Finding Direction in A National Lockdown

How easily the currents of change and uncertainty sweep us away.  That is, if we are not securely anchored. This morning, day four of lockdown in South Africa, I reflected back over the past two weeks.  From the beginning, when we were first asked by the president to practice social distancing, I said that I wanted to enter into this season well. I defined that as trusting God and doing what I need to do each day.  Simple enough, and yet as I reflected, I felt a sense of frustration, as though time were somehow slipping away from me.

Where had I gone wrong?  I wasn’t trying to escape from isolation through hours of social media, and I didn’t try to drown my anxieties in a flood of binge watching on netflix.  On the other hand, my wife and I had been taking time each day to connect as we walked around our yard and prayed. We had also had some good family time, playing games, watching a movie and just hanging out around meals.  All good things. All part of what I feel this time is about for us as a family.  

So what’s the problem?  This morning, God reminded me of a passage that I had discovered almost a year ago while on a personal retreat.  I am chosen, delighted in and led by God. God also reminded me that His purposes do not change. Even when the World seems to be in chaos, God is redeeming for Himself a people restored to His image, revealing and representing Him in the world.  That will never change.  

As people involved in vocational ministry, we can get so wrapped up in the daily tasks of our vocation that we forget how our identity and our purpose actually fit into God’s mission.  Then, when circumstances change, we get swept away and no longer know where to focus. In reality, our identity and our purpose will never change. God created each one of us as individuals with personality, gifts, talents and experiences that shape us to fit uniquely into His work.  We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ, to do good works that He has prepared for us to walk into (Eph 2:10). So, in a season like this, what I do in a day might change, but my potential to be used by God in meaningful and fulfilling ways never will. Knowing that motivates and inspires me to think and pray seriously about what I do.  It also helps me to regain my focus. I don’t need to look for ways to keep busy. I need to look at how I can best make my unique self available to God in this unique situation.  

Here is a glimpse of what that process looks like for me:  

So, I exist to stoke the flames of spiritual transformation in the lives of leaders and communities.  I do that by coming alongside leaders, as a mentor, as a spiritual director, and as a companion on the journey.  I also do that by offering resources. Two realities strike me in this season of lockdown. 1) I have time to write and develop resources like never before and 2) There are leaders who desperately need a companion in this age of uncertainty.  This is where my uniqueness intersects the reality of God’s work around me. Therefore, I need to dedicate time to writing, and I need to open my virtual doors both to the leaders that I know and to those whom I have not yet met. (If you are a leader or know one, please check out my website cftg.life) I have thoughts about what that last part might look like, but the end results rest in God’s hands.  I am His instrument. He will use me if I make myself available.  

Published by Mark Harris

Mark currently serves with East Mountain (www.eastmountain.tv) in Cape Town South Africa. He has a passion for helping leaders and communities experience intimacy with Christ and transformation through spiritual formation. He is also a certified spiritual director (www.cftg.life). Mark is Married to Marcie and has 2 sons, Dylan and Caleb.

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