Who do I need to be in the midst of this pandemic?
Like most things right now, the answer is this – I don’t know. There’s answers I could give. There are answers I should probably give. There are expected answers.
But I wonder – are they the right answers? I don’t know.
There are some things that I am regardless of whether a pandemic is going on or now. I’m a husband and father. I’m a pastor. I’m a writer. I’m a strategist. I’m someone who loves to learn and explore. I’m someone who enjoys challenges and will deal with conflict directly.
And ultimately, I am a follower of Jesus. That’s the core of who I am.
I’m not perfect at this. Far from it. Thankfully perfection isn’t required. But that’s not an excuse though either. It’s more of a relief. Because I know that I’m going to mess things up. And yet, Jesus is there to pick me up, dust me off, and send me back in to face the world again and again.
So who am I supposed to be in the midst of pandemic? The same as always and different. I remain a follower of Jesus. And being a follower of Jesus means a few things in the midst of crisis – that there is hope and that I will proclaim it for one thing. Being a follower of Jesus in the midst of crisis also means forgiveness. People are going to say and do things that they might normally do. And I have no control over that. But forgiveness means I can let go of blame. Being a follower of Jesus means loving enemy and neighbor because they are the same in their essence. How so? Because both enemy and neighbor have the image of God within them. And as a follower of Jesus, I am called to see the image of God in all others.
So what else am I called to be in this time? A calm presence. In times of anxiety, a calm presence can set a tone for others to follow. I’m called to communicate. Communicate hope and grace and vision. I’m called to communicate the Good News. I’m called to communicate hard and unpleasant truths that others may not want to deal with. I’m called to listen, to identify what people are going though. I’m called to rest. Yes, rest. I am not the savior. I am not called to fix everyone or really anyone by running myself ragged.
Which leads to who I am not called to be. I am not called to be the one who convinces anyone of anything. I am not called to be the one who argues with anyone who is convinced they are right. I am not called to put up with everything. I am not called to accommodate everyone’s wants. I am not called to fulfill everyone’s expectations. I am not called to do things alone.
That is who I am and who I am not in the midst of pandemic. Who are you?