Sometimes I forget the big picture. It takes me a few seasons to remember and to learn my patterns and the patterns of others.

This has been the pattern around here lately: rain, warm, rain, cold, flood, sickness, rain, a little snow, warm, cold, rain, sick and repeat. That’s what’s up on this end. Er’body is struggling to bring their best selves, and we are all like porcupines in a box “loving” on each other.

When I remember the big picture that a lot of people are affected by the weather whether that means Seasonal Affective Disorder, Autoimmune disease, inflammation, or over all crotchitiness (the word counts, alright), then I can live with a bit more grace toward others and understanding toward my attitudes. We have not seen the big fire in the sky for awhile, and our vitamin D is suffering which affects how we process life. Our defenses are down and we are more sensitive. We can easily want to quit all the things right now and hole up and/or lash out like a bear, but that is not wise.

Big Picture living reminds me that this feeling of drowning in darkness WILL pass. Spring WILL come bringing new life, but what do we do with the life we have right now?

The phrase keeps getting whispered to my spirit is “show up.” Keep in mind, this is not a “show up” and wow people will my rendition of the Super Bowl halftime show in the game of life. No, this is a press into the next thing for the day in order to be present. Oftentimes it is a conscious effort and discussion I have within myself. “jen, everything in you is telling you to run and to hide, but let’s do the next thing. The next thing is pressing into the world of laundry you have in front of you, the appointment you committed to or the phone call you have been avoiding, etc.” I can easily get overwhelmed with all that I am not doing and flailing in, and the invitation to “show up” is simply taking dominion over the next thing.

When looking around my house, I can easily have an ongoing conversation that tells me that I am failing and leads me to despair. A “show up” moment means making a dent in ONE area to press in. We often look with all or nothing eyes, and we then give up. The small things in which we show up remind us that we can keep going and contributing.

Like all good lessons in life, this points to the bigger picture of Now and Eternity. As a believer, I have been rescued from my sin and am forgiven and free in Jesus, but I still feel the affects of sin in my life and in those around me. I know that one day I will be completely free. This is what we call the “already and not yet.” I dare say we can live with amnesia of what is to come because what we see in front of us can look very bleak–sickness, depression, conflict, hatred. We can be tempted to encamp ourselves with like minded and safe people to weather the storm just like the bear hibernating.

However, The Lord makes it quite clear in His letter to us that we are to “show up” even when it looks bleak. We are to “show up” in relationships, in rescuing others, in caring for others, in spurring one another on in love and good deeds. We are to live lives that point to the “already” while feeling the sharp jabs of the “not yet.”

In reality, we have to choose to remember this truth that we are rescued to rescue others. Showing up in this is found in small decisions each day including “showing up” in fellowship with the Lord and asking Him for help and seeking His truth. This involves taking a look into our lives to see what corner of our heart needs to be pushed into as we deal with others. It is remembering the truth of the Gospel toward ourselves–that there is no condemnation for those who are In Christ Jesus. Our time and energy is not to be spent proving anything to Him. He then asks us to love others as He has loved us in grace, and He helps us to do that unnatural thing.

“Showing up” is not about a stage, platform, job or a title. It is being present in the here and now to be responsive to the next thing. That next thing might be wiping a bottom of your child or your parent. That next thing might be conquering the bills to see the reality of your heart with money. That next thing could be calling the person that has hurt you the most to begin to connect again. That next thing could be taking a meal to a forgotten senior adult in your life. That next thing could be taking your blinders off and beginning a hard conversation in your marriage. All I encourage us to do is to press in to ask the question “where do I show up today?”

The more we practice “showing up,” the more alive and brave and gritty we get. In a world that feels like the walking dead, we need more alive, brave and gritty people to walk alongside…

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