Survival is Underrated

Is 2020 over yet? Seriously, it feels like the longest year in the history of mankind and we’re only halfway through!

Have you faced this question yet, “What have you learned during the quarantine time?” My writer’s team was having a Zoom meeting, and this was the first question. I am seldom speechless, but I had no answer. I wanted to think of some way I had grown in this experience, or say something about how great it is to have more time with family, but to be honest, all I could say was, “I’m surviving. We’re still alive. And I found some funny memes.”

Social media is full of the same question: What new skill can you learn now? Want some sourdough starter? Here is a list of books you NEED to read this year! Would you like to download a color coded school/life/chore chart for your children? How to THRIVE when times are tough!

My phone keeps sending me notifications like, “Your screen time this week is up by 70% to an average of 14 hours daily. Maybe you should pay attention to your children.” Siri is apparently now taking cues from Netflix’s slogan: “​Are you STILL watching?​”

Yes, Netflix. I am still watching, and quite frankly, it is none of your business!

I’m not a total bum, don’t get me wrong, but I am sick. Genetic diseases and a veritable alphabet soup of syndromes leave me in severe pain all the time. I fall a lot. I need help to shower. Many days I can’t comb my own hair. I have limited emotional energy because the pain makes me want to just crawl inside myself and refuse to talk to anyone. Any social interaction takes away energy, and I don’t have any to give.

On top of all this pain, I also have two daughters. And yes, they’re a delight and the light of my life. My reason for existing. My legacy in this cruel, dark world. But have you ever been trapped in your house for endless months with a kindergartener who has an anxiety disorder and a three-year old who is “exploring new boundaries?”

For example, right now my kindergartener is terrified of everything. Sounds. Thoughts. Pictures she saw 3 years ago when we were at “that restaurant” and there was a commercial with an alien. The only thing that brings her comfort is being with me. Like WITH me. ​Touching me​. Have you ever tried to poop with a verbose and frightened kindergartener who is scooting a stool over to the toilet so she can sit with her body against yours? It’s not as fun as you might think.

So no, I’m not thriving. I’m not learning deep spiritual lessons. I’m not really learning anything. But I am surviving​. And honestly, that’s the most important thing right now. If I can survive this, I may be able to look back on it later and learn something. But for now, I set one goal for myself:

Survive this Day and Be Kind​.

And that’s all I’m focusing on. I’m barely writing. I’m not getting dressed every day. I’m not following any sort of diet other than avoiding allergies. I don’t even make it to open my Bible app every day. But I am talking to Jesus, like, all the time.

Because he said he would never leave me (Matthew 28:20). He said troubles and trials cannot separate me from him (Romans 8:35-39). He is with me in this, and it is because of him that I can survive. I’m basically clinging to Jesus like a kindergartener with anxiety right now. Good thing he doesn’t have to poop.

Don’t undervalue survival.​ We can all get therapy after this. We can eat vegetables after this. We can organize the basement next year. But getting through this time is VITAL. Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t able to “make the most” of all the extra time at home. You might not be thriving right now, but if you’re reading this, you are surviving and that’s important. Know that God is still with you. He WILL NOT abandon you! He’s holding you up, pushing you forward, and holding you in his arms when the tears fall. You will live to thrive another day. You just need to survive this one first.

Anita grew up in Belize as a missionary kid. She has lived in 3 countries and traveled on 5 continents but can’t resist the allure of subzero winters so she now lives in MN with her Egyptian husband and two daughters. She blogs about God, motherhood, disability, and appreciating beauty at, and pretends to be trendy by posting pictures of coffee as @anitafmatta on Instagram.
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