I finally understand what Usher meant when he said “It’s been fifty-eleven days, um-teen hours” in his song burn.
This period of lockdown has felt at times like forever. For me time has gone quick on a day to day basis, but when I look at how long has gone it feels like it’s not been that long at all.
What I’ve realised in this period of time is that how I see lockdown will determine what I get out of it. I have worked out that lockdown isn’t an event, neither is it a season of time we are in, but it is a mindset. Although physically I may be restricted, mentally there are countless possibilities that are before me. But these possibilities are always governed by my mindset and how I think.
The writer of proverbs said “ as a man thinks so is he”. Henry Ford the founder of the automobile company ford said “ if you think you can or you can’t, you are probably right”. There are people in the world today who have never been locked up in prison or restricted physically are more locked down mentally than people who are in prison. Lockdown is not a location, it is a mindset and attitude.
I have seen that for the first month of lockdown, I loved it, i made the most of it, I grew and did things I had always wanted to do. Simply because I made a decision from early on that I wanted to leave the lockdown period BETTER. I wanted to be a better version of myself after. I then found a period of time after that where I wasn’t as motivated, lockdown began to affect me negatively as I felt like I couldn’t do or achieve everything I wanted to.
What galvanised me and allowed me to get back to a place of productivity was another intentional mindset shift. In this period of time to now I made a decision that I can’t do everything, but I can do one thing. So I chose to complete one thing a day. Whether that was working out, reading, cooking, I found that I began to believe in myself and what I had committed to again when I wasn’t failing at what I was setting out to do. It was a mindset shift needed. Yes we are being told physically we cannot do so many things, but mentally we still have access to so much. When we choose to accept lockdown for our minds, we choose to give power to the circumstance. Power comes from accepting responsibility. As long as it is someone else’s fault for my current situation or circumstance, I defer my power to change it. But when I accept responsibility I receive power to change it.
Many years ago I heard a message at a youth conference that has never left me, by a man called John Cameron. His message was simply titled, “I am responsible”. What would our lives look like if we took responsibility for what is ours to take responsibility for? I humbly suggest to you that it would look a lot different. Responsibility means I have the ability to respond accordingly to a situation. The truth is, sometimes we don’t want to respond accordingly. Sometimes we don’t want to do the right thing, because we are tired, hurt, offended and so much more.
The challenge for every single one of us is this. Whatever we choose to not process in our emotions regarding situations and circumstances, past, present and future, our unprocessed emotions will be the breeding ground for future deference of responsibility in our life. Meaning, what I fail to process in my emotions will be used as justification for me not taking responsibility for my actions. This isn’t a new thing, it is a human thing. As we look throughout history, many of the conflicts we read about and hear on a personal or global level is often if not always to do with unprocessed emotion regarding a situation.
As we come out of lockdown, you do not want to reenter the world holding onto unprocessed emotions. Why when you have the time and space now to process? Taking responsibility lies with me and you having to face painful things, but it also is the space where healing takes place. Don’t just go through the motions with the time we have left of this lockdown. At the end of this lockdown, some of us will be confronted with the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth that a lack of responsibility and not a lack of time or opportunity is our problem in moving forward in our lives. Choose to be stronger than your strongest excuse. The world needs you to be better after lockdown.
Love peace and chicken wings