Change the narrative
Vanessa Nakitende has recently joined Rope’s UK staff team while we are still in lockdown and working remotely. At a recent staff meeting, she shared with the team some of her thoughts on experiencing lockdown over the last few months. We were all encouraged by God’s message to us and we hope it also encourages you.
Let us hit the rewind button on 2020!
For many of us, (dare I say it for all of us?) 2020 has been a challenging year. We have all encountered this rollercoaster of life and quite frankly, we have had enough. Recently, it came to my attention that I started this year with optimism. No different to any other year, 2020 was going to be my year. I was going to excel in everything I do and take on new challenges that would just propel me to greatness. However, within the first three months of 2020 the challenges started rolling in.
The media representation of daily occurrences started to really take over as the pandemic spread. Almost overnight, our well scheduled lives were turned upside down with the instruction to stay at home; no more casual shopping or dining out and learning to queue at every supermarket with a social distance becoming the norm.
God highlighted to me the mentality which I was carrying. “2020 has been cancelled and we need to fast forward to 2021”. From the 1st of July I began wishing people a happy new year. I operated in the assumption that starting a new year would bring better days as 2020 had been a challenge financially, emotionally, spiritually even family. In every way, it seemed as though this year had just collapsed on top us like a tonne of bricks and we were helplessly trying to climb out.
Then God said “change the narrative”.
After a lot of reflection God spoke to me about how I looked at this year and how my narrative needs to change. That even though the first half of 2020 has been a real test, beyond what we consider the norm, a testimony would come out of it. Not only will it be an individual testimony, but this is one we will share as a community, nation and world. God said, “Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10. Learn to praise me during the circumstance by fixing your eyes on me and not the situation you face.
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
So, what does changing the narrative look like?
In changing the narrative, I started to focus on the good things and praise God for what he had done for me during this season. Looking at the best of this situation both for myself and others has changed the whole narrative of the past 4 months.
- Trusting God and leaning on him – More and more people have found God in this season where they have been alone, hopeless, and surrounded by uncertainty they have encountered the peace that comes from the Lord.
- Establishing God’s plans and direction for your life – This is one which has been at the centre of my mind, with all the time that I have had I was able to really realise my purpose and establish ways to fulfil it.
With this has come…
- Nurturing skills, talents, and giftings – I do not know anybody who has not channelled their inner Mary Berry during this season to make some type of banana bread or cupcakes. We all have the talents, we just did not have the time to cultivate the craft but with more time, we have achieved that and made 5* meals at home – Nigella Lawson who?
- Learning to be patient – I think we have all learnt some patience during this season. Just waiting for the Prime Minister to announce some type of easing was a family affair. We gathered to hear the changes and how they would impact us individually.
But I think most importantly for me has been…
- Slowing down and learning to hear from people – Often hearing from friends or family would be scheduled in 5-6 weeks later but, this season has enabled me to slow down and reach out to people. I have had time to know the different difficulties my friends and family were facing and how I could pray and support them.
Although we are heading into a new normal, there are some great skills we can take from this season, the testimonies of the test. We have a lesson of relying on God and praising him through the circumstance and most importantly, changing the narrative whenever a negative mind-set takes over. The challenge we have gone through is to show the glory of God. So, we can testify that God made a way – Isaiah 43:19.