Use Your Words

I recently caught a cold/flu. Normally I would take a day or two off, take some Tylenol and head to bed knowing that in a few days I will feel better. Not in this season! In this season, it is not that easy! I analyzed my symptoms, second-guessed them, analyzed some more and then decided to go get a Covid test. My symptoms were not severe but I had several that were on the self-assessment list, so I decided that I should self-isolate and get a test.

I am a ‘7’ on the enneagram (personality typing system). Sevens are extroverted and optimistic. Their basic fear is being deprived and their basic desire is to have their needs fulfilled. Well, let me tell you, isolation was not made for 7s! Take people away from the extrovert. Deprive them of hugs from their family, and take away their choices. Then, make them wait to do anything other than sit in a room with 4 walls. Ok, 7s can also be dramatic. I had my own bathroom, and access to a TV and my phone – it wasn’t just a room with 4 walls! If you are an introvert, you are probably thinking, “sounds like paradise!”.

The first day or two felt like a normal cold/flu, as I would be in bed anyway.  A few times I heard my kids laughing and felt like I was missing out, but I was happy to be sleeping and crashed pretty hard. On day 3, I was feeling quite a bit better and started getting antsy. I didn’t need as much sleep and I was starting to ooze cheese from watching far too many Christmas Hallmark movies!  “Oh, I know what I’ll do!” I thought, “I’ll take more time to pray and read my Bible, I’ll listen to some podcasts, and maybe even get some work done”.  Great idea, right?  While it may have been a great idea, my mind was sinking.  My body was still achy so I wasn’t feeling great physically on top of feeling down in the dumps. I was emotionally sinking.

I was emotionally sinking.

Day four I was feeling better in body but was really struggling in spirit. I didn’t want to read my bible. I didn’t want to pray. All I wanted to do is play solitaire, scroll Facebook, and watch tv. I was self-numbing. I had conversations with myself about needing to be authentic. I had just written the previous article on Phillipians 4:8. “All I need to do is fix my thoughts on lovely things! I need to be truthful, encouraging, and excellent at what I do! I need to isolate with excellence!”, I thought.

Oh boy, was I failing.

Two things happened on this hard day.

First, I got an email from someone I work with. It said, “I pray you will, in the rest and stillness, hear God’s still small voice letting you know ‘I am with you…I am with you… I am with you.” This message brought tears as I needed to hear that in the worst way. I had felt so alone! Second, I talked to my husband that night. (Facetime is a wonderful thing!) I explained how I felt – that I didn’t feel like praying or doing anything that I knew was good for me. I confessed that I was struggling and felt like I wasn’t myself. His encouragement was to “sit on the basics.” He said to lean on the facts of my faith that I know are true. “God loves me. He died for me. I believe in Him. He is with me.”

Tea mug by the window

When I went to sleep that night, I leaned into these two encouragements. “I am with you” and “lean into the facts of your faith.” I prayed that God would accept me as I am and be with me. I had a great sleep and woke up refreshed.

Lean in to the facts of your faith.

My COVID test came back negative.

My isolation was short. Fighting sickness, being alone, and all of the many “feels” around this pandemic virus are big. I encourage you that if you are in isolation or feeling lonely, lean into the facts of your faith that you know to be true. Sit on the basics. Remind yourself over and over again that God is with you.

If you know of someone who is in isolation, send them words of encouragement. They can’t see you in person or feel your hugs, but they can feel your support through messages of scripture and encouraging words. Ask God for a word for them. Be Philippians 4:8 for them. They may be in a dark place where they are not able to see their way out, but you can lift them up. A few days after writing “COVID-Speak“, I ended up being the recipient of those life-giving words myself.

This is not a season for setting aside encouragement – it is a season to dig in and find the words to encourage. Words can pull people out of darkness and into the light. Use your words.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Kriston Martens

Kriston is the Director of Recruitment for Horizon College & Seminary

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