When will this end?
Most of us have been sheltering in place and social distancing for months now, and we’re exhausted. We’ve perhaps even grown accustomed to our revised routines and new normal.
Because none of us has experience walking through a situation like this, it has created a common bond among humanity. We’re all learning together, and at times, this unity is comforting. In other ways, it’s difficult because we all want to look to someone else for leadership, and the truth is, our leaders are learning as they go as they walk in wisdom. It’s hard to know what to do when there’s no rulebook.
The good news is that God’s Word gives us wisdom as we live in the uncertainties of life. As much distress as there is, there are also moments of joy and ways to enjoy the time we’ve been given. As we endure and press on throughout the phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be reminded of the things we likely already know.
Here are 11 things to remember as you go:
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Again, this is new. Most of us aren’t certified teachers, yet many of us were helping to teach our children at home for a season. Now, we’re sitting on the edges of our seats waiting to hear if school will return, in person, in the fall. Some of us are a part of a dual-income household, and our jobs have moved into our homes with the rest of our lives. All of us are navigating something new. Take it easy and give yourself — and your spouse! — grace in a season that likely has more questions than answers.
2. Take it one day at a time.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 we should “not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Instead, we should “seek first the kingdom of God.” None of us knows what tomorrow brings. It takes discipline to stop projecting and start resting in the fact that, while we don’t know what tomorrow holds, we know the One who holds tomorrow. We especially need to remember this since most of us are four to five months into the pandemic, and for many cities, it’s hard to see if and when there will be a clear end.
3. Enjoy your family.
This is a special time God has forced on all of us. Obviously, it can be a bit nerve-racking and stressful, but God has forced us to stop traveling, to work from home (for those who still are) and to take a break from watching sports. Enjoy your family. Eat meals together, play together, pray together and allow God to strengthen the bonds in your home.
4. Work on your marriage.
I believe God is going to restore many marriages through this time. Be humble and serve your spouse. Take it easy on them and be gracious; this is (still) new for all of us, even though we’ve been at it for months now. Invest in them and your marriage by reading a book together, playing games, watching an interesting documentary or having intentional conversations. This is a great season to get creative in the way we learn our spouse.
I know, it’s easier said than done. We will get through this. God is still on His throne. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and His unchanging nature gives us hope. As you relax, enjoy the blessings right in front of you.
We spend a lot time talking, but in this season let’s choose to listen. Listen to government officials and healthcare experts. Listen to God and spend time with Him. Enjoy the sunshine of summer and being outside. Take in the sounds and enjoy what’s going on around you.
Don’t let financial uncertainty keep you from generous. Historically, God’s Church tends to thrive when things are hard. Continue being generous. Be a good neighbor and invest in local businesses as you’re able. Be generous toward your church so you all can continue to serve the needs of your community. Invest in your families, your neighborhoods and local businesses.
I know many of us are tired, but be steadfast in prayer. God has called us to pray in this season. Praying is a great act of humility because it forces us to acknowledge what we already know to be true: we aren’t in control. Connect with God through prayer.
Continue to talk with your kids about what’s happening. Be appropriately honest with them about how you’re doing and what you’re feeling. Process with your spouse and friends. Pick up the phone (or set up a virtual call if you’re not Zoomed out) and ask people how they’re doing. This is the time to talk, not retreat.
Keep engaging in community. As some small groups are continuing to meet virtually, continue to engage with your group. At our church, we are doing weekly prayer sessions through Zoom, and it’s become a great platform and time to engage one another. Join your church’s — or another church’s — live-streamed worship service and worship virtually with your families if your church hasn’t opened up again yet.
11. Social distancing doesn’t mean spiritual isolation.
We must believe these are going to be fruitful times, even if we can’t see it now. God is going to do far more than we can ask or imagine during this season. Embrace it. Believe it. And let’s be better together! As God’s people, we will come out on the other side of this season more dependent on the Holy Spirit and more committed to the mission.
As we continue to navigate this season, I pray we continue to take our hardships to the throne room of grace and enjoy the good gifts right in front of us.
Don’t give up.
Published July 30, 2020