By Gabrielle Alberg
Our world has been thrown into an unprecedented crisis.
I think we all entered 2020 with high hopes: the start of a new decade, an important election year, the return of the olympics. I certainly had plenty of plans as I entered Bible school as a freshman; I had plans of travel, plans to see family over the summer, and plans to begin a new chapter as I moved out for good this time. As with most of us, my plans crumbled within a matter of days as our nation responded to the threat of COVID-19. I was sent home by my university, lost a mission trip, came to terms with the likelihood of not seeing much of my family or my boyfriend, and struggled to find a job.
All of us have lost. My losses are less significant than many others, but we’ve all watched plans fall apart, a sense of security crumble, and grappled with this new normal. The response of our culture as a whole has been dramatic, with everything from panic to protesting. I think this clearly shows the amount of stress the people of our nation have experienced.
However, I feel this crisis is an opportunity to gain much more than we’ve lost.
One of the messages my school left me with as students returned home was to rise above the fear and panic, and as leaders, be voices of calm and peace. What kind of message do we leave with those around us? Leaders don’t have to be loud, well known, or celebrated. Good leaders at their core are simply attentive and aware of those around them. Rather than feed protests or panic, this is an opportunity to show love like never before, supporting those harder hit. An opportunity to be people of peace and reason, comforting those who have lost much and are fearful for their very lives. All it takes is being aware of the sufferings of those around us.
As we continue to face stresses and unknowns, trying to find a way to recover and heal, let’s remain flexible.
Mandates will change, many of us head back to work while others are asked to stay home a little while longer, so extend grace to those in authority doing their best and to people who are responding out of the pressure they’ve unexpectedly found themselves in. We should also extend grace and flexibility to ourselves. As leaders, it’s ok to not be ok, it’s human to have experienced anxiety or frustration, and it's completely acceptable to ask for help. I know I have found myself in dark places, despite my best efforts to stay positive. The key is to not allow these emotions to rule us, and in the midst of it all, to remember what matters most.
There’s a God who sees, people who care, and a light at the end of the tunnel. By His grace, we will make it through, and we will be stronger for it. This is our gain in the midst of loss: finding peace when most thought it was gone, responding with compassion while our instinct is to fearfully fall into self-preservation, and recognizing the frailty of life while also seeing the beauty in the gift that it is.
Gabrielle Alberg just finished her freshman year in Bible school, where she pursues her calling of making Jesus known in the nations. She loves writing, painting, and music, and strives to leave messages of hope and encouragement through her creative works. Lately, she has been discovering the beauty in simplicity and quiet, which has been a hard-learned lesson and a far cry from the busyness she is accustomed to. Sometimes the fewer words she speaks, the more she hears; so right now, she is learning to listen so that one day she will actually have something to say.