As the 2020 new year began, I had a long list of goals and plans. I had high expectations and hoped to reach at least half of the items on my list. The year started off with a bang, and I was already feeling quite pleased with my progress when the Covid-19 virus surfaced, which led to curfews and lockdowns. These restrictions came as a shock, but I continued to hope that normal life would soon return.
But as we now know, things turned out differently, and with each new wave of the pandemic, it became clearer that life would not be the same again, at least not for much longer than I had imagined. The forced immobility soon gave room to frustration and a feeling of helplessness.
A long-anticipated family reunion disappeared from my goal chart, and one after the other, the rest of the plans I had marked as “important” tumbled off the list. I was grateful to be able to make a short trip to the coast when the initial lockdown was eased during the summer, but it wasn’t long before a renewed surge of the number of infections put us back into a holding pattern and further thinned out my list of plans. I muddled through these times of uncertainty and soon realized that my way of expecting fast and efficient outcomes was somewhat outdated and not really applicable to the new world we lived in. The new challenges in my life and work often left me feeling incapable and inadequate.
During these rapidly changing times, a new item was added to my list: to use this time to try to grow in the virtues of flexibility, innovation, greater faith, patience, and peace.
I began researching these virtues, which also clarified the areas where I needed to pray for God’s help and “coping power.” I found some helpful scriptures from the Bible to claim during my prayer times.
The word “flexibility” technically means the ability to bend without breaking. However, people often use it to describe the ability to adjust to changes in your life without creating stress or drama. Being flexible in life means that you can change your plans and adapt to new situations easily.
Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.—Romans 12:2
Innovation means to improve or to replace something. It’s a process by which a domain, a product, or a service is renewed and brought up to date by applying new processes, introducing new techniques, or establishing successful ideas to create new value.
I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.—Isaiah 43:18–19
Great faith means placing your trust in God to go beyond what you are able to do on your own. It is the faith you need in adverse circumstances, times of loss, sickness, and hardships, knowing that God is with you.
Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.—Hebrews 11:1
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious; an area many of us could stand to improve in, especially in challenging times.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.—Ephesians 4:2
Peace of mind is a mental state of calmness or tranquility, a freedom from worry and anxiety.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:6–7