At the time of this writing, the state of Illinois has at least 5 more weeks to shelter-in-place from the devastation of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. If this news is sinking in to the point of panic and desperation, you should really call someone. Don't try to deal with the shock and languishing alone. Don't be too proud to ask for help like a meal. Even roped off from each other like this, we can still hold through this both as humans and as a Christian community. Don't let yourself be lost to others.
There are a myriad of ideas that you can find for occupying your time just by scrolling through your social media or doing some simple searches or even watching the news. I won't intrude on those ideas. I'm more interested though in what's happening to your soul and how you're handling what seems to be "more" time.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
(Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV)
- Draw closer to God, and he will draw closer to you. He isn't as far off as you may think. God isn't a divine patrolman only monitoring what you're doing. Though he knows, he's near because of relationship. There is intimacy to be hand with the Almighty that you don't yet know about it. Give him the time of day, and you'll see.
- Pay attention to what you pay attention to. More on this below, but "mind your head" (as they say in the UK). If you don't make a plan for how you're going to use your time and your screens, you'll likely give in to almost anything that comes across your mental table. Plan breaks against and from distractions. Just because the walls seem to be closing in on you, doesn't mean they actually are. Redeem the time has the idea of buying it back. Make time your servant. Boredom doesn't have to fought. It can be plainly avoided. Schedule more rest time while God is allowing this forced Sabbath. But don't think for a second that God's Law is cooped up in a box somewhere (like we are). His rules stand fast even during this difficult time. Be renewed in the spirit of your minds (Ephesians 4:24).
- Draw closer to one another. This almost goes without saying. There seems to be more time so that we can casually re-connect or dive deeper with family and friends. While everyone might be living the introvert's dream these days, we cannot be relationally isolated. Don't wait for someone to reach out to you (as if they owed you). For older people, this may be a good time to fumble around with the technologies to get closer to the younger people in your family or church. For younger people, it could very well be therapeutic to your 'system' to write a short card or letter to a relative or an older person in the church. God knew that his image-bearers at this point in history would be going through this global quarantine. His image in us is resilient enough to still reflect the radiance of relationships. Go for it!
- Question yourself before you post. While there's alot of good stuff out there being produced around the clock, there's that doubly more junk to sift through. Junk in the sense of morally reprehensible or questionable, but 'junk' in the sense of time wasting. I thank God especially for trash collectors these days, but can you imagine what would happen if they stopped coming by? We don't really have internet trash collectors (thanks, Freedom of Speech!), so you've got to do your own filtering. Be rigorously discriminating. In addition to the verse quote above, how about the one below? Ask yourself if it's really worth it to post whatever it is you feel like post. Give yourself a limit. Remember: other people are either going to be bettered or potentially battered by it.
This quarantine isn't to be wasted. Make the most of it. Ask someone to hold you accountable for the next 5 weeks. if the last five have been a wash, then, suit up! Go to war and have fun!
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)