The COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting shelter-in-place directive, has forced many of us into isolation. While I am not completely alone, my son and I tend to be loners within the same household and spend much of our days doing separate things. Everything about my personality and my work dictates that I spend a large portion of my time
in silence. And while the old proverb “silence is golden” can be great advice to follow, prolonged periods of silence and isolation can be troublesome.
Recently, I found myself drawing deeper and deeper into my own head, replaying memories that I’d long forgotten, having imagined conversations with people to whom I’ve never gotten to speak my mind. During the days of quiet contemplation, I hadn’t noticed that I had begun to drift away from God.
I’m a Jesus girl through and through. I’ll talk about Jesus, write about Jesus, sing about Jesus, and quote Jesus. So when I skipped the first live streaming of our church service, it didn’t alarm me. But the next day, I skipped morning devotions. My hearing impaired husband was watching the latest news on COVID-19 and had the volume up so high that I could hear the television upstairs.
“It’s not a good time to do devotions with that racket,” I said to myself. “I’ll do them later.”
And then later that day never came.
Or the next.
Soon, this Jesus girl had missed several days of morning devotions and prayer, and my mood had turned sour. Having everyone home meant I was out of my routine, and I began to develop an attitude. Worse, I began to feel sorry for myself. THAT’S when I knew something was wrong.
How in the world could I feel sorry for myself? I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t having to expose myself daily to the world and fret about contracting the illness. I had food. I had shelter. I had no wants. Yet, I began to get sulky and irritable, and I recognized THE DRIFT.
Immediately, I sat down to catch up on my devotions and spend some time reading the Word of God. It was like drinking a cool glass of water and only then realizing I’d been thirsty. What had I been thinking putting off my time with God? If ever I needed to be close to Him, NOW was that time.
The next day, I began painting the bathroom. For a moment, I thought about turning on some worship music but then decided I preferred silence so I just kept painting. Half way around the tub surround, a dark memory of an incident many years ago surfaced. Almost instantly, the peacefulness of painting in silence became a battle as I struggled with old wounds. I was feeling shame and embarrassment and anger as if the incident was happening all over again. I began to tell myself what a jerk I was then and attempted to stuff the pain into the back of my mind.
All of the sudden, I said aloud, “No! There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!”
At the risk of sounding unbelievable, relief from the pain of that memory was immediate. I felt absolved of that particular incident.
I think it was Maya Angelou who once said, “When you know better, you do better” or something along those lines. Back then, I didn’t know better. I didn’t know Jesus. I do now, and I know the Word of God. When the battle began in my mind, I took it captive and cast it down by declaring the passage from Romans 8:1. I knew that because of my relationship with Him, I was set free from all the garbage of the past, and nothing could come against me and take me captive to that again. It was done. Finished. Because He had finished it long ago.
Drifting away from God happens so gradually, insidiously, that we don’t realize it’s happening. This is why it’s so important to keep your daily connection to God, to not allow yourself to skimp on your time with Him. You can skip breakfast or getting dressed, or any number of things, but I don’t recommend skipping time in prayer and devotions.
Ephesians 6: 11 tells us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” I was able to recall the scripture I needed in the moment I needed it because I immerse myself in it daily. That’s how it gets in there…in our hearts and our minds…repetition. Reading and listening. Time in the Word of God is literally armoring up for whatever lies ahead that day.
During a time when so many need to suit up to keep from contracting a deadly disease, let’s not forget to suit up with the Word of God so that we are “able to withstand” those battles that happen even, or should I say especially, in the silence of our minds.