At 50 years old, I outsourced my yard. 25+ years of doing my own yard, spending my weekends doing it, etc. and at 50, I just said “I’ve had enough”.  So, I hired a man to take it on and he’s done a far better job than I ever could have. He’s a professional and knows what he’s doing. There’s no shame in this for me. I fought the good fight and knew it was time to hang up my cleats and move on to other things that I enjoy like hunting.

But in this Covid shutdown craziness we’re living in, I noticed it was taking a real toll on me. How about you? How are you doing in this? I’m starting to hear from more of you and the answer is “not so well”.  Let’s think about this for a minute – back in the fall, we spent a lot of time talking about technology and social media and just how destructive it was for us. That the iPhone, as great as it is, has served the purpose of accelerating our lives, speeding them up and making us “on call” 24/7 to our world. It is not good for your soul. We asked the question (and it is more relevant today than ever), “What are you doing to care for your soul?” The care of your soul is 100% up to you – no one on the outside is going to prioritize your soul. It is between you and the Holy Spirit.

And then … Covid. Covid has been a DISASTER for the human soul. Isolation is terrible for us, we’re made for Tribe and community and Covid has driven us into isolation. Suicides are way up, marriages are breaking up at a record pace and demand for depression/anxiety meds are way up. We know that and we know the cost. Just look at Manschool. How long has it been? When will we ever be able to get back to normal Manschool? How bad do we miss it? This pandemic is wreaking havoc on the world.

And remember … we said “A storm is coming …” (please see these slides back from February https://manliveup.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/clear-eyes-17-wake-up-2.pdf)

Note – if you want to dig deeper, click on the tag “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts” and you can access all the posts on this topic especially those since January. But in isolation and working from home, perhaps you go back to the Fall and pick up this series and read through those posts.

Back to technology – Covid is a genetically modified super killer bug perfectly designed to push us even further into technology. “Zoom calls”? None of us had ever been on one or probably even heard of them in late 2019 but here we are. Isolation? Drives us further into our iPhones. It drives us further into social media. It pushes further into our respective camps of either Fox News or MSNBC. Liberal or Conservative. Love Trump or Hate Trump.

Do you see what the enemy, the foul one is doing here? He is dividing with the hope of conquering.

And all of this is the fuel for the social upheaval and racial tensions we are now living with. The dried wood was sitting there, the gas was being poured on it … all we needed was a trigger. And … BOOM. Pushing all of us into isolation, pushing us all into dependency on social media and 24/7 news, separating us from even a hug from a friend or even being able to see a smile on someone’s face behind their mask is, quite simply, destroying us.

If … we let it.

And so, my yard. We’ve spent a lot of time on our back porch this summer. It is where we watch church on Sunday and relax with the dogs or play with our grand kids. It’s where we do life these days. For a few weeks, I kept looking at this spot in my yard where big gardenia bushes had started to fade into their final days. 15 years and they were just fading. I kept getting this nudge to do something about it. The Spirit was telling me to create something.

On the long and very hot July 4th weekend, I decided to act upon the nudge and set out to extract those dug in bushes from the ground. Several trips to Tomar and Lowe’s. Plans formulated in my mind. My yard needed some color and I needed to seize mastery over a little plot of land and I needed to create. God put in us the drive to create. It is holy. Man invents, man creates and it is God’s design and His plan as we discover this world He created.

I think it pushed 100 degrees that Saturday but I spent about 8 hours out in the blazing South Georgia heated swinging an ax and digging those bushes out…

I was worn out by the end of the day and only 1/2 way through the project. Sunday, I hit it again. Soaking wet and covered in dirt, it was a good tired and the job was finished and some color came to my yard…

It is finished…

Is it perfect? No. It simply does not matter. This is the product of isolation, frustration, a bit of anger, and some visioning. More importantly, it is the product of disengaging from media and responding to the nudging of the Spirit. It is listening to my Father and responding to His call. He had something for me in this – some purpose in the creating. I don’t take any pride in this and could care less what anyone else thinks of it – it was something … for me, from the Father.

How are you in this environment? What are you doing to keep your sanity, to hear the Father, to create, to dream, to exert, to push boundaries? Let me hear from you and I’ll pass along what I hear in another post.

When we said, “A storm is coming”, could you have imagined then what all would happen in just 6 months? A pandemic? 20+ million Americans unemployed? Mandatory “shelter in place” orders? All of us wearing masks? No baseball? Perhaps no SEC football? Spewing hatred all over social media and the news? Race wars? Statues being torn down? Tear gas across the street from the White House? I could keep going but all of this in just 6 months.

There is an enormous shaking going on in our world. Soul care is more important today than any other time I can remember. Never before have we faced so much turmoil and your soul pays the price if you’re not daily fighting for the space where your soul can be refueled by the Father. Guys, you’re going to have to fight for all of this.

So, back to my question, what are you doing to care for your soul?

6 thoughts on “create…

  1. I have been hearing a lot about how frustrating this season has been, but for me it has been good. I am an essential employee and have actually gotten busier at work than ever before. You see, I sell tractor, heavy equipment, and road equipment parts. The restrictions on road work have been completely released because of less traffic on the roads. People with tractors and machines are at home “piddling” with them and needing parts. The quarries and mines have not slowed up a bit. What has slowed down has been all the “extras” in my life. Going out with friends. Working out. Travelling. Even making a day of going to church and family days. All of that has stopped. I have LOTS of time to spend time with God, my wife and those closest to me without the social expectations and distractions. I have found that I (personally) had filled my life with too many unnecessary relationships. People pleasing. I’m not saying relationships are unimportant because we were created for relationship, but too many “clingy” or restrictive relationships (even those we think we are in to “help” the other person) can be damaging. Most people have dreaded this quarantine because of the restrictions placed on them. God has freed me from my social life of people pleasing because of these restrictions. Praise Him for his wisdom and provision.

    • fabulous comment. Amen. Yes, i heard a podcast this am talking about how we’re made for villages – that we’re not made for more than 100-150 relationships. Anything more than that and it is counter productive. Thus, facebook and 1000+ “friends” and keeping up with all them … doesn’t work. Same with people pleasing, too many clingy relationships, etc. I too have found freedom from that. It is OK to let them go. Ideally, we have 10-15 core relationships and invest heavily in those. That’s our circle. That 200th person or 500th person outside isn’t my responsibility – he falls within someone else’s core 10-15 circle. very freeing. Well done Jeremy. Well done.

  2. I think you’re on point. I’m finding with myself and others that making/creating has helped alot of folks. Yardwork, gardening, woodworking, metal work, painting, cooking, grilling, science experiments…all of these things are mind-engaging instead of mind-numbing; they are real vs. virtual. What can you really “make/create” behind a computer or phone?! Following nudges from the Holy Spirit is essential. Since I’ve starting mountain biking again and we’ve recently moved onto 5 acres, I’ve had a nudge to create a mountain bike trail of my own throughout my property!

  3. All the Covid issues and I’m not gonna get political here, are driving me nuts and it’s not just the media I see the truth everywhere I walk. I frankly think we’re being lied to. But that’s enough that. I can no longer function without community without corporate community without actually being in church the church that has no fear. A church that’s willing to understand that people have to be responsible for their own risks and themselves a church that doesn’t force everybody to wear a mask a church that doesn’t have people setting a little groups way way apart. Oh it is sad, my heart is very heavy. Confession, I have actually begun to entertain finding a new church where I can continue with corporate worship. I distain online church, shallow and unfulfilling. It is such a rip off of my soul.
    Thoughts from a hurting man ..

  4. Yes! Yard projects have been a good investment of time and energy for me as well. Did a french drain covered by a decorative gravel walk. We also put in a raised-bed garden . . . we ate some of the cucumbers this past weekend! I concur – working with our hands and creating something is therapeutic and replenishing for the soul. It also reflects the creative nature of our Creator God and can be an opportunity for communion with Him as we toil!

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