The uncertainty of what is ahead only seems to increase. With some nations or states beginning a careful process of re-opening, planning for the last half of the year remains difficult. I was on a zoom call today (fighting the zoomed out syndrome as usual now) and virtually the whole time was developing contingency plans for the next months for a particular course of studies. We simply do not know what is ahead.
At the end of February I was in South Africa helping staff a Masters course orientation. As part of that time, we had a three day retreat that included times of silence and contemplation. None of us of course knew that in only two weeks, much of our calendar would be radically altered. Sometimes when you are about to face some of the greatest struggles, or the greatest uncertainties, God gives some special times to anchor in. And that is what happened to us.
Each morning we listened to a beautiful meditation called New Beginnings, included on an app called Pray-As-You-Go.org. The meditations perhaps best fit the advent season preparing for Christmas, but there was certainly a Divine orchestration going on in the timing. One of the days dealt with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, focusing on the passage from the Gospels in Luke 1:26-28.
With the meditation came several questions, and it is these questions that I want to put in this blog post. They were important to me then, and I journaled my responses to them. But with what has happened in the world since the end of February, these questions take on even deeper meaning. I would suggest that if you find them meaningful, you read them slowly, several times, and then write your responses in a journal or a device where you will not lose them.
1) What invitation are you aware of that may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone into the unknown?
Can we think of this global pandemic, even with its staggering losses in life and economy, as an invitation that takes us out of our comfort zones into the unknown? What does that look like for you? What is the specific invitation for you?
2) What requires trust so great you’d be prepared to put aside your dreams and plans for how life would unfold for you? In what area do you need to ask for the gift of trust?
We need the gift of trust in this time of unknowns and uncertainties. What area of your life do you specifically need that gift of trust right now, and in the days ahead?
3) What unexpected, perhaps even unwelcome, twists and turns may be signaling possibly new beginnings?
Just a few days after writing my response to this question in my journal, the whole world changed for me. The unexpected and even the unwelcome became the new normal, and not just for me. What do these twists and turns signal to you of a new beginning in your life?
4) Where is God empowering you and reminding you that you are not alone?
Where do you need to know that you are not alone? Where are you sensing God’s empowering for the new beginning ahead of you?
Let these questions sink in. Pay attention to what you are feeling, what your body is saying as you read them and ponder. Are you tense? Relaxed?
A new beginning is ahead.