Could This Be Your Time of Preparation?

By Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith in Leading Hearts Magazine

I PRAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE STAYING SAFE during these unprecedented times by practicing physical distancing from others, extreme hygiene measures and doing the needed self-care to keep your immune system healthy.

This past week has been one of the longest periods of “down-time” I’ve had in months. After having six speaking events postponed in March/April, I find myself looking for ways to best use this time. The two types of R.E.S.T I have needed most are social rest and spiritual rest.

SOCIAL REST

I have come to dislike the term social distancing. During times of chaos, we need those people who are calming and life-giving in our lives.

Social rest isn’t about getting away from people, rather it’s about being restored and renewed by the energy and presence of positive individuals.

You may not be able to physically meet up for a coffee date, but you can do a virtual date with a friend. Find creative ways to stay connected with others during this challenging time.

How about a virtual dinner party, play date, or small group gatherings? Invite the introverts in your life who would never feel comfortable going to a similar gathering in person.

This is a great opportunity for them to meet new people while in the comfort of their own homes.

As a board-certified internal medicine physician, I do ask that you honor the need for physical distancing to get control of this pandemic.

As your rest guide, I also ask that you honor your need to stay socially connected in a healthy and restorative way. Invite a few friends for a virtual dinner party. Schedule a weekly video meeting with your co-workers. FaceTime with elderly parents.

There is power in presence so prioritize virtual interaction which allows you to experience someone’s facial expression and body language over texting and email.

SPIRITUAL REST

The COVID-19 outbreak peaked in the US during the Jewish time of Purim, a season specifically related to the Book of Esther. While revisiting this portion of Scripture I was deeply moved by the following passage.

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14 ESV)

Many people are afraid and anxious right now. People are going to bed only to toss and turn due to the fear gripping their hearts. There is an incredible opportunity for believers to share their testimonies and stories of redemption, courage, valor and perseverance. We can’t keep quiet about the good news.

I believe there are many who, like Esther, Isaac and Joseph will find that this time of difficulty is a time God will use to prepare them for the greater calling on their life.

Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve it. Perhaps you even feel unworthy or disqualified. If that’s you, I get it. I used to feel the same way. But now I’m here to tell you those feelings have been lying to you.

You have found favor with the King. Consider this set-apart time as your part of the beautification process Holy Spirit is using to make you ready for what’s to come. Esther underwent a similar process prior to her great reveal.

Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women— when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.

In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go into the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. (Esther 2:12-14 ESV)

The oil of myrrh was commonly used during those times for antiseptic purposes. During those first six months of her preparation, Esther process was focused on purification, cleansing, and healing any places that need mending.

Are their places in your life that need healing? What heart wounds need to be cleansed of shame, guilt and disappointment.

Spend some time allowing the oil of God’s presence to purify and bring wholeness.

Once Esther completed the purification process, they spent the next 6 months optimizing her beauty. The purification process preceded the beautification process.

Once the inside is healed the outside begins to reflect more of the beauty of God.

I pray you use this time as a gift. Allow it to prepare your heart and your mind for the new thing God wants to do in your life.

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