April 13 marked one month since Minnesota’s Governor, Tim Walz, restricted social gatherings because of COVID-19. I don’t know about you, but it almost feels like a whole year has flown past! We are living in an odd tension of backwards agendas, new routines, slow days, fast weeks, rediscovered purposes and a whole lot of emotions.
Our previously-packed social schedules are now replaced by ever-changing rhythms. Some days, we feel like ourselves. Other days, we feel like somebody completely new. But the beautiful thing, no matter how drastically our lives have changed, is that God sees us exactly the way we should be seen: loved.
In the weeks to come, it is important to remind ourselves of this truth and begin to treat God’s creation (you) with the same love He pours out!
Be kind to yourself.
Your to-do list may look different in this season, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace for the days you may feel “off,” and for the days you can’t seem to stay on track. The Lord cares far more about your body, soul and spirit than an empty email inbox and a clean house. Find sweet moments to do things you enjoy and things that fill your heart. He is hand-delivering these moments to us and we must be okay slowing down enough to partake in them.
Practice healthy thinking.
Much of the content in our hearts begins with what we think or believe in our minds. During a time where timelines are unknown and outcomes are unpredictable, we must be cautious of the thoughts we let linger in our minds. In Philippians 4:8 it says ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’ Take a moment each day to mindfully thank God for something positive in your day, because I guarantee you there is still so much to be thankful for.
Prioritize time in the Word of God.
This is a big one, so don’t miss it! Much, if not all, of the struggle, stress and questions we endure in this life have an answer. Crazy, right? How many arguments could have been avoided? How many days could have been brightened? How much more peace would our lives have? The Bible is God-breathed, it is incapable of error. In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, it says that the Word of God equips us. Did you catch that? God has equipped us for every situation, which no doubt includes a quarantine, through the pages of His Word! Take a break from the news today and fill your mind with Scripture. What God has to tell you is for this day!
Stay in Community.
God did not create you to do life alone, even in a self-quarantine! You may have had moments during these last few weeks where you have felt alone. You may have even felt unimportant or unseen. Just the opposite is true! God is with you, He sees you and you are of great importance to Him. He wants to put people in your life to support and cheer you on. This will look different for everybody. Maybe it’s choosing three people a week to FaceTime or joining a Conversations Group. Maybe it’s stepping way outside your comfort zone to reach out to that person you have been putting off connecting with. Whatever it is, community is our secret sauce and a quarantine won’t stop God-driven relationships!
Rest, relaxation and sleep.
This time does not need to be about how much we can get done, how many hobbies we can pick up or how many projects we can complete. This time is also not about how many shows we can watch or how many hours we can sleep. The Lord puts a high emphasis on Sabbath and delights when His people participate in a Sabbath. On the seventh day of the creation story, God didn’t rest because He was tired. He rested because He was pleased with what He had done. No matter the uncertainty in your life right now, God delights when you take time to put down your phone, turn off the TV, set aside the long list of to-dos and just simply be. Be with Him. Your rest, relaxation and sleep feed so many other areas of your life. Let’s all commit to do them…and do them well!
Find time to pray.
Many of us have different stories now. We have different job descriptions, different home lives, different hats we are wearing and different priorities. With that come different emotions, maybe at different frequencies than we are used to. None of this surprises God though. As out of control as we may feel, He is in control and fully aware of the condition of our hearts. In 1 John 5:14 it says, ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.’ And that is the confidence we have now, that God knows and He is desperately waiting for us to come to Him.
Listen to worship music.
It’s actually quite simple, worship helps you enter into the presence of God. It’s all about a posture that is open to what the Lord has for you. I think sometimes we think of worship in more of a corporate sense; in a church building, with a full band, fully dialed in. What the Lord has been showing me the last few weeks is that worship can be in the mundane moments, where we simply turn on worship music in the background and let the chords bounce off the walls of our homes. Whether it is while you’re typing out the millionth email of the day, or you are making lunch for your kids, or even taking out the trash, I encourage you to turn on worship. Invite the presence of God into your home, into your life, and rest in His peace, knowing He cares deeply for His children.
Stay Active and Eat Healthy.
Seems small and insignificant, but know this is a key way to care for yourself during self-quarantine. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.’ The Lord cares about what you put into your body, and that doesn’t just mean spiritually. Whatever this looks like for you, be active and be aware of what you are eating. This does not mean start that intense workout you’ve been meaning to start or lose the weight you’ve been meaning to lose, but care about your body, just as Paul says the Lord cares!