All of it has changed. Your day, your work, your schedule, your kids schedule, your weekend, everything has changed! It has been painful, stressful, and worrisome. I, like you, have had to navigate this new lifestyle of going out less, homeschool for my kids, way too many Google/Zoom calls, and endless thoughts around the future.
Today, a new thought occurred to me — When all this is over what do I hope to look back and say? — about how I spent my time. How did I manage these changes? Hopefully, the only thing I have to show for it isn’t just another Netflix series notch on my belt.
Life hasn’t stopped, it has changed. I am hoping to leverage it for what it is right now. Think about it! Many of us are not commuting, wasting time at the water cooler, making unnecessary runs to the store, or overpacking our weekends with soccer in the morning, a birthday party in the afternoon, and a trip to the movies at night while cramming chores and shopping somewhere in between.
There are 5 things I am intending to accomplish during this time. Maybe you should consider these 5 things as well.
1. Spend more time with your family.
There I said it. With my kids home from 6:45am-2:45pm Monday through Friday–guess what that means? I will get to see them more, and they will see me more. I can choose to view this as an interruption to what was a perfectly oiled machine of productivity (right?), or I can seize the opportunity to dig into how my kids are actually being taught, see how fun they are, see how annoying they are, and then see how annoying my responses are to what I thought was them being annoying, but really it is just me being annoyed. So far, we have been outside everyday, multiple times. We have been on family walks. My wife and I have had more dialogue about the present and the future. We have prayed more seriously and fervently.
You don’t want to burn up these extra moments with constant updates from CNN, reading every email from every company, or endlessly scrolling social media.
What if you leveraged these extra moments for more quality time with your family? What if you came out of this with better relationships with those you love most?
2. Practice Spiritual Disciplines.
Let’s be honest, now that church services have moved online. For many of us that means we need to be extra diligent as individuals in connecting with God. Maybe you could…
3. Loving others.
Just remember we are choosing to serve and love our community by making these sacrifices. Give yourself permission to feel good about that. We are choosing to love the most vulnerable in our society, and yes, loving and serving costs something. Get involved with nonprofits who are tackling the issue of food insecurity caused by schools being closed. Do what you can to help. But remember THIS IS not forced, but rather it is your decision to LOVE your neighbor. Just like the Good Samaritan, it cost him. It is costing you, but you should be glad to know you are not passing by on the other side. Just ask yourself this. Is loving my neighbor worth what it is costing me?
4. Take a closer look at your finances.
It is hard not to think about the financial hit many businesses, churches, and families are fearing. Many are worried about their job security. Others are worried of the economic ramifications it will have on everything. I am hoping to look hard at my current spending habits and do a simple pruning (Likely aided by the ‘no going anywhere thing!’). I want to keep us in a place where we can continue to practice generosity, afford our basic needs, and plan for the future. What if you took a little time to scrutinize some of your purchasing habits, giving habits, and entertainment habits? What if you reassessed for a more desired future, or at least a future you can somewhat control?
5. Find something for your hands to do ‘physically’.
I watched my neighbors redo their landscaping in a day and a half. Chances are if you are like me there are some projects you have been putting off until you had the time to get it done. Consider painting that room, fixing what is broken, reorganizing something, or cleaning out the garage. Actually, you can fold your laundry (wait maybe that’s just me). The best thing for you to do might be to relieve some of the stress you are feeling by physically exerting yourself toward accomplishing something. Trust me; it will feel good.
Joseph said something profound to his brothers in the Old Testament. His brothers hated him, and sold him into slavery. Although he became a prisoner, he never gave up. After many years had passed, he said to them during a time of worldwide famine in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
What if you intend for something good to come out of all this? Imagine if you decided to practice these five things in this season, or your own ‘things’?
We don’t know how long this will last, but my hunch is that when things become a little more normal again (whatever that will look like) you will be better. You will be better at following Jesus, and better at being able to handle what is to come because of how you intentionally chose to make good things a priority.