Shelter in Place–part of the new normal?
What has been your response to the shelter in place order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? As I check with friends, I find they are all over the map and rightly so. Children must now receive their educational instruction at home. Parents are expected to step into roles they never planned for as teachers and activity coordinators.
Also read: What makes a spiritually vibrant household?
“This doesn’t feel normal!”
And even greater impact is the disruption to our jobs and incomes. Will we still have jobs when this is over? How are we to manage if this crisis extends beyond 30 days (and it possibly will)?
We all know the reasons why this shelter in place order has occurred. It’s for our safety. It’s for our protection. So how do we begin to accept our present reality and move forward into this “new normal”? I’m not talking about—“sucking it up and keep it moving”—oblivious to the reality of the threat we are experiencing, but garnering the courage to live each day with the expectation that we will get through this because we are God’s children and God will direct our path (Prov. 3:5-7). The key question is, “are we in the right, spiritual position to receive what God has for us while we shelter in place?” (Ps. 46:1)
Getting the Most Out of Today
Shelter in place has made me aware of the need to fully focus on the day at hand. In the weeks before I was like everyone else who tried to anticipate what would be needed to stay in for a few days. My focus then was on “tomorrow”.
Now sequestered in my home (I thank God for having a home), I am tempted to regret what I didn’t do. I am bullied by “should have” and “could have”. “I should have picked up two more cans of tuna or I could have gotten my hair colored (yikes—there’s gray everywhere!).” Now, I had fallen prey to focusing on the “past.” Who will save me from myself?
Jesus Gives Great Advice
Jesus gave excellent advice to a group who joined Him for an impromptu lunch on a mountainside. They were anxious. Much like we are today as we shelter in place. They were worried about their families, their current needs, and their future. Jesus offered them their first lesson in mindfulness—giving full attention to the present moment.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6:34 (RSV)
I’m a quick learner and am going to follow Jesus’ advice and practice being more mindful about my time with Him, with my family, and with my friends. It’s so much better than eating my way into a hole for the next 30 days and binging on Law and Order reruns.
I am finding that this time—though extremely difficult—can become a period for spiritual exploration and personal discovery. There is so much to learn about God, His faithfulness, and His direction for our lives. God is in control and God is moving—and when God moves things happen.
Each day I ask myself a series of questions, which creates “intentional space” in which Jesus can “re-align” me with His will and His purpose. Afterwards, I journal what God impresses on my heart.
How does God want to mature me during this time? While we attempt to educate our children remotely, God is also extending His wisdom and understanding to each of us. God has, through this event, developed a specific “IEP”—Individual Educational Plan—for each of us.
If I had to determine the IEP for this nation, it would include the need to learn how to LOVE LIKE CHRIST—do good, extend mercy, and practice compassion (Acts 10:38). And what might we need to learn? Selflessness. Moderation. Simplicity. Patience. Humility.
Living in this multigenerational world we might also learn to be more long-suffering and kind with our children and with the elderly.
How does God want to use me during this time? Now this may seem like a silly question seeing we are unable to move freely during this time of shelter in place. However this is a great time to look beyond our spatial limitations and move into the spiritual realm.
Begin each day with intercessory prayer. Start a card ministry (the postal system is still available). Use your technology to serve others—develop an outreach call list. Volunteer to teach a ZOOM Bible study. Start a daily prayer line. Plant those seeds, knowing that God will multiply them. (Eph. 2:10)
What does God want me to learn during this time? My first response to the pandemic was that God is punishing the world for its sinful ways. Is that correct? I don’t know if that is what God is doing! “Who has known the mind of God or who has God asked for advice?” (Rom. 11:34)
But I DO KNOW that God is sovereign and nothing comes to us that is not first been filtered through God’s will. COVID-19 and its economic impacts did not take God by surprise. God is still in CONTROL.
Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? (2 Chronicles 20:5-6)
But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Next week we will continue our discussion on sheltering in place and how God is moving in the world. In the meanwhile trust God, live by faith, and know that God will take care of you.
Visit our FaceBook Community page and let us know how you are handling this “shelter in place” period. We look forward to hearing from you.