Today, it hit me.
The fear. The severity. The heaviness.
The deep desire to pretend it’s not real combined with the ever-present reminders of its impact.
The frustration of talking about it in most conversations, but also not knowing how to not talk about it. Then, there’s the isolation and loneliness. And don’t get me started on the awkwardness that is a Zoom meeting.
I think It goes without saying that life is strange right now. My heart is breaking for people who are directly affected by this illness and those who have lost jobs and are struggling to provide for their families. It’s breaking for those who are dealing with the effects of this global pandemic as well as unrelated, yet devastating hardships like the loss of a friend or family member. My heart breaks for the bride who is canceling the day she’s looked forward to her whole life, and the college senior who won’t walk across that stage in May.
I like to write about solutions when I find them. Only this time, I don’t have a solution. I haven’t crafted a 10-step blog post to surviving a global pandemic. I don’t even really have advice. Like everyone else, I’m still figuring it out. I know that some days I feel like a Quarantine Queen, plowing through to-do lists, making time for fun, and even squeezing in some vegetables and water. I know that other days feel gloomy, suffocating, and heavy.
I don’t know it all, but here’s what I do know:
I am not in control of my life. This past January, I got to ring in the new year in Time’s Square, of all places. If you know me, you know that I have always been a sucker for the start of a new year. I live for making goals, plans, and dreams of what’s to come. This year was no different. I made a lot of plans. I made plans to see concerts, plans for friends to fly into town for the weekend, plans to have a new job lined up within the first few months of 2020. All of which didn’t happen. Standing in Time’s Square dreaming of the new year with thousands of strangers, I can’t imagine anyone planned for a highly contagious virus to shut down the world for a few months. The cancelling of plans, redirecting of paths, and lack of direction is painful. It quite literally feels like the world is spinning off its axis. Nothing feels secure anymore, but I'm reminded that my plans never were secure. It feels as if we lost control over our lives, but in reality, I never had control of it in the first place. It's a difficult and humbling thing to realize, but gosh, it takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it? We don't have to understand. We don't have to have it figured out. Thankfully, we aren't the ones driving this plane. We never were.
It’s ok to not be ok. This is something I’ve had to preach to myself for quite some time, but especially in recent months. In full transparency, I am one who struggles to be vulnerable about how I’m really doing, in fear of letting others see my more painful, negative emotions. I genuinely believe that people will be uncomfortable or disappointed in me if I am anything but “living the dream!” I recognize how crazy this is, but it’s true. He keeps reminding me to cast my cares on Him, who cares for me. I’m also learning that there’s a time for mourning, grieving, and sadness. If you’re experiencing any of that during this strange season, you’re not alone, and you have every right to feel what you’re feeling. It’s a really common theme, especially in Christian circles, to “get out there and smell the roses!” and simply “choose joy.” This has been my mantra for as long as I can remember, but according to scripture, joy and sorrow can coexist. We know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4). Suffering is actually necessary in order to produce endurance, and without endurance, there would be no hope. I don’t think God intended us to fake it til we make it when we experience trials. We are given the green light to suffer, mourn, and grieve. In fact, it’s necessary in order for perseverance to be created in us.
I wanted to add a third nugget of truth here because three seems like a good number, but truth be told, I don’t have a third. Right now, all I have is “I’m not in control” and “it’s ok to not be ok.” I believe God is still working on point #3 and He’s going to keep revealing points 4, 5, 6, and so on. Until then, I’ll keep living in this moment. Not tomorrow and not “when all this is over...” but right now.
I don’t know what He’s doing, but He’s teaching me to trust even when I can’t see. He’s bringing me back to the basics of dwelling in his presence. In the past few weeks, I painted for fun and actually bought real groceries and cooked them. I have had time to check-in with people I care about and time to tackle projects I’ve been avoiding for months. I drink my coffee a little slower in the mornings because I can. And frankly, somedays it’s the highlight of my day. And you know? I think that might just be OK.
McKenna Best is a Carolina girl currently residing in the Instagram influencer capital of the world. She believes in Jesus, dancing in the kitchen, and slow mornings. McKenna is an assistant youth director and spends her afternoons working with middle schoolers in West Nashville. In her free time, you can find her eating Chipotle, making an excessive amount of Spotify playlists, writing in a coffee shop, watching The Office, or spontaneously buying a plane ticket somewhere. She is passionate about equipping youth to unlock their potential and be all that God has called them to be, whether that be through teaching Bible lessons, or writing articles for a variety of online platforms