Weekly Lifelines 1/20/2022

Jesus asked the crowds, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your
span of life?”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been unwittingly testing that question. And I can
confidently say: The answer is no.

Upon my fifth refresh of the covid information page this morning, I realized that
maybe, just maybe, I was giving that information more of my attention than it
actually deserves. Don’t get me wrong—it’s important to know about what’s
happening in the world. But past a certain point that drive to be informed actually
leads a person away from health.

Last week, I watched with quiet alarm as the new case numbers climbed seemingly
straight up. I wondered how to keep people safe, how to balance safety and
connectedness at St. Luke’s. In light of all the bad news, our leadership and I
decided to move to online-only worship for the next few weeks, until this surge
passes by. The decision was made, but I kept checking—multiple times a day, even.
Watching things get worse and wishing, hoping, willing the numbers to drop so we
could get back to church-as-usual.

The problem? I can’t actually change those numbers. Like gasoline prices or the
temperature, I can only react as they move. Dwelling on those figures serves to
heighten my anxiety and sense of powerlessness. Because, for all the energy I
dump into it, I cannot by worrying subtract even a single hour from the pandemic.

So I’m taking a step back for the moment. I’ll check the numbers once a day, in
order to can stay informed and help make good decisions for St. Luke’s. But past
that, I’m going to let go and let God, as they say. I’ll continue to act responsibly as I
strive to remember that I’m not in control of the pandemic. Instead of pouring
energy into worry, I’ll redirect it toward people and things I care about and can
affect.

If you are anxious, I hope you’ll take this as permission to let go of what you cannot control. As Jesus said, “Don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and
foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well.”

That is very good news, indeed.

Yours in Christ,
Justin

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