I feel awkward and perhaps a little ashamed to write about things I have learned these past few months with our country being in such upheaval with the death of multiple blacks Americans. Not to mention that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic that has changed the shape of 2020 and our lives entirely. Yet I have to write, it’s the only way I know how to best process all the swirling thoughts and ongoing ideas that keep me up at night. It calms my mind and connects me back to myself, and most importantly, it connects me to God.
I spent the first part of this season working and attending school when COVID-19 showed up and ruined a perfectly good start to 2020. Needless to say, there’s a lot to unpack but I will try my best.
1. I will never love a chai tea this much again.
Since the global pandemic, many of my favorite places to eat or grab a beverage closed. Yet this little brilliant doughnut and chai tea shop didn’t let COVID-19 stop them. Though Pip’s Original Doughnuts had to stop making their tasty little doughnuts, they then began to bottle and sell their famous chai. I can’t tell you enough how much these little bottles, of which I currently have 5 in my fridge, have kept me sane over the past months.
Favorite flavors: Heart of Gold, Smokey Robinson, and Emmylou.
2. Lent is not just about fasting but about justice.
I felt strongly that this Lenten season needed to be about justice. The scripture that God kept bringing to mind was Isaiah 58:6, “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”. Seems even more fitting these days but I see now that God was preparing my heart to enter into the fray of injustice.
3. You can make new friends as an adult, even over Zoom during a global pandemic.
My husband and I had just begun to connect to a new church community when the Stay-At-Home mandate was rolled out. We were happy to see that our new community quickly engaged with moving our Sunday services to online and did a great job communicating through all of the transition. However, our community also hosted “Happy Hour” for the adults a couple of times in which we actually made friends which we later met at a park for a social distance date!
4. CSA’s and meat subscriptions boxes are life savers
5. I need a little Rachel Hollis these days.
To be honest, I have struggled with some of Rachel Hollis’s content theologically (I can do a deep dive into this later) however, I picked up her Start Today Planner at Target on a whim during one of my many get-me-out-of-this-house shopping sprees and have been enjoying it. It keeps me on track and continues to remind me that my goals are worth fighting for.
6. Boundaries around social media is necessary for my mental health
The constant chatter and content on social media makes me anxious. Along with the pressure of creating content and the fear of it being swallowed up by the immensity of it all simply throws me into a tailspin of anxiety, making me feel self-conscience. When do I post? What should I post? Who is following me? Who unfollowed me? Like, comments and tags, oh my! It’s exhausting and I need a break. I need multiple breaks to remind myself that my content exists inside me not on Instagram. I need breaks to remember that I have readers to serve and not followers to gain.
7. Taco Tuesday is as grounding as meditation.
When we found ourselves eating every single meal in the house, my meal planning strategy had to be turned up like 10,000 notches! Yet I can breath a sigh of relief every Tuesday knowing I got a plan. No matter what the variation, we are having tacos! It’s easy, cheap and predictable. Something I think we all need these days.
8. Speaking of meditation, I need it.
Mindfulness practices, spiritual practices, meditations, I need it all and I have constantly failed in keeping a regular practice during a time when I know that I need it most. I am still learning this one. Favorite new podcast on this: Eternal Current. Sign of the Cross is one I have done a few times to begin my morning.
9. Counseling feels unnecessary until you’re in it.
I started this year with a new counselor and expected our sessions to last only a couple months. Well it’s been four months and there’s no sign of ending anytime soon. I can’t tell you how many times I show up for counseling feeling I have very little to say and walk away with puffy, red eyes. It’s good. It’s hard. And my heart needs it in this season.
10. I only feel behind when I look around.
They say comparison is the thief of joy, I say it is the thief of achievement. When I am running in my lane, at my pace, I feel excited about what is ahead. But when I start looking around and seeing where everyone else is at, and what everyone else is doing, I slow down. I lose sight of my goal because I am too busy watching someone else reach theirs. I need to stop comparing myself and start celebrating the inches and milestones that I am crossing. It all counts, girl. It all counts.