As I write this, the UK has been in lockdown for over 45 days. It's been an incredibly odd period. The schools are shut, social spaces are emptied and the streets bear striking resemblance to ghost towns. The country has come to a standstill.
In my usual introspective manner, I've put together personal musings of the things I've thought and the lessons I've learnt whilst being in lockdown.
My Lockdown Lessons
1. You're not in control
Biggest and realest lesson I learnt quickly during lockdown is that I am not in full control.
Despite the dominant narratives that teach "YOUR LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS", "YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT", "TAKE CHARGE" and "BE YOUR OWN BOSS".
Despite all of this, there are just some things I will never be in control of. How many of us had plans! Plans to be here, to do this, to enjoy that. Yet before we knew it, lock down. Everything lock arff. The biggest events were cancelled, uncertainty creeped in and we had to adjust.
In all of this, I've been reminded of the scripture that says:
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit" whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15)
We're just not that powerful. Which leads me to my second lesson...
2. You don't need to be in control
Understanding how powerless I am over certain things has taught me peace. Peace in the knowledge that I don't need to be in control at all times - because I believe in a God who is.
In this season, it's even clearer that the world is full of many uncertainties and unanswered questions. We don't wake ourselves up each morning and similarly, we may never know the day we breathe our last. Who knows for certain their plans will prosper? That they're making the right choice? This 'not knowing' is just fine.
Relinquishing the need to be in control has strengthened my faith. I don't have many answers, I don't know what tomorrow holds and I am not in full control. But I believe in a God who is. If God isn't in control then I want no part of it. No part! Because... "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain." (Psalm 127)
3. There is beauty in being still
One of my favourite scriptures reads: "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10)
Naturally I'm a very calm person so I've always felt this verse. Keep it chill and keep it pushing.
Recently however, I've understood more about the beauty in just being. The peace in allowing yourself to exist without the pressures of 'needing to' or 'having to'. Clearing your thoughts and focussing only on what is before you in that moment. Silencing the external and tuning in to your own. Experiencing first the rest in God before we go out there and conquer.
4. Memories are to be cherished
In this lockdown, I've thought less about the things I've accomplished and more about the people I've enjoyed life with.
Like - I don't miss walking on stage during my graduation, but I miss having the girls over and talking endlessly through the night. I miss the moments in life that are stored so beautifully in my camera roll. I miss hugs. Going out to eat. Sharing jokes that set the whole room on fire. Everybody laughing, enjoying, creating memories.
All of this has taught me that life is about the moments and the memories. The people in them that make it special. These are the things to cherish, not just now but always.
5. Productivity should not kill you
On the 18th of April I wrote a note to self in my journal: "You're not a robot. Productivity will not kill you." Which goes to succinctly sum up this lockdown lesson.
Now I love working hard, pursuing discipline and achieving my goals... However, at the start of lockdown I felt a subtle and unnecessary pressure to be doing the absolute most. To prove to myself that I was worthy of all this free time. To prove that I wasn't wasting my time. To prove that I was productive because I thought productivity = working. But lo, you can be productive in rest and recreation.
I've learnt that my life is not worth less or 'purposeless' because I'm not living up to what productivity looks like. Sometimes I finish my to do list way too early. I run out of creative ideas. Then what?
I've come to realise that productivity should motivate, not drain. This life I can't kill myself o.
6. Feel bored and get over it
Another note to self in my journal reads: "You're not a clown. It's not by force to be entertained 24/7." Right...
So if I asked 'who here has felt bored at least once during this lockdown?', the majority of us would raise our hands. I know I've been bored at times. Bored of WFH, bored of Netflix, bored of having to cook everyday and not going out to eat.
Boredom is a feeling and it passes, so I've learn to get over it. I've learnt to acknowledge I'm feeling bored, question why and then just let it pass. The more I accept boredom is a mere feeling, the less I feel bored. And the less I feel I must be doing something fun for fear of boredom.
As long as such boredom isn't leading to idleness and sin then we push through it. A beautiful quote I read recently said:
"I feel incredibly blessed to be dealing with boredom, and not a lack of food or water, or the loss of a loved one." - Priyanka Chopra
7. Structure preserves sanity... For me anyways
The value of routine! During lockdown I've learnt the precious value of preserving structure in my life. Especially when there's nothing ensuring I stay disciplined with my time.
As a creature of habit, it's helped me a great deal to maintain as much structure and organisation as I can in a time like this. I've learnt what works and what doesn't. I've learnt that I can be lazier when I lack structure. I've learnt I quickly lose motivation when I have no vision for the day ahead because "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).
Structure to me involves visualising and planning what I see for the day. This has helped when every day feels like everyday in lockdown.
8. Always leave room for change
Change is certain so we should anticipate and make room for it. Ultimately, being in lockdown has taught me to adapt. To be willing to accept changes, manage my reactions and make new plans to move forward. Swiftly.
Many things will continue to change but #WeMove! 🌚
Lastly, some cliché reminders...
Take each day as it comes.
Make mistakes but always keep learning.
Be patient with yourself.
Show gratitude and give thanks.
Enjoy the little things.
That's all from me, I hope you guys have enjoyed reading! Let me know your thoughts and some lessons you've learnt whilst being in lockdown.
- Faithful xoxo
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