These aren’t answers to all the questions this situation asks. These aren’t solutions to the problems these weeks and months have caused. These aren’t promises, prescriptions, explanations, or rules.
They’re just some thoughts on how to get by right now, from one lonely, worried friend to another.
- CONNECT. Use this time to creatively connect with the people in your life. Call your grandparents or a hometown friend. Handwrite letters or send some emails. Set up group facetimes or google hangouts. Use mixmax to have people sign up for open slots on your calendar.
We all need a little extra connection right now. Use the downtime to reach out to friends and family. Spend time reminding your people and yourself that we are not alone, we are in this together, we are all held by a good and loving Father.
- PROTECT. Protect your heart. Ration your time spent on the news if it’s breeding too much anxiety. Delete social media if it’s inviting comparison or complacency into your heart. (@me)
We should always safeguard our time, but maybe now moreso than ever. We’re being forced to slow down and stay inside. We have the opportunity and the time to truly be still and know. But we have every possible distraction to keep us from doing so. Be mindful. Protect your soul.
- REJOICE. Celebrate the little things that add joy to your day when everything feels mixed up and messy. Break open the good wine you’ve been saving. Add a little extra butter to your bread. Paint your nails a spring-y color. Spend extra time petting your dog. Break back open your journal. Sing out loud and off key. Take an extra long shower because you can. Dance in your kitchen like a free and fearless fool.
There is mercy in every tiny moment if you look for it. Embrace each one and let them lead you to worship.
- BE GENTLE. With yourself and with others. Tensions will run high, as will emotions. No one has the answers, no one can predict what’s coming. No one has ever had to do this before.
So spread a little grace wherever you’ve landed. Ask for forgiveness when your temper gets the best of you. Ask for help when your emotions feel too big. Sit by a window as much as possible. Do a face mask. Meditate. Be kind. Get off the internet. And as always, light the good candle.
- NOURISH. Yourself and your soul. Read good books. Read poetry, even. Listen to music that soothes and settles. Eat colorful foods that don’t make you feel icky. Spend time in the word. Spend time away from screens.
You get to choose whether to fill yourself with meaningless content or something with roots. Choose the latter. Choose psalms and literature and the sound a cello makes in the right hands. We are fragile, human, needy. (Have we ever been more aware of that than now?) Treat yourself accordingly and pray for mercy in the margins.
- REMEMBER. That God is God and we are not. That everything that feels threatened right now – our health, our safety, our finances, our security – have never been anything other than a daily, undeserved provision from a merciful God.
Remember that He is not surprised by or afraid of this pandemic. That His good and perfect will is not thwarted or thrown off by this part of the story. We are invited now to trust Him with things we would’ve never even prayed about yesterday. We are ushered into days filled now not with fear, but with a posture of humility as we remember how deeply we need Him and how mighty He is to save.
- PRAY. For healthcare workers, for your friends and family, for kids who are hungry and can’t access school lunches, for parents keeping their kids entertained, for people who live alone that might be lonely, for people who may lose jobs and / or economic security.
Pray for hope, for peace for all of us, for the ability to rest in God’s sovereignty and trust Him even when we don’t understand the world around us. Pray that you can encourage those around you and be a light to them when everything else looks a little darker than normal.
Pray that God will sustain, protect, heal, and comfort. Pray that Jesus will come back soon.
(Join my church’s 24-hour prayer chain here.)
- GOOGLE. Puppy videos on YouTube. Seriously, sometimes you just need to.