Dark Times, Open Heaven

I feel saturated, bombarded by Covid-19 news. What about you?

Dr. Neil Levitsky, a Toronto, Ontario psychiatrist, says we should be aware of pandemic news but limit how much we watch.[1] I agree.

We recently celebrated the First Sunday of Advent whose first candle represents hope. For Christians, this hope exemplifies both the Nativity and Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christian theologian John Piper thinks that Christ should be the rock on which we lean in the midst of the pandemic, a pandemic which is opening a way for transformation.[2] I believe that this transformation is both personal and societal.

You may wonder, ‘Luba, how on earth can I take my life to the Next Level in the middle of so much insecurity, division and change?’ ‘Luba’, you may say, ‘people are dying, and you expect me to believe that there is a God and that this God cares about me?’

Yes, I do.

God works best in dark times because God’s light shines most then. These are precisely the times we’re living in.

Dark Times, Open Heaven

Many believe that, in spite of the dark times we’re in, we are also living under an open heaven which means that communication is actively happening between heaven and earth.[3]  

As bleak as things appear around us in the physical realm, as dark as the situation seems to be, as uncertain as our circumstances are, there is an ‘openness’ that covers us through which blessings come. This is the hope that I refer to in this piece.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. God’s plan for me was to leave Bulgaria, come to Canada and become a chaplain in war time.[4] Although we are not in a traditional war, we seem to be involved in a new kind of warfare, an invisible war with an invisible enemy, Covid-19.

God’s blessings will pour on us when—in the midst of this warlike atmosphere, a kind of protracted lent from pre-Covid-19 activities we took for granted—we remember God.

What is impossible—Next Level thinking—suddenly becomes possible in a step-by-step, day-by-day reliance on the knowledge that we are living under an open heaven that is ready to pour out its gifts on us so long as we accept the transformation that is required of us now.

‘You mean, Luba, that more is required of me than being careful and wearing a mask?’

Yes, I do.

I think that we’ve been given this time of ‘straightening’ as a reprieve. You can think of it as grace or a grace period that’s been given to us to get rid of all the extraneous things and relationships in our lives that are preventing us from rising in life, being the person we were always meant to be.

Open Heaven

An open heaven is clear, bright, gracious, and freeing. It accepts us with our foibles and is ever ready to provide and guide, caress and bless, help, and support, acknowledge and rebuke and love us. An open heaven is uncomplicated and balanced, ruled yet tolerant, and fundamentally good. An open heaven is filled with goodness. It is ready to cover you in an abundance of beauty and goodness in the midst of your pain and suffering.

Feeling a little anxious because of the pandemic? Unsure of what to do next? Perhaps you’ve just retired and don’t know what to do with the rest of your life? As an experienced chaplain in a first class retirement home and psychotherapy intern at the University of Toronto, I can help you.

Let’s Take it to the Next Level together. Book your appointment today,


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[1] Neil Levitsky, ‘COVID 19 coping strategies,’ YouTube, accessed online on December 1, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn7mKyKwPDI.

[2] John Piper, ‘COVID-19,’ YouTube, accessed online on December 1, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgfu6JLB_XE&vl=en.

[3] Dr. James W. Goll, ‘What Really Happens in an Open Heaven?,’ Charisma, accessed online on December 1, 2020, https://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/22133-what-really-happens-in-an-open-heaven.

[4] Read the description on my website’s home page, https://lubarascheffconsultancy.com/.

Fear or Hope?

We can’t help but read about the coronavirus. It’s all over the news.

It was recently declared to be a pandemic—which means ‘sustained and continuous transmission of the disease.’[i]

The virus is spreading, but should it spread fear, too?

There are two types of fear: healthy fear that prompts fight or flight and saves us from very real and impending danger, and unhealthy fear, a pathological, unhelpful, nagging kind of anxiety that does nothing but feed into negativity.

You may experience this as an empty feeling that grips your abdomen or courses through you in waves of fear, or worse, panic. You may wonder, Am I going to die?

In no way does the latter type of fear help us Take it to the Next Level. On the contrary, it brings us down levels. Take it to the Next Level is about moving up in levels, not down!

Don’t misunderstand. I advocate taking precautionary measures against coronavirus, but please don’t add fear to the list. Fear is optional.

You may wonder, How can I take my life to the Next Level when there’s coronavirus?

Perhaps you should consider Next Level moves precisely because of the coronavirus.

For example, I decided to fly with Air France this summer. I made my reservation and purchased the tickets. Coronavirus will not stop me from traveling to Paris.[ii] Coronavirus will not limit my freedom—physical or psychological.

Whatever the origin of coronavirus, it seems to be provoking disproportionate reactions that adversely affect the way we see the world and live our lives. It appears to be reinforcing fear in those who place more of an emphasis on the temporal nature of life versus those who focus on that which is eternal and permanent.

But what if we turn the tables on the coronavirus. What if, instead of succumbing to the fear or panic that this pandemic appears to be spreading, we see coronavirus as an impetus to do those things we’ve always been meaning to do?

I mentioned earlier that I will not allow coronavirus to limit me physically or psychologically. Psychology is key in how we respond to coronavirus and other negatives.

Thankfully, the opposite of fear is hope. Hope for deliverance. Hope for a bright future. Hope for a vaccine which some are actively working on[iii] and which may come out in a few weeks. Hope for the beautiful days ahead that God has given us.

Where do you lean? On fear or on hope?

Let’s take it to the Next Level, book your appointment today,



[i] Ignacio López-Goñi, ‘Coronavirus: Ten reasons why you ought not to panic,’ accessed online on March 11, 2020, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-ten-reasons-why-you-ought-not-to-panic-132941?utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3NhCpnqy0m6xv_H_uBO0KDIt1WrBZqJl74jCSxGRAkxd5OT1teqC0s0N8.

[ii] I admit that I am powerless over the decisions of others to restrict flights between nations.

[iii] Lauren Neergaard, ‘Behind the scenes, scientists prep for COVID-19 vaccine test,’ AP, accessed online on March 12, 2020, https://apnews.com/6744922daee56af18aef0c10de394740.

Stepping stones toward your unique destiny.

You Are More Than Your Job, Title or Degree

Healthy self-esteem is vital to moving forward well in life.

Losing a job or retiring can trigger feelings of doubt, insecurity as well as a dip in self-esteem. You may wonder, Am I still valuable and worthwhile?

Did you know, however, that categories, jobs or titles do not make us who we are? We are much more than that!

It’s been said that we are great spiritual beings having a physical experience. It’s also been said that this life is a testing ground for the next—the ultimate Next Level.

So what does that mean to me, Luba?, you may wonder.

Viewing life as a glass half full instead of half empty means that losses are stepping stones to new, better opportunities.

When we really hope for something that doesn’t happen right away or doesn’t happen at all, or lose something to which we’ve ascribed much meaning, we may feel sad, despondent and even begin to despair. But the truth is that this non-gain or loss happened in order for something more fitting and much better to fill the gap.

In many ways, life is like a playground. Some people will play with you, and others won’t. Some will bully you, and some will offer unexpected gifts. Sometimes, the game itself changes midstream. Adaptability works much better than rigidity, in any case.

Figuring out how and what we want to play means doing the inner, spiritual work. Figuring out who we really are and what we really want out of life.

We need to change the definitions and terms that society uses to define us. Instead of saying ‘unemployed,’ we should say ‘free to pursue dreams.’ Instead of saying ‘retired,’ we should say ‘ready for new adventures.’

We are more than outward physical, observable signs of success.

Time is the most important commodity that God gives us, and how we use it vital in aspiring to our goals.

Have you asked yourself, Who am I really?, What do I really want? and What should I focus on now?

These self-identification questions are key to determining next steps, steps that will take you to the next level.

It’s important not to go through life blindly but to walk gently with sensitivity. Take time to smell the roses! If you run, you will miss seeing the surrounding beauty. If you hurry, you won’t taste the richness of life.

Each of us is unique, as is our life destiny. No two people are created alike. Do not compare yourself with others because your path is unique.

5 Questions That Will Help You Decide What’s Next

  1. What do I dream to be, to have, and to do? (Write a list.)
  2. Where is my intuition leading me?
  3. Has a particular path been blocked? (If so, what else can I do?)
  4. What answer is forthcoming when I pray about the direction I’m to go?
  5. How do I feel about the path I’m choosing now?

Let’s Take it to the Next Level, book your appointment today.