How are we all feeling today? I've found it really fascinating recently to pay attention to my own thoughts and feelings during the pandemic. In all honesty, I wish I had kept a diary. By nature, I tend to be more of a reflective personality, but even more so during lockdowns and increased restrictions.
I don't know about you, but I seem to be constantly moving around a mixture of emotions and responses; sadness, ambivalence, worry, frustration, impatience, boredom, enthusiasm, inspiration, hopelessness, hopefulness, acceptance, defiance, confusion etc. etc. These feelings seem to change on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis with no real resolution. Ultimately, it all feels a bit like being stuck in a very long queue where I'm not entirely sure what I will find at the end of it.
If you feel the same, be reassured that you are not alone. It is just a bit rubbish at the moment.
The interesting thing has been in becoming my own psychoanalyst. By that I mean capturing hold of my own thoughts and feelings and asking myself where that thought or feeling is coming from. For example, if I feel worried, what exactly is it that I am worried about? Trying to pin down the feeling and attempting to answer the why has been really helpful to me and I offer it to you as a way of managing some of those more tricky feelings.
In Paul's 2nd letter to the Corinthians (chapter 10) he is in a different kind of oppressive situation and he uses this wonderful phrase "taking captive every thought". I suspect that he had something slightly different in mind to our current battles but I do think that there is something potentially life giving in that approach. Taking captive our thoughts is not about feeling bad about the way we feel but it might help us (and our relationships with others to try to capture them).
When we feel strongly in a particular way, pausing to ask the question, "what is going on for me right now?" and then offering that to God in prayer might be a really helpful and healthy way forward. Equally, when we are on the receiving end of the emotions of someone else, pausing to ask the question, "what is potentially going on for that person right now?" and then quietly praying for that person might help them but also help us to respond to them in a better way. This is not to excuse every rant or rude word that is directed at us (or comes from us!) but simply that we recognise that what's going on might say more about how they (or we) are coping rather than it being about us (or them). Being compassionate and understanding towards ourselves and others is perhaps another thing that we can add to that list of essential activities.
However you are feeling today, may you know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.