I hope you enjoy this conversation about faith, purpose, peace, the Coronavirus and you.
Paul Silva and I have been sharing emails back and forth and decided to meet via Zoom. He and I are using this time to not focus on what is happening outside, but to focus on what is happening on the inside of us to cultivate inner strength and peace.
Here is the transcript (in the blog post) that you can read along with our video and the audio version if you care to listen. I’d love for you to share in the comment section below (you will need to scroll down quite a bit) how you are using this time of staying at home and social isolation. Also, please share the URL link to this post with anyone you feel could use this conversation. So… here’s our conversation.
Listen to the recording by clicking on the button below:
Hi, it’s Jackie Trottmann and I am here with Paul Silva. Paul is one of my Joy and Flow followers. We’ve just found each other and connected, and we’ve been emailing back and forth and, and have the same appreciation for our Christian faith and what it means to us and, and the depth of that faith.
During this time of this virus outbreak, I had reached out to Paul just because we had been going back and forth with email, but now being shut in as we are, I’m doing a little more reaching out to people.
Having this platform of Zoom that’s available for us to connect, Paul’s from New York, and I’m here in St. Louis, and we’re able to do this. We just wanted to have a discussion about how we are handling this time and centering ourselves and not allowing what’s happening on the outside to affect us on the inside.
Now we’re using this time to rely upon this inner strength and inner peace that God has promised us. So I’ll introduce you now to Paul.
Well, thank you, Jackie. I thought probably my first comment should be something along the lines of why I think I’m entitled to an opinion at any rate, because everybody’s got an opinion about the Coronavirus situation.
So I thought I’d start by saying that in this current time I have won the trifecta. And what I mean by that is I’m old, infirm, immunosuppressed and diabetic. So this virus is kind of aimed specifically at people like me.
I don’t know if that makes my opinions any more credible, but it gives me the viewpoint to pay attention from a little bit more of a perspective. I’ve had a couple of transplants that keep me immunosuppressed. So I’ve already been familiar with some of the you know, the hygiene things but this social isolation is new to all of us. I don’t know if anybody else has experienced this in their life, where they really had to make a concerted effort to stay away from everything and everyone. It doesn’t have to be all bad consequences.
And, you know, this gives us an opportunity to do some things that we otherwise might not have entertained the idea of doing.
Absolutely true. Yeah, with everything that’s going on with, you know, people hoarding toilet paper of all things. And the kind of panic that’s happened. I’m reminded of our choir on a trip to perform over in Scotland and England. When we were on the tour bus, there were all these fields with sheep everywhere. And this one sheep would take off, and then all the sheep would follow after it. Our driver said, “Oh, that’s what the sheep do when one sheep takes off, all the sheep take off after it.”
And that’s all I could think about in this time. There’s a term for it in psychology. People are saying, “Oh my gosh, well, that person’s hoarding toilet paper, maybe I should do that too. “
People are paying more attention to what’s happening on the outside world more than ever. That’s why we have to depend on this inner world, and what we’re able to control.
Focusing on Faith, Peace and Inner Strength
Your work is called three steps to wholeness and I love that, that wholeness aspect. So what do you say about that inner strength?
Well, it’s always about the inner game in your spiritual life, but the analogy of sheep is used a great deal and for good reason. You know, if you don’t know who your Shepherd is, then it doesn’t make any difference which one of the sheep takes off from the flock. Everybody’s going to follow.
To try to make that more of an analogy that’s current to what we’re experiencing right now, are there good practices? And just because everybody else is doing what is safe for their health, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, follow them.
But the sooner you can get what the Navy folks call, your hatches battened down, you get the what you need to take care of, then it’s time to look into, alright, how can I best use this time? And from my perspective, one of the best things about this being socially isolated, is that it gives you a chance to think and to meditate and to pray.
And, you know, do the things that the busy life of constantly being an interaction with other people kind of pushes to the side. And I think a lot more ground can be gained by taking a little time and doing those sorts of activities, then whatever is lost, even economically by perhaps you can’t go to work. So I look at that overall as an upside.
Yeah, we’re certainly forced out of our busyness, that’s for sure.
What will you let take up that vacuum? Are some people referring to this as a time to just Netflix and chill? Well, yeah, you could do that. And if you’re really in need of relaxation, a certain amount of that may make sense. But I’d hate to see all of this time that wasn’t previously available, get sucked into meaningless things.
Finding your Purpose in this Time of Coronavirus
One of the things you had mentioned when I talked to Paul earlier (because this is our first chance to really talk to one another other than just email), he was just talking about how he works with people to find their purpose.
And I know the world is full of distractions and just like you said, Netflix and even, you know, the social calendars that we keep and all the busyness that keeps us from really finding that meaning or what it is that we truly feel God has called us to do. Kind of like pushing the call away, or being distracted or really wanting to do something but then just getting too busy and then too tired and then too distracted. So what would you say as far as this time for people to tune into what this might be a time for them to find that purpose?
I’m also a big believer in that with purpose, I used to get stuck on oh, your purpose is like one big thing. And our purpose I think changes over time as we listen to that still small voice and we listen to God speaking to us. Our purpose can evolve into different things. But what would you say that would be helpful for people now when they do have this opportunity, how to go about doing that?
Well, I believe you have a meditation that focuses around the idea of Be Still and Know that I am God. Stillness makes it easier for people to be contemplative. And in the midst of the busy world that we were in, up until recently, it was very difficult to find a place to be still.
Now we have this opportunity where if you’re stuck at home, you can just pick a place and say, “Here’s where I’m going to be still and slow yourself down enough to be able to let thoughts occur and to let God give me impressions of what he wants me to know.”
The barrier is taken away to not be so constantly distracted. That is difficult to do. It does require slowing down, but that’s an important part of it. And if you need to, you know, pull out some scriptures or go to some prayers to get you started, then that’s a great place to start.
I think also what you really loved as a child, maybe, those things that these desires that you had to tap into those, I mean, I’m a big journal fan. So this is a good time for people, I think to journal and reflect.
I know that people are afraid of silence, because I know that silence can also bring up maybe pains or hurts or something that you haven’t faced before. And those things certainly do happen when you do have stillness, but that’s important to feel those so that you can let those go.
That’s why the CDs and downloads that I have in the meditations are all intentional. You have to be still, and then for things to come up. Then you can let them go. Then you trust and you trust in God you trust in yourself, you trust in others to help you. It’s this evolution of what happens. So I think this is a really a good opportunity for people.
Listening to God and Knowing God is With Us
It’s a hard time. But it is a good time. I think you bring up a very good point in terms of fear of silence. And I have found through pursuing a practice called listening prayer, where, when you’re getting in touch with God, you’re not doing all the talking.
If it happens, that God leads you back to a time in your youth, for example, when perhaps you had a traumatic experience, okay? It’s perfectly okay with him for you to say, “Where were you in this?” And he’ll show you where he was and that he was with you, to spite the fact that the situation around you was traumatic, does not mean that he wasn’t there walking through it with you.
That takes the fear and the pain out of that traumatic experience, right out of the equation, because he adds his peace where that fear and pain used to be. I hope that makes sense.
It does make sense. That’s really beautiful.
There are a number of things that people can do. I like your use of the word trust. Because fear is, let’s say the opposite of faith. And I’m not being judgmental here at all, by saying that when you have fear, focusing on gratitude and trust, just makes it dissipate. And it’s just a very effective method.
You know, so just remembering a favorite scripture, whether it’s, you know, be still and know that I am God, or another one that is relevant to this is just knowing that he will never leave you or forsake you. And he’s there with you with or without a Coronavirus, with or without relationship problems.
Anything you could be going through in life, you can look to the Lord and know that he is there. So that naturally gives you peace.
Finding Peace and Happiness through Gratitude
Yes, I heard on a podcast the other day and it was an author and I don’t have his name, he studies happiness and, and he was saying how if we dwell on the negative and dwelling on everything that’s happening right now, to your point about gratitude. And he said, if you just thought of three new things that you are grateful for each day.
And he said, not just three things you’re grateful for, but new things that you’re grateful for. And the reason why he said that was that it rewires your brain. Where if you’re just saying, you know what I’m grateful for, you could say the same things over and over again. And it really isn’t going to change any pattern.
But during this time, yeah, we have to, we have to find things to be grateful for. I mean, I’m grateful I walked outside the other day, the birds are still singing, you know, the buds are on the trees. I saw new crocus that just bloomed, so spring has not been canceled.
Being mindful of that. I think you bring up a good point and I have to share that lots of times with all the podcasts and the emails and all the ways we get information, it’s almost impossible to remember the sources. Okay?
Yes, you reminded me of a source that I’m going to share just because you reminded me of it. It’s on topic. There is an author named Randy Alcorn. And he wrote a book simply called Happiness. And it’s not written from the perspective of the, the secular pursuit of happiness, which often is a materialistic thing. Okay? But the premise of this book is all about how when you go through the Scriptures, and you see, blessed is he or are they you know, the word blessing can equally be translated into the word happiness.
When you are in your readings, just to do an experiment. If everywhere you saw the word blessed, you saw happiness. It would reinforce in you the fact that God does want us to be happy.
And just knowing that he wants it that that’s his will for us makes it a lot easier to be happy in the right way.
Joy Comes from Within
Absolutely. We were told that Jesus came to make our joy complete. And that’s why I say that joy is an inside job. Because that’s where our true joy comes from, like you said, as opposed to just the secular view of the world with happiness and joy.
So, I think we’ve given a lot, talked a lot and hopefully helped people think a little differently. We have to think differently. During this time, all of us are faced with all this being new.
What’s not new are the promises that we can hold on to, through Scripture, through what God has done to provide for those in the past. I mean, the Bible is a love story for us and shows, instruction and adversity and how God has seen everyone through that.
So any closing words?
I would hope as you do that, this has been helpful if it relieves some of the anxiety that people are feeling because this is a new experience, to go through all the experiences that have ever been experienced by anybody in history.
We’re still under the sovereignty of trusting that this will come and go just like everything else has come and gone.
So we hope that this has been helpful to encourage you and that you and your loved ones are well. Stay safe and I will continue to be in touch and offer as much encouragement as I can.
And thank you all for reaching out to me and for your work and for your wisdom and take good care too.
Well, it’s been my pleasure. I wish all the same for you.
Don’t forget to leave your comments with what you are doing with this time of social isolation, and what in this video/recording/post has resonated with you. I’d love to hear from you!
Here is the link to the book Paul mentioned: Happiness by Randy Alcorn. Have you read it? I have not.
Here is the link to the Be Still, Let it Go, Trust meditations. You’ll find more resources to help you connect deeper with God at the Joy and Flow Store. Your purchases help support my work. Thank you!