Her name was Candy.
I couldn’t describe her if I had to. I never knew the color of her hair, the width of her smile or touch of her hand. Because she didn’t exist. Yet, every meal time for months, she sat at our table, while my three-year-old conversed with her. So convincing was our little girl’s one sided
there is something slightly disconcerting about an invisible friend who eats stolen cookies and pilfers coins from mommy’s purse
People told us it was normal, cute even, but there is something slightly disconcerting about an invisible friend who eats stolen cookies and pilfers coins from mommy’s purse.
“Candy did it,” our daughter had a habit of primly saying when caught red handed.
It was the snake for goodness sake.
She’d stand, head cocked slightly to the left, little hands clasped behind her, eyes round and innocent.
Poor Candy, she bore all the sins of an adorable little blonde girl with sparkling blue eyes without a complaint, at least I never heard any.
Our daughter’s invisible friend disappeared almost as suddenly as she appeared…which was actually never… but you get the gist.
Spiritual lethargy, an unseen presence creates all sorts of new excuses, in a shut-in, community-less, accountability-less atmosphere. It slithers under the lazy door of our Covid-worn stay-at-home sensibilities. Days have turned into months of waiting for the virus to strike or go away. It plays havoc with emotions, spirit and drive. Like an invisible grown up Candy it’s presence is hard to shake.
It is the body of Christ’s new unseen enemy, and a new normal that doesn’t belong to his church.
Easy is inviting. We adapt to it. Self-discipline requires work. We have the same twenty-four hours we’ve always had but our activities have shifted. Risks we are willing to take coincide with our physical needs and wants. Life looks different. Work has changed. Home-stay continues to evolve. Relationships are tested.
This morning as I read my Bible I had a fresh reminder.
“With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.” Psalm 119:10 (NASB)
There is a silent half-hearted-enemy in this virus.
The author of Psalm 119 shows the desperate need of an entire heart. Wholeheartedness is the antithesis of lethargy. Spiritual need must also be fed. Invisible kept-at-home-faith is too easy to hide and no one can see it slide.
Spiritual discipline needs a body of believers to strengthen and encourage. Accountability is much more visible face to face, and we are missing it. Up close and personal, flesh and blood connects more than a screen, yet we just might be getting used to Sunday mornings on the couch.
We need to get out of our pajamas, and worship in community if at all possible, even if it takes effort and even if it looks different than before.
Wholehearted seeking and wholehearted living blossoms with other believers.
Candy served her purpose as a convenient companion ready to split my daughter’s conscience and take some of the discomfort. Covid is becoming like Candy.
Risk the question, “How have these Covid days affected your walk with the Lord?” And when you have answered it honestly, ask it of someone else. The import of God’s presence in the trials of His people strengthens the entire body.
God’s doesn’t desire His people to slide into spiritual apathy while we wait for life to change. He asks wholehearted devotion to be shared not isolated. Jesus wants to revitalize what Covid has worn down.
“With all my heart…”
How’s your heart?
Jesus speaks to his children in that still small voice of an open Bible, a quiet seeking heart, and the community of believers. Engagement with the body of Christ gives a much needed kick in our spiritual pants.
Ah, yes, my friend! I have seen it in myself somewhere say 8-12 weeks in where I fought the desire just to close off and stay to myself. I had fought so hard to maintain “community” through technology but I was the only one among my closer friends living alone, without really going out and about, and I think they just could not understand where I was coming from. I almost caved, but it is not what I believe honors Him. Today I will go to church with my mask and reach out to others when some days it would be easier and maybe even wiser to stay home. But I will not be that person. I want more of Him and that means living out what I find in His Word about His family and my part in it. Thank you!
Thank you Kim. Your response really spoke to my heart. “I want more of Him and that means living out what I find in His Word about His family and my part in it.”
Thanks Kim for that! What an encouragement to me.
I haven’t heard too many others come out and articulate this, but I agree and I think it’s what we believers need to hear and be aware of. Thank you for challenging me not to slip into “spiritual apathy.” Always love your perspective, Sylvia!
Thanks so much for responding Diana. I really hesitated over this one. It’s so easy for me to blame Covid for things, when really it’s not Covid’s fault. Learning to live vibrantly with Christ in each circumstance…this is my prayer. Thanks for reading!
So true Sylvia…
I feel spiritually lethargic to share the love of Christ to others. I am also blaming / justifying my lack of love on Covid. I am just seeing how his grace is working and sustaining me even my heart is indifferent. Thank God for his mercy!
Yes. And His mercy never fails, even when Covid seems to be the fault, He gives grace to overcome. Thanks for reminding me of His mercy and grace. New every morning. Appreciate your comment so very much!
Thanks Emily! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!
What a wonderful concept to describe many of us today; “At Home Faith.” God did not command us to keep our faith to ourselves, but to share it with the world as “Ambassadors of Christ.” What a great reminder this morning. Losing my PJs this morning! 🙂
Thanks J.D. It seems spiritual lethargy is also contagious! As always appreciate your encouragement.
Thank you Jane!!
You’ve struck the proverbial nail on its disgusting proverbial head, Sylvia. Thank you. I think I’m going to read this to our church family on Sunday, some in person, others on the “tube.”
Spiritual lethargy, that makes satan so proud. Satan throws us a few obstacles ( Covid, masks, politics…) and we focus on them instead of the Father. May I guard my heart.
Thank-you for the thoughts Sylvia:)
Thank you Toni. I appreciate your comment. May we guard our hearts!
My hubby and I would dress for church….and sit it front of the computer for ‘zoom’ church. Getting dressed up helped us feel part of the
What a great idea! Something to set apart the day. Thanks Sharon. So good to have your comment!
Thank you Sylvia for this, Covid has won some days during now 5 + months of lockdown, at the same time I have sat with the Lord and when I am still He speaks, when I walk to the grocery store on my allowed time I pray behind my mask, smile at people while passing not sure if they are smiling back but I assume they are:) at the end of the day Jesus wins because He reminds me that HE is the same during this pandemic as HE was before and will after this is over:) I always look forward to your blog! thank you so much for sharing your gift 🙂
Thank you Maria! I love that you smile behind your mask at people! I do that too. Yes. Jesus wins. He is the same always. I appreciate your comment so much!
While there is value in reflecting on what is happening to us, I think we need to be careful that our so-called lethargy does not lead us back to the legalism camp. Certainly, many of us would love to return to church in person, but this virus is real. If we are immuno-compromised, we need to protect our health for as long as possible so that when this is over – we can return to serve in the community – for as long as possible.
We do need to respond with wisdom and responsibly. Thanks R.J.
Rosalie M Huxman
Our church sent out a list of vulnerable people to reach out to with notes and emails. Doing that helped stay connected with the church as we checked to see if they were watching the live stream and their notes back were also encouraging to us. It was exciting to get back to our church community when the church opened up again to reach out to the many others who were also there that Sunday. We did need that time with those of like faith to bolster our emotional needs to keep reaching out to others. Thanks for your post this week.
What a great example of the body of Christ caring for one another! Thanks Rosalie.