The PRE-COVID You:)

Do you ever compare yourself today to your PRE-COVID self?

This week last year, I was preaching onsite and in a room full of people (imagine that) Parkview Christian Church in Chicagoland. I was leading a marriage retreat w/ Rene Clark for the couples at Refinery Christian Church in Arizona. And I had the privilege of preaching a few nights pre-fight for Senator @MannyPacquiao and crew in Las Vegas.

All this week, last year.

It’s hard not to compare this summer to last summer in so many ways. Right!?!? And I know that we often talk about comparing ourselves to others as it has never been easier to do.

We know when we compare what we know about ourselves to what we don’t know about others … we will ALWAYS come up short.

We know that comparing ourselves to others is unwise and only leads to either pride or jealousy.

But what about the detrimental mental effect of comparing ourselves to ourselves.

I do this daily, even though I understand it’s unfair. I hold myself today up against me last year w/ Pacquiao and Parkview and Marriage Retreats.

Here is what I do.

I compare my highlight reel to a regular day.

And when I do that, I always lose. I siphon significance from the highlight and I rob joy and beauty from the gift of today.

So, here are four things I keep reminding myself during this COVID season. Maybe these will be of value as you marinate on them this weekend.

1. Give myself some grace.
I do not have to mirror this year with last year. In fact, if I get stuck in recreating last year, I will completely miss the unique opportunities and people that God has placed in front of me today. If I surrender to mentally living in the past, I will not be present in today. And this will inevitably lead to squandered opportunities and weak memories from this whole COVID season of life. So, I will choose to honor the past, without living in it!

2. Do one good thing.
If I can do one good thing today … I am doing good. I do not have to do 39 good things today. This could sound lazy, but it’s actually very freeing and energizing. I just need to focus on doing one good thing, and being thankful for that moment and opportunity. As pastor @AndyStanley says, “Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.”

3. Allow myself to be a beginner.
During this strange season I can chose to be resistant or resilient. I can choose to double down on what I’ve always done or dream forward on what might one day be. I can give myself permission to not be a pro, and learn and grow in something new. I can add new tools to my belt that will allow me to repair and even upgrade what exists and simultaneously build something exciting and new.

4. This is a base camp.
A “base camp” is where mountain climbers pause to rest, get on the right gear and acclimate to the new normal so their lungs don’t explode as they continue to climb higher. Basecamps are mandatory experiences for healthy and successful climbers. I am at a base camp. Driven extroverts and Enneagram 3’s mostly hate basecamps. But I would be wise to pause and pivot. I should become aware, informed and acclimate to the new normal. I must remain open to what’s new and what God is certainly doing during these uncertain days. I need to get on the right gear and adopt the right mindset … because I / we are going to be climbing again soon!

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