I’ve been trying to both name and tame my chronic symptoms for days now. Why does it feel as if I’m on the stove simmering on the brink of a boil? I call it the covid funk. And from what I can tell, we all have it even though our symptoms may be different.
The Stepford Wives
Do you remember the iconic psychological thriller, the Stepford Wives.
Synopsis — Joanna and her family move from NYC to the quaint little town of Stepford, Connecticut. At first she’s curiously observant and then mesmerized by the perfect, gentile behavior of the other female residents. The Stepford wives clad in dresses, lipstick and pearls, happily and compliantly go about their day cooking, cleaning and serving their husbands. Joanna, can’t shake the discord she feels. Eventually she discovers the sinister truth that the Stepford wives have been replaced with robots.
And that’s it. I’m relating to Joanna. There is a disconnect between my head and my heart. I feel constant dissonance, an inauthenticity as I take my place in line, robotically wearing a mask because I’m told I’m saving lives. And maybe I am and in case I am, I’ll wear a mask. I can see how someone else may feel disrespected or even afraid of the person who doesn’t where a mask. Perhaps the non-mask wearer has a thoughtful reason perhaps he doesn’t. My point is NOT to make the case for masks or not … rather how can we all reconcile living within this tension. And it’s certainly not limited to this example. Do I just suck it up and stay silent? Do I sleep peacefully with my head under the pillow which is only possible if I turn off my brain?
I have struggled this week. My goal with my blog has always been to glorify God by living my faith transparently day to day. That goal has not changed. The version of this article is draft # 36 at least.
Because every one of us sits atop a passionate perch with responses and arguments and the perfect view of the truth, disagreement is a given. Without intention, we have blinders on that limit our ability to see anything objectively. But this pandemic hurts my heart and I’m guessing yours too. There is fall out on both sides. The covid funk infects each of us and has the potential to be deadlier than the virus.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
In bible times people would fully appreciate this verse. They would never differentiate between the mind and the heart like we do today.
The heart is the center of who you are as a person, including the source of your wisdom, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, motivations and will. At the unveiled and most vulnerable core of your being, God stakes His claim and gives you your eternal identity.
The word ‘heart” is prolific throughout the Bible, appearing over 1000 times. Repeatedly we are warned to tend to it and care for it. We are to wonder about it’s mysteries, and to ask God to search it and to cleanse it. Given the prevalence of this guidance throughout scripture, the way I see it, heart-work is foundational for a christian.
The heart is not only the epicenter of our being, it’s also the source for what happens with every other aspect of our life! It controls our mind, our tongue, our eyes, our ears, our hands and our feet. Guarding our heart is essential and the best remedy to the covid funk.
Would you like to be cured? Perhaps it’s time to plan some elective surgery, no appointment necessary. Invite God’s words to reveal what needs tending in your heart.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Asking God’s judgment may seem risky or intimidating. But it’s mandatory for real and authentic freedom. He is gentle and good. Our Father is a skilled surgeon who wants to cut away anything that weighs us down, makes us sick, and leaves us on the stove simmering.
Come Holy Spirit
I have heeded my own advice. My elective surgery hasn’t been painless. But I see how my heart had become unruly and overgrown. With careless inattention I had allowed weeds to choke my hearts soft yet powerful center, the Holy Spirit himself.
What the Holy Spirit revealed to me may be very different from what He reveals to you.
With sincere humility I reached out to another child of God whose views are in sharp contrast to my own. I asked about her covid funk symptoms and her frustrations and her fears. I listened. Her response first shocked me, but then healed me. It wasn’t the content of what she said that gave me pause, but rather a recognition that her thoughts are no longer nameless or faceless. Instead they connect to a real person with a real story who has real fears from her real perspective. Instead of anger or frustration towards her, I felt compassion for my friend, my sister in Christ.
And for the first time, since the start of this pandemic, my head is connected to my heart.
I am not naive to the fact that dissension and divisiveness will continue to dominate our landscape, especially in this election year. No doubt, my heart will require constant tending. But just dream with me. What if each of us did the hard work proverbs 4:23 commands? What if everyone of us guarded our heart and invited the Holy Spirit’s conviction?
Maybe then… “they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke