The pandemic has many of us feeling like Bill Murray’s character Phil in the movie Groundhog Day. We wake up and the new day seems to be a carbon copy of the one before. Our activities have become limited and all too familiar at the break of dawn. The past two mornings I have woken up with the Groundhog Day mentality. For those working from home during this time, you may be able to relate!
We’re doing the same thing, day after day. If we thought we were bound to a routine before the current global crisis, it most certainly feels that way now.
As I recall, the story line of the movie Groundhog Day was centered on the cynicism of Phil’s personality. His outlook didn’t appear to be positive and he saw nothing good in his work assignment. For reasons never made clear in the movie, Phil was forced to live the same day over and over again. But then there was one day when things changed; or was it his perspective that changed? Once he began to see the good in that particular day, which happened to be our nationally recognized Groundhog Day, he was blessed to move on to the next day and really begin living and enjoying life. Being able to find the positive in situations is the byproduct of the shift to a positive mindset.
As I’ve thought more about the phenomenon which took place in the movie, I began to realize there are at least two kinds of Groundhog Day experiences we can have: physical and emotional.
Staying safer at home during the COVID-19 crisis has caused many to experience the physical Groundhog Day syndrome. No matter what our routine consists of, we are doing it each day and every day, and have been for several weeks now. What’s new and exciting in that? Not much, I think you will agree.
Bill Murray’s character was challenged to eventually find some good in his day; otherwise they were all bound to remain the same. To break the monotony of our physical Groundhog Day syndrome during the pandemic, it may be wise of us to do the same. Are we searching for the silver lining in the cloud called mundane? Using this forced downtime as productively as possible would serve us all well. Pre-pandemic, many people would often make statements such as, “I wish I had time to (fill in the blank).” Well, that time is here! Have you accomplished anything from your ‘wish’ list? Regardless of the tragic reason we now find an abundance of free time or at-home time on our hands, we can salvage something good. Remember, the word of God says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
The physical Groundhog Day syndrome will take a concerted and conscientious effort to break free from. It is a mindset which has to be broken. As is often said, “Where the mind goes, the body will follow”. If we are going to DO something different (break the monotony), we must first THINK differently!
Focus on being intentional during this time. Do your part in ensuring some good comes from this season.
Breaking the emotional Groundhog Day syndrome will take much more than sheer effort. Honesty, faith, resolve, and determination are required. Used collectively, these are the tools which can successfully move us beyond an emotional Groundhog Day experience to living the abundant life Jesus intended us to have (John 10:10).
We relive what happened, over and over again in our minds. We continually think about what didn’t go right. Wondering constantly where we would be had we made a different choice. All of this affects and infects are heart! It causes us to live defeated and condemned. What happened (or didn’t happen) to us does not define us and surely should not limit us!
I believe, however, that you will be well on your way to healing your bleeding heart and saying goodbye to the emotional Groundhog Day syndrome if you commit yourself to doing the following:
Acknowledge with Honesty
We have deal with our personal truths for emotional healing to take place. If we don’t face what hurt us we cannot live in victory. We will remain stagnant in a very bad emotional place.
In part, Jeremiah 31:19 says, “I was ashamed and also humiliated because I bore the reproach of my youth.” Youth simply means the season of life when we didn’t know any better. When we know better, we are able to do better.
Are you holding on to the reproach (disappointment) of a decision made in your spiritual youth? Is it anger or resentment towards someone for something they did against you which you are refusing to let go of?
“There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) Condemnation is not from God; all the more reason to work diligently to shed it.
Forgive yourself. Boot the enemy off of your shoulder who keeps speaking into your ear and telling you how wrong you were for what you did. Forgive yourself. Yes, I wrote that at the beginning and the end of the same sentence because we all need to hear it more often! The enemy has become proficient at reminding us of our short-comings and it’s time we stop listening to the accuser!
Pray. Wait. Do.
“Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
With a sincere heart that wants to move out of an emotional Groundhog Day season, bring the matter to the Lord in prayer. Leave it in His capable hands. Hold your head high and walk forward, forgetting the things of the past!
While our days are not literally on repeat as in the move Groundhog Day, emotionally it can feel that way if we haven’t properly dealt with the trauma of what hurt us.
Gospel artist Troy Sneed, who lost his life this month due to COVID-19, recorded a wonderful song titled “Move Forward”. If you have not heard it, please check it out. Here are some of the poignant lyrics:
“It’s over. I came through it. God used it to make me better.”