Over the past few months in counseling and conversations, I’ve increasingly noticed a perplexing issue.
Many people aren’t quite sure what to think about the world around them, and many feel overwhelmed even trying to decide how they should be feeling and acting in response to all that has transpired over the past six months.
Should we be sad, mad, or feel guilty? What is our role in stopping a pandemic gone viral, an election gone vile, and culture wars gone wild? Should we be protesting more, distancing more, speaking up more, or saving more? How does a wise person respond to the difficulties that seem to be pouring in like unrelenting waves?
Many of us know that the current course is not sustainable, but we also doubt our ability to do any good or to know how God might want us to respond.
In moments of uncertainty, it is critical to remember your priorities. You can’t save the world, you only have one vote, and each of us only has 24 hours a day. However, keeping in mind what is most important helps us navigate a world of uncertainty wisely. We have to learn to avoid distractions if we are going to be effective in the days ahead.
Paul, says it profoundly in Philippians 3:12-16: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (ESV)
First Priority: Your Faith
The most important choice you can make during this crazy season is to pursue God with your whole heart. In a world that wants us to care more about issues around us, than the state of our own soul, we need to remember that we can do nothing of eternal consequence without “faith.” In our world that seems so broken, our faith can make us whole.
It can feel selfish when the world seems to be burning around us to take time to worship and pursue our faith, but a strong faith gives you the courage to face the world with love and truth. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break from changing the world to spend time with God, God’s word, and God’s people. Rest is not weakness.
Second Priority: Your Family
As a counselor, I have the opportunity to talk with people about moments in life they often regret: perhaps an ugly argument, a lapse in judgment, a moral boundary crossed. However, as painful as those situations are to recover, one of the greatest regrets I have found is from those who have allowed their family to fracture.
You can change your friends, church, or job, but you can’t change who God gave you as your family. Don’t feel guilt about choosing to prioritize your family during this season of life. Your family is a gift from God, even when it’s far from perfect.
Third Priority: Your Focus
How has God called you to make a difference with your life? This season is full of distractions and fears about worst care scenarios. We are told that we should care about all sorts of issues and get involved with many of them. We can easily see the lives of extraordinary “achievers” and feel a sense of regret. Instead, we can trust that God is content with the ordinary, day-by-day faithfulness He is calling us to.
You don’t need to be involved in every issue that pulls for your heart and attention, and you don’t need to feel guilty when you are choosing everyday faithful living.
It’s ok to feel mad or sad when you see the fallenness of a broken world around you. Don’t curse the world or yourself. Choose to be a person who presses on to pursue your faith, prioritize your family, and place your focus on the day that God has brought to you.
Saying yes to these priorities does mean saying no to other important things, but you don’t need to feel guilty. We can be certain that these priorities matter and are worth pursuing.