at this new season with the stability of a paycheck, a house payment and a family of three, it seems we are no longer “in the waiting”. In the world’s eyes, we’ve finally arrived. This is “the moment we’ve been waiting for”, or so we are told.
Maybe helping raise my sister and I kept her young. Or maybe I was just afraid of losing her. But I always told her she wasn't allowed to call herself old until she turned 80. That was the rule. Now that she's reached that milestone, I realize that the number 80 doesn't just represent her "old" age. It represents her legacy. She has spent the last 80 years living lessons, and I've spent my lifetime learning them.
I keep seeing these social media posts that talk about resting and spending more time with loved ones and spending time “being”. While this may be an opportunity for some, it can’t be generalized to everyone. Health care workers are working insane hours, as well as employees at restaurants trying to adapt to take out and grocery stores using safe practices. For me as a senior in college, this time of life has not proven to be slower.
With breaking news every hour, we can choose to be defined by this world's uncontrollable circumstances, or we can choose to be intentional about the things we can control. Here are a few things I've identified for our little family...
I recently asked a couple of high school girls at my church what they'd most want women of all ages to understand about what their generation faces; they paused to think, and then they started talking. The list came...and it kept coming. The key takeaway was that no matter what others were encouraging them to do, it always came with some level of pressure.
All the headlines say it was an empowering female-led halftime show, but there is more to the story. Yes. Women were the ones filling the stage. Yes. The Latina vocals were heard booming over the field. But women didn’t lead. We followed.
Social media was first intended to be a way in which communication with friends, business promotion, and the sharing of ideas could be easy, accessible, and helpful. While this may still be somewhat true, with the introduction of Instagram and other image-focused platforms, we can see a shifting of the purpose of social media. We are no longer mostly interested in connecting with others, but we are literally creating an image of ourselves to be consumed by others.
So next time life gives you lemons, don’t try to make lemonade in your own strength. And on the contrary, don’t sit by and expect the lemonade to make itself. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Seek God’s direction and open your mind to His blessings.
I find advent as a gentle reminder of where to put my hope: in a small baby who would one day cover all of my sins to save me from them. A simple season of anticipation of what’s to come - in my own life and for the world. A time to reflect on what God has done in my life and hope and pray for what He will do. Advent may be my new favorite season of the Christian calendar.