Perfect times don’t exist.
Perfect moments, maybe. Golden sunlight mixes with laughter and for a moment everything is pure bliss. Then the moment passes, as it always does and we’re back with both feet solidly on the ground as shadows and wistfulness close in.
The ground isn’t a bad place to be, but it’s not perfect. And if we expect things to be perfect for us to be happy, we’re going to have miserable lives. Just saying.
Enjoying situations even when they aren’t perfect is something I learned awhile back. 2020 has taken this, like many other things, to a whole new level.
Things like travel bans and lockdowns and not being able to see people—how are we supposed to be happy during that?
For me, it came most clearly when I had to start wearing a mask for work. Being secluded on campus in a corner of the Dominican Republic kept us sheltered from all the COVID craziness for a while, but the time came when we did have to wear masks during any interactions with students.
And let’s face it. Clear communication is a struggle for me anyway and now I was expected to do it without the aid of expressions? Give a poor INTJ a break.
But I had a choice.
I could make the best of it or I could grumble. I could have taken hours to run through reasons of why I shouldn’t have to wear a mask, or how to get out of it, or how it wouldn’t work.
I gave myself ten minutes.
All the thoughts, just once, then onto the main fact.
I had to wear a mask and I had to decide how to react.
It was a very great temptation to grumble about it. To complain to friends and generally have a bad attitude because this wasn’t my choice and I shouldn’t have to and all the rest of the things that half the Internet fights the other half of the Internet about.
Or I could accept it graciously and make the best of it. I’m supposed to be an example to the students here, after all. What does it tell them if I don’t like something so I grumble about it and try to get out of it? What does that say about my character and my view of life and the world?
Instead of dwelling on the fact that communication would be harder, I decided to make masks as a challenge to develop my verbal communication better. Instead of hating the heat, I focused on the fact that I’d enjoy things I always took for granted, such as breathing fresh air. Not to mention I’d appreciate the sacrifice others make in lines of work that do require them to wear masks all the time.
Does all this mean I now enjoy masks?
Does it mean people should accept everything that comes their way without any research and just make the best of it?
But, but we need to keep in mind that no matter what happens, we must take the positive sides and use it to grow. Sometimes we can do more about the world around us than others. Sometimes things go better than others.
Regardless, remember. God isn’t bound by the rights and wrongs of government and people. His focus is not that we all live free and peaceful lives. Sometimes we have a voice and sometimes we have options to change things. Sometimes we don’t. Either we, we can grow closer to Him. And this can be done while on an amazing camping trip, in the middle of persecution, or even while wearing masks.
Whatever is happening in your life; whatever circumstance you’re facing that’s less than ideal or downright annoying or painful, remember. God is still in control. And He has things to teach us no matter what’s going on.
So before we rail against circumstances, let’s take a breath and see what we need to learn. How can we grow? What are the opportunities hidden in the challenges?
Then focus on God, do what we can for Him now, and let Him take care of the rest.