In a recent conversation with my grandma, I shared that most people my age weren’t worried about the COVID-19 Pandemic, she quickly interjected “That’s because you’ve never lived through something like this before.”
Being born in the mid 90’s I have always been somewhat proud of the fact that I lived through 9-11. I remember where I was at the time it happened, as do most born in that millennium, but if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember it. I mean, at the time I was in half-day kindergarten and couldn’t even spell my own name correctly. Of course, I want to say that the videos we watched in classes and the documentaries I’ve seen have more than checked the box of “I experienced 9-11” … but if I’m honest with myself, my awareness of the events can’t replace my experience.
COVID-19 has virtually shut down the United States. Universities have moved online, coffee shops and restaurants are take-out only, and churches aren’t physically meeting for the first time in most of our lifetimes. People are scared, struggling, or confused as to why this is all happening; and many of you who are young and healthy are wondering how to respond. It’s important to not let our awareness of the issues replace the real experiences people are having.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 1 Timothy 1:7
The last thing we need is more panicking. In a tumultuous time, Paul writes to a young leader, Timothy, not to fear. Naturally in our young age panic is not our first reaction to a crisis usually, but as we process and see the world shut down around us it’s easy to follow suit. Let’s remember that we are healthy, blessed, and this will pass.
Instead of panicking, let’s use our strength and health to help others. Maybe this is helping an elderly neighbor buy groceries, watching the kid’s of a health care or grocery worker, or even just smiling when you happen to be out. Fear may be contagious, but so is joy.
Make decisions slower
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
It’s easy now to see a cheap flight to your ideal destination and think “What a deal! I am healthy, and have work off, see ya!” On the surface this seems like a way to cheat the system, after all if you’re under 30 you have a 0.2% chance of dying from this; but it doesn’t feel like God’s best for us. God wants us to live under authority, and when we take advantage of a culture of fear, we look foolish.
Let’s be wise in how we live at this time and protect the vulnerable. None of us know what tomorrow brings and we want to be prepared. If we are gone and our loved ones get affected, how would we respond? Maybe travel restrictions change or things get worse? Let’s be careful to risk safety for a moment of fun.
Quarantine, don’t isolate
As this pandemic sweeps across the globe, one of my fears was isolation. As an extrovert, I love being with people. Self-quarantine is a scary thing in an age of mental health crisis. As more and more things close, lockdown seems inevitable. Luckily in 2020 quarantine doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Since working from home, I have FaceTimed or used Google meet to chat with friends in between virtual meetings and I’ve been catching up with people that time didn’t allow before. Don’t let “social distancing” steal from your relationships. Call a friend, FaceTime your family and use this time to strengthen your relationships instead of distance from them.
Be careful not to atrophy
“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1
Atrophy is when your muscles weaken over time due to underuse or neglect. Now I’m not talking about physical atrophy, although that could really apply here. I am talking about spiritual atrophy. As young people this may seem like a great time to hop on the couch and binge Netflix. Although enticing, we’d be missing it.
In a world that is so busy that we can’t even respond to the few messages we receive on our pocket-sized-supercomputer, it’s important to think about the person we are trying to become. God hasn’t put your calling on hold due to COVID-19. He isn’t telling you to wait until things ramp up again to better yourself. What if he is using this to get your attention? This pandemic won’t last forever, the hustle and grind will come back, but for a generation who can’t escape the pace, the pace has just escaped you. Use this time to listen, read, grow… Use this time to pray. There is a better person waiting for you on the other side of this, don’t let something else steal it.