To live is Christ.
In some of my lower moments over the past few weeks, I find myself using humor to ward off the sting of grief and loneliness by singing Leann Rimes old song, “How Do I Live Without You”. I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss work, I miss my boys’ preschool, I miss church… I miss normal.
As the weeks have gone on and another element of security and comfort has been stripped, I am angry for no reason, and yet sometimes I am completely at ease and surprisingly content. My mind swirls with so many questions, scrambling for answers and trying to organize new categories for how to live life well. Maybe you have, too. Before all of this we at least had a template for it: go to church, invest in your family, be in a small group, hang out with friends, be financially responsible, etc.
In some way or another, all of those extra-curriculars brought me some life. And they are supposed to! They are God-ordained ways to honor and glorify Him. But for now, all or some are out of our reach…and that is out of our control. After the initial whirlwind of change, my question is this, Where do I find life when the good things that used to fill my cup are gone? Or you could ask it this way: How do I find purpose in all of this?
It hit me the other day like a welcomed ton of bricks, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) In any circumstance we can truly live because to live is Christ. We don’t have to be afraid of dying and we get to fully live because we have Christ.
Philippians 2:1-4 describes what we receive from a relationship with God in Christ: encouragement, comfort, fellowship, affection and empathy…who else needs a little of all that these days? This slow-paced life has revealed that I have rested on other things instead of simply knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phil. 3:7-8). He continues in verse 4 to describe how Jesus lived: with humility, obedience to the Father, and service to others. To live as Christ is to live like Christ and to glorify him no matter where we find ourselves!
The good news is this: we have everything we need in Christ to live our lives with a full cup under any circumstances; we just have to know Him. After letting Christ’s life sink in a bit, my self-absorption over the past couple of weeks dissolved. I started seeing my family differently, my neighbors differently, creatively reached out to friends, and enjoyed my Facetime chats a little more.
My prayer is that we can thrive during this season because we have found the same treasure as Paul describes in Philippians 4:10, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Practical tips to THRIVE
Be in God’s Word
- John 6:63- “…the Words I have spoken to you, they are full of Spirit and life.”
- Read the book of Philippians for encouragement and purpose
- Read the Psalms in doubt and fear
Be in prayer and fellowship with God (Phil. 4:7-8)
Ask God how he would have you imitate Christ in humble obedience. Ask, “What would you have me do during this time to love and serve others?”
- Ideas: actively engage neighbors, send cards to people you miss, be intentional with your family members, or check in on someone with a phone call
- These things may seem small but if you are on the receiving end, it is huge
Be faithful where you can be faithful (1 Thes. 5:12-23)
- Practice rejoicing in the Lord
- Submit your anxieties to God
- Seek holy actions and a pure heart
- Take care of yourself and others by maintaining social distance, exercising, and eating healthy