Well here we are again, and as I write this I am sipping a glass of wine (oh how delightful) and my gratitude jar has a new piece of paper in that says: "a new level'. I started it at the beginning of lockdown to shift my focus from what I didn't have to what I did and what I could be grateful for - and it's filled up quite a bit in the last 278694232 days!
It got me thinking! My Godson used to watch a show called Kazoops (mom's out there maybe you know). Now although I didn't necessarily sit and watch with all the time - there is a line out of Kazoops that will always ring in my ears. Monty would say to his pet pig Jimmy Jones (stay with me here): "Just imagine". And out of that, there would be a burst of song (kind of like in a musical but not exactly) and a change in scene and their imagination would take over. There is something extraordinary about children's imaginations. They can play for hours by just using their imagination - something we tend to lose as adults. While I was off on my own LaLa Land - I felt God say that it was time to RE-imagine!
So, in the words of Monty meets Tales by Kels: "you, reading this - just RE-IMAGINE!"
To re-imagine means:"to imagine again or anew". To imagine a new and different way. I feel like that is what the future holds. New and different. Where 2020 has drawn out so much in us as individuals, communities and countries and made us super uncomfortable - there is a beautiful opportunity for us to re-imagine.
One of the things that I have spent lockdown re-imagining is my Sabbath - yes old school word but just go with it. I read a lot about sabbath in the bible and through numerous teachings. But I can honestly say that on and off attempts in the last four years have not always been successful in keeping the sabbath. Making time for rest and being with God, stopping & worshipping. (If you are not sure what sabbath is - checkout more here). It's weird how you can try something and give up quickly when it seems to have no immediate results (Millennials am I right?). But at the beginning of Lockdown I read a book by John Mark Comer called the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Now just to give credit where credit is due - my best friend kept telling me how much I needed to read this book. They (her and her family) had modelled sabbath in a beautiful way to us, their community, and I could tell that there was something different to it. Side note: I am so unbelievably grateful for my community - and if you don't have a community - let me know - I'll be your community!
Just as lockdown hit, a friend gave me her hard copy (yes deep down I am old and hate reading on a screen!) and I couldn't have been more excited to start reading it. It is an incredible book and will challenge you in the best way. God began to shift something within me. Where I had been somewhat scared and unsure before - He began to speak to my tired soul. And I started trying it out - properly. I committed to it. And I began to re-imagine what sabbath is and what it could be.
And now - to be honest - I love it! I have started to embrace parts of being single that I used to despise. I love my Saturday morning sleep in - until my body wakes up - it is glorious and I no longer feel guilty for it. I have learnt to let my inner Martha - the doer - find her place at the feet of Jesus. To mourn, to rejoice, to laugh, to cry, to vent, to sit in silence, to BE. To allow God to speak into the good, bad and just plain ugly parts of my life and myself. And in it I have found this sense freedom that I haven't experienced before. I watch a movie most Saturday sabbaths with popcorn and smarties - something silly that I love. I connect with my community and then I switch off my phone and have began to embrace the disconnect. It has changed my life and become a rhythm I want to keep fighting for.
But it took some re-imagining from my side. I had to find my new and different sabbath. Alone. I had to re-imagine what it is to sabbath - and embrace it for it all it could be and not for what it failed to be. I changed my perspective and posture towards it - now a posture of worship and gratitude.
It is already so much better than I imagined!
So a rather long way round - to encourage you, friend, to re-imagine the way forward. The new and the different. The future for all it could be and not for what it fails to be. And maybe for some of you - it is time to imagine again - like you did before you lost hope and felt discouraged!
You can do this!