When The Lights Are Dim

I took this photo a few weeks ago. It was an early start to a grey day. The light was barely creeping through the blinds and just gently illuminating this aloe plant. A friend gave this plant to me to celebrate the birth of our son. I had just repotted it after 6 months as it has been growing beautifully and needed more space to dig its roots into. This plant is located in our bathroom, the room with the worst natural lighting of every room in our home, yet it is growing and it is strong and healthy.

I snapped this photo to send to my friend to show off the plant’s progress. Yet days after taking this picture the image continued running through my mind. I felt God placing his words on my heart.

In this quarantine period of all of our lives we are hidden away from one another. We are no longer gathering in church buildings surrounded by hundreds raising their hands in praise and worship. We no longer meet in one another’s homes to host small groups and Bible studies. For those who are still working as “essential workers” there is even a shadow cast over their day to day as they no longer “meet at the water cooler” or share pots of coffee during break times.

I think that in our “normal pre-pandemic” life we were submersed into so much light and with so much water, that instead of helping us really grow, it distracts us from taking notice of the actual health of our roots. And as the lights dim and the water becomes scarce we suddenly feel the areas where we are weak. It forces us to make the decision of whether we are going to work to deepen our roots to find our source of strength and if we are going to lean into the light or if we will falter.

So how are you doing? Now that the lights are dim, are you thriving? Are you surviving? Is your faith growing and your roots deepening? Or are you wilting in the absence of community and routine?

If for nothing else, this season has forced almost all of us to put our lives into perspective. Its not very often in a lifetime that we will be forced to examine ourselves and have the time to really assess our lives and mental and emotional health.

If you are struggling, you are not alone. After repotting a plant or relocating it’s position, it typically takes a turn for the worse before it begins to grow stronger. It takes a moment for it to acclimate to its new environment. The same for you and I. As we walk into this new season together, we have to find our footing. For many of us, we imagined this would be shorter lived than it has been, so when we came to the realization that this isn’t going to just go away, we found ourselves scrambling and trying to find strength in immediate but temporary fixes, such as food or entertainment. But we must come to a place where we realize that this isn’t actually going to give us the “nutrients” we need. If our source we are pulling from is limited, we will eventually wear down and burn out. Our roots will have shriveled up. But if we turn our eyes upward to the eternal and limitless God, we can be assured that in this season, we may still struggle, but we will know that it is not for nothing, and in time we will grow and eventually prosper.

Today I would like to encourage you to draw from the limitless source of hope, life, and peace. Draw closer to God and spend time allowing him to pour life and light into your moments. Commit your days to walking with him and gaining more of his perspective. Prayer and worship will build within your eyes of faith to see beyond what is directly in front of us. Turn off the noises that draw you to a place of fear and find hope in the One who equips you with faith.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

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When The Lights Are Dim