Lock-Ups-and-Downs

How are you really feeling in your lockdown life?

In the three weeks since lockdown started, we’ve all done our best to ‘look on the bright side’, ‘keep our chin up’ and ‘stay positive’. I wrote a rousing blog called My Seven Choices going into Lockdown and another one called How to Stay Joyful During Lockdown. All excellent advice—I meant every word.

We’ve joined online exercise classes, church services and prayer meetings and give thanks daily for modern technology. We send each other motivational quotes, jokes and victorious stories, all meant to boost our moods should they even dare to waver. We remind ourselves that ‘do not fear’ appears so often in the bible that we could cover a whole year and not read the same verse. Fear, we are told, is the opposite of faith, and all we have to do is stand strong.

But I want to ask you something. How are you really doing? How do you truly feel when you’re lying in the dark, the phone is silent and it’s just you and your own thoughts?

Lockdown confessions: how I’m really feeling

I asked myself this question and what I uncovered is not as ‘pretty’ as what I’ve been projecting.

I feel afraid. I fear this pandemic—what it will do to our country and economy and what it could steal from me and my children. And then I feel like a failure that my faith is not stronger than my fear.

I feel frustrated. I like people and I’m missing them. Screen-time just doesn’t do it for me. I want to share a coffee with someone, look them in the eyes and laugh wholeheartedly with them. I miss being together in church. I love singing—hundreds of voices rising with my own, moving me into an attitude of worship. That’s gone now and every Sunday I feel a little ‘flat’ after the on-line service. Hearing others saying how meaningful it is for them, just makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.

I feel useless. There are people doing wonderful things out there—running feeding schemes, setting up homeless shelters, making masks for police-officers, teaching pupils online. I’m stuck at home, producing meals for three, trying to keep my plants alive and my underwear clean.

I feel bored. I’ve read posts by those saying they simply can’t understand how anyone can be bored at this time because they have so much to do. Then I feel not only bored, but irritated. The external things that gave my day structure—that made a Monday, a Monday and a Friday, a Friday—are gone. Every day looks the same and I struggle with the monotony of this new reality.

That’s just a little of what I’m feeling and I’m (mostly) not ashamed to admit it because I think it’s important to acknowledge our true feelings. Suppressing them is not good for us and projecting a false sense of bravado is definitely not good for others.

Should Christians have ‘negative’ feelings?

I’ll be honest (because I’m on a roll, right?) even posting this blog makes me feel a little anxious. As a Christian I’m meant to be sending out an uplifting message of hope and inspiration. But here’s the thing: I believe that is what I’m doing. Telling you to look into your heart, uncover your true feelings and then share them honestly—with others, but more importantly with God—is I believe, something Jesus would have encouraged for two reasons:

Honesty is the foundation of relationship

Firstly, he knows our hearts anyway, and honesty and vulnerability should be at the core of our relationship with him. We should be able to bring him not only our positive thoughts, but also our negative ones.

Jesus expressed deep emotions

Secondly, Jesus was someone who felt deeply and was not afraid to show his emotions. He can relate to our feelings and comfort us through them.

“The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed his tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell.” (Orthodoxy, G.K Chesterton)

 

Let’s follow Jesus’ example and be honest about how we feel. Let’s stop constantly pretending we’re okay if we’re not. Cry if you want to cry. Throw some things around (maybe something small, preferably not the furniture). Allow yourself to feel what you feel and not be afraid to share your emotions with others. And let’s allow others to feel what they feel too and support them as best we can. Keep it real, friends, as we head into two more weeks of lockdown and an uncertain future with covid-19.

Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay

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8 Comments

  1. Marion Theessen

    Hi Joan you couldn’t have put in better words. It brought a smile to my face. Is does seem forever. I know our Lord is with me but difficult being strong and positive. Every day I ask him to help me keep my joy and Faith strong. I am Blessed to be with family and focus on that. We need to pray for all the world. Thank you take care xx

  2. Lovely blog Joan. Some days I really feel like my whole world has been upended, and I get really cranky being stalked by my family all day (apparently I am the centre and circumference of their being :-)), and I think just being honest and facing those moments when one is just being a bit vulnerable, a bit human is ok. I balance such times by seeking something to be grateful for every day, and sometimes its a real struggle finding just 1 thing to be grateful for, but persistence always brings at least one ray of gratitude peeping out and that usually chases the clouds away.

    • Stalked–ha ha! Only my dog is stalking me, fortunately. You must have smiled at the ‘making masks for the police’, that being YOU, of course! You’re handling this with your usual dignity, sense of humour and inner strength.

  3. Jenny Teichert

    Thanks Joan! I really appreciate you sharing and can relate to the things that you are missing; I love your reminder to be honest with our feelings. The Lord knows them already, so why do we so often try to hide them from Him? It’s actually so freeing when we do and then we can allow Him to work His perfect work in and through us. Much love and peace to you and your family

  4. Joanie Vander Horst

    Honestly- I go in waves. Most of the time I’m ok. But mornings (oddly) seem to be hardest – when I drink my morning coffee, check my work emails, & Sadie (my cat) climbs all over me- I get emotional at not being with anyone. I look back at the last hug with a human I had & wish I relished it just a bit more. Wish I would have held on to it for just a minute longer. I miss my kids. They don’t call as often as I would like lol – boys!! I know they care, but they are busy, all working (yikes- as essential workers) which is why they are separated from me. I have underlying health conditions. I worry about them a lot because I think they don’t take this as seriously as they should. I worry about my parents & know they worry about me. I have great communication with my folks & sisters. Grateful for text & phone conversations. I worry about my sweetheart. Haven’t seen him either – he’s a patrol officer so also still working. Thankful that he’s also a daily phone & text contact. So – overall – extremely grateful for technology that helps me still feel connected to the outside world. Grateful for snuggles with my cat. While I hope things get back to something resembling normal, I hope it doesn’t happen before it’s truly safe to. I imagine I will be terrified to go out when it does!

    • Thanks for sharing Joanie. I think being alone adds an extra level of difficulty, for sure. Nicole is also alone and working at a hospital, so I’m also pretty anxious about her. Thank goodness for our cats!!!

  5. Yvonne GELDENHUYS

    All so true.missing you. Can’t wait for normal coffee dates to be restored!

  6. What do I feel? I feel as if I am loosing part of my life. Just when things were going well again. Although I don’t really get bored (hope it doesn’t irritate you), my days seem to be all the same. I don’t mind that. I try a routine and that works best for me. As soon as I let it ‘slip’, my day doesn’t feel right. I also worry what the world will look like in the ‘new normal’. Even now, although we are allowed to go out for shopping, I am relieved to be home again. So what will it be like? It is like opening a door and peeping what is outside and then closing it again, too afraid to try to take up our lives again. There are still unfinished things we were going to do. But sometimes I think, those are not important anymore. Will there be a time again with no Corona around anymore, as before? Or will we still be afraid for a long time to come. I was just thinking, being ‘housebound’ in the village and doing my daily walk, I got to know my neighbours (from a distance of course) and made friends with quite a number of people. Such irony!

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