Recently, my family went to the beach for our annual vacation. It seems like one of the few things not markedly different during this season of COVID. We play at the beach, cook our meals, and stay at the house without interacting with others. One afternoon, I was sitting on the oceans edge in a chair watching my family play in the waves. The sun was shining on my face. The sky before me was blue. The breeze was perfect. It was glorious. I could close my eyes and just rest in the beauty of the moment. I was having a hard time enjoying the moment, though. There were clouds off in the distance...dark, ominous, rain clouds. They looked like they were coming our way. I just couldn’t seem to keep my focus off of the dark clouds. I would close my eyes and breathe in the breeze...and then peek out to see the rain clouds. I said out loud, “I can’t seem to enjoy the blue skies because of the gray clouds over there”.
I felt the Holy Spirit say, “You are doing that in all of life. Don’t let the potential storms off in the distance prevent you from enjoying where I have you right now.“
The funny thing about that day at the beach...the storm never came our way. I traded my emotional energy, enjoyment, fun memories, and relaxation for nothing.
There are many storms out there, what ifs, and dark clouds looming in the distance during this COVID season.. I cannot get wrapped up in worry or focus on unknown things that I cannot control. This shift in focus steals my joy in the moment.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” seems to be what the Lord is teaching me. I need to enjoy the moments I have with gratitude and face the storms as they actually arise. I need to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. In Philippians 4:6-8, this encouragement to focus on what is true ( actually happening) is mixed amid practical instructions about God’s peace. His peace can guard my heart and mind when I am praying, thankful, and keeping my eyes and thoughts on what is excellent and praiseworthy, instead of the what-ifs in the distance."