It’s difficult not to want to use fear or worry to motivate people to care about what you care about. We see it all the time on the news and we share those posts on our social media feeds.
When I posted and shared “part one” of our shutdown stories yesterday, I really did want people to know about and consider what it would be like if THEY THEMSELVES had to change where they shopped or rely upon the generosity of others for basic necessities like food.
What I did not intend was for people to feel sorry for us.
It’s frustrating and difficult to be in our position, but we’re not destitute; at least right now. And our families would move money and resources to care for and help us tend to our needs, so we really will be “good” in the event that this ordeal continues for several more months. It will be challenging, but we have a path marked out for us.
The thing that I am wrestling with is feeling like people really care.
Let me explain.
A friend sent us a list of resources in the Metroplex for furloughed government employees (click here) and so we went and checked out Romano’s Macaroni Grill. We were warmly greeted and sat immediately. No need for menus as the offer was pretty clear – spaghetti and meatballs (which was so yummy and plentiful that we have leftovers). Halfway through our meal, another woman came in by herself.
She sat behind us and we got to chatting after I heard her ask if they’d had many other federal employees come in to take advantage of their generosity. We struck up a conversation and learned that she works for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She’s an essential employee working from home with the lightest load they can possibly carry while focusing on only their “high profile clients”.
Think about that. There are restaurants, grocers, and other food and drug places that are not being given the required regulation and production attention because of this shutdown. I want people to think about it. Or at least feel like they’re thinking about it. Without freaking about it.
Which is what we’re constantly trying not to do around here. I won’t lie. We worry about this knowing what the Bible says about it. We struggle with it. We sometimes complain and point fingers at the screen when watching snippets of the news. We cheer one another up when the other is down and sometimes we watch a healthy dose of Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and laugh and giggle our way through this mess. (You can laugh or cry about it, right?)
Our struggle is not to go do down the rabbit hole trying to predict how long it’s going to take, how many repercussions are coming, what the long term implications of all of this may be. Often times before sharing other non-shutdown related things on social media, I wring my hands and rub my forehead because all I want to do is scream our frustrations into the boxes. I wag my finger at the Facebook prompt “What’s on your mind?” with sass and irritation because I know that sharing EXACTLY what’s on my mind at that moment will do no good in having a conversation or sharing my heart.
I really just long to have people understand that this is really a sucky situation and that it’s hard feeling like pawns in it all. I want people to feel what it feels like, how it stings. How much effort goes into reminding oneself that this situation is not bigger than God, nor has He been surprised by it.
I get it. What everyone wrestles with.
Whenever life is happening, and we remember how out of control we truly are, we reach out for help in the form of people understanding our situation. We move into wanting to fix or command the chaos back under an umbrella of understanding we can stomach and explain.
And in this situation, we just can’t. And sometimes, that just feels overwhelming.
Here is where we must dedicate intentional time to prayer. We’re at the place where our prayers and petitions to God for provision, peace, and resolution NEED to outweigh the questions, arguments, and points we feel compelled to make. And I don’t care what people pray for, I just want people to really pray.
For prayer warriors to pray for the leadership and lawmakers of our country to heed God’s loving direction. For us as a people to try harder to look across our differences to the things that make us better together. For us to pray about what God may be using this shutdown to do/show us in our individual lives (bank accounts, schedules, relationships) whether directly impacted or not.
Here a few verses about the importance (and power) of prayer:
James 1:6-7 | Psalm 51:16-17 | Proverbs 15:29 | Matthew 7:7-11
In the meantime, we will continue to take advantage of the free resources, kind gifts, and donations that are offered and are especially eager to receive the prayer covering of the faithful. In the end, what other choice do we have? It’s a hard position to be in, but much more difficult for those attempting to do it without people who know them and a relationship with God who supplies all of our needs.