Life’s difficulties can hit us hard, even knock us down. For those things that are out of our control (job loss, pandemic, grief), it can make us feel hopeless. We don’t know how to get back up. We don’t know what to do, and we become overwhelmed by it all. What now? How do I adjust? After my job loss last November, I had this recurring dream. I was lying on my back, floating on a queen-sized inflatable raft in the ocean in the middle of the night. The endless black water, my lack of swimming skills and my fear of open spaces left me immobilized. Three months into being unemployed, my real life matched this dream. I was not getting much momentum in my job search and was overwhelmed with feelings of rejection, anger, questioning what I had done to make this happen, worrying about how long my money would last versus how long it would take to get a job, etc. Life became so heavy, I could not move.
In a quiet moment, with no music, no tv, no phone notifications interrupting my thoughts, the words of my Sister Love echoed. Stay centered. In the motion of my swing chair, my mind and my heart engaged in a debate. How do I stay centered, when life is so turned around and upside down? I am always the strong one who encourages others, who never gives up, who keeps the faith.
A few nights later, the dream returned. Plot twist. My eyes gazed upward, the light of the stars shining so bright in the vast darkness. Here I was floating in the ocean again, yet I looked up, my eyes open to the light, refusing to let darkness drown me. Waking up from the dream, keeping my eyes lifted, I recalled the bible story about the jars of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). A grieving widow had creditors threatening to take her two sons into slavery. She could not see answers through her worries. When she asked Elisha for help, he asked what she had, then gave her instructions. Out of what she thought was nothing, came enough to pay debts, with leftovers for the widow and her sons to live on.
In times of upheaval, when you cannot see the solution clearly, when the burden of uncertainty, fear and worries weigh you down, leaving you immobile, do not give up hope. Find time to center yourself. Prepare a quiet place for yourself, whether in a dimly lit room playing soft music, taking a walk in nature or taking a bath in candlelight. Take off your shoes and stand in your bare feet feeling this sacred ground, before situating yourself in a comfortable, open position.
Bring to this space forgiveness, grace, peaceful intentions. Bring to mind people and things that lift you up, the people who love you most, how they feel about you, how you feel around the people and things you love. Take those feelings and breathe them in. No judgment–only joy, sharing, strength, peace, faith, hope, grace, love. Let each of these radiate within you. Breathe out and let go of fear, worries, mistakes, hurt. Breathe in and be embraced by the love that lifts you up. Speak of your gifts, passions, dreams. We are in unprecedented times, but you are still here, you were made for going through. Times are not any less predictable than before. There are differences, yes. BUT. Your gifts and purpose are still within you. Goals and dreams, still there. God remains the same. He is sovereign. His power is bigger than anything. Let this bring you out of the trance long enough to see the spark of light and revel in the simplicity of standing in the truth of who you are, wrapped in perfect love.