We had our boy this weekend which meant it was legos and books and golf cart rides and running and screaming through the house all the live long day. The best kind of chaos in my humble opinion.
It also meant that I took a much needed weekend break from internet world.
Don’t worry, it was screaming at me when I woke up out of the blue at 3am. I was missing my boy. I couldn’t sleep so I scrolled through the newsfeed— more awful stories, the worst horrific tragedies, more terror, more death, so much hate.
It’s easy on mornings like today to become paralyzed by it all.
The world is dark. Sometimes it’s so hard to know what to do with this gift of today. Is it even a gift, after all?
I wanted to go back to bed but I fumbled around for my pen and paper and jotted down a list—a list of things that might help me through the day. Hope it helps you too.
1. Pray & Repent
The tendency for me is to think that ISIS is the root of all evil—that somehow the world be okay, safe even, without those monsters around. The violence and human suffering is unbearable.
Still, I know that the problem is much deeper. I know that the sin that so hopelessly corrupts them has strangled me too. Our pastor gave a wonderful sermon yesterday in which he asked us to think about all the things we had done in the past church year. I was stroking the hair of a fidgety toddler and thinking how amazing that we were able to bring the little to be baptized this year. Then the pride and the self pats on the back that always creep in when I think of my list of rights.
That’s not what Pastor was referring to. He started to list all the things I had done in the past year—he said I had gossiped and murdered and committed adultery and lied and cheated and slandered my neighbor and worshipped all sorts of false gods and looked down my nose at others in self righteousness and his list went on for longer than I was comfortable.
Then he reminded me of what Jesus had done in the past church year—how had had loved me and forgiven me and fed me and washed me and cherished me and given me every good thing.
Oh, the relief that came when I remembered that my list is not the one that counts.
There’s only one who is blameless. The rest of us need the life changing power of the blood of Jesus. You, me, them, the whole world.
2. Feast at God’s table & on his Word
You can’t do this on your own. You need God’s people and you need the food from His table. This is where He strengthens our doubting faith, this is where He makes disciples, this is where He has promised to be. We need to hear the Gospel every week because we don’t believe it. We are tormented by our sin and we need His word and His Shepherd to constantly reassure us that we are His.
3. Serve your neighbor
I’d even say start with your husband. One of my favorite ways to do this is simply to make dinner. There’s nothing more comforting when the world is falling apart than to gather your people around the table to eat a hearty bowl of soup, pray for those whose days and nights are being torn apart, and give thanks for this one precious life we have to use our gifts in service of others. I can’t stop ISIS from killing people but I can pray and I can give and I can love the ones that God has put in my path everyday. It may not seem like much but it is.
And then there’s that “friend” you hate to see coming. Maybe you avoid her at the grocery store or avoid her like the plague at a party. Stop holding a grudge against her. Forgive her sin and move on. Because you’ve been so freely forgiven of yours, it will be possible and then you can actually see her and serve her like you’ve never served her before.
The antidote to all the hate in the world is love. The perfect love of Christ in whom we have forgiveness and the promise of heaven. For now, we live in His righteousness and go out into our lives wearing His love.
4. Do what you’ve been called to do
If you’re a doctor, go to work and serve your patients. If you make jewelry and sell it on Etsy to help your family’s economy, make the best jewelry you can. If you wrangle toddlers all day, love on them and whisper Jesus’ name in their ears while you pick up the thousandth toy.
As for me, I’m gonna keep on making soup and raising teenagers and trying to keep up with the laundry and teaching people about wellness. I’m going to keep living out my calling to the best of my ability. And so should you. Keep on lashing out against the darkness by doing what only you can do for the people in your life. Against all odds.
5. Make Advent part of your family’s Christmas tradition this year
I’ve posted about it before and to make it easier, I’ve compiled my Advent resources in a free pdf. We follow a wonderful advent reading schedule and do a wreath lighting every night. It’s simple but it adds so much to the anticipation of Christ coming to us incarnate to make all the ugly things in the world make sense.
I can hardly wait for this Advent season as we bear witness to the Light that shatters all darkness.
His incarnation gives us courage to live our lives in the Light of His glorious love no matter what crumbles all around us.