I’m now into my sixth week on quarantine (due to getting sick the week before it officially started in the US). And, like I’ve seen many people expressing, this season has been quite a growing one. It’s amazing how staying at home and simplifying life can be so refining. But God can use anything to make us more like Him, can’t He?
I thought I’d share four things I’ve been re-learning from the coronavirus – or rather, that God is teaching me through this extended social distancing. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it should give a pretty good glimpse into the tenor of my spiritual schooling these days.
1. Rest is a Gift
I don’t know if it’s the culture we live in or my own personal bent or a mix of both (or something else entirely), but I too often struggle with resting appropriately. I love being productive, and this too often trumps my very real need for rest. Or, I relish the quiet of late nights and miss out on rest when it’s readily available. But this season has been a reminder that rest is such a gift. And when it’s used well, it makes productivity even more productive. There hasn’t just been physical rest, but there’s also been mental rest, as outside responsibilities have been put on hold. It’s helped remind me just how important God’s “work-and-rest” patterns truly are.
In this world of constant opportunities, we can become overwhelmed and exhausted even by good things. But sometimes we need to take Jesus’ words to His disciples after an intense time of serving to heart, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). That word ‘desolate’ means:
(of a place) deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness. (Oxford Dictionary)
In a sense, that’s a pretty good description of what many of us are walking through with this social distancing. The Lord can use this desolate season to bring refreshment to our minds, hearts, and bodies.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
2. The world ultimately needs JEsus, not me
Naturally, I’m a “yes” woman. I truly love helping others, but I can also say yes to things because of wrong motives at times. I want to be seen as capable, helpful, and dependable. And that means I sometimes take responsibilities upon myself that I should say no to, because “If I don’t do it, who will?” This leaves me feeling burdened, frazzled, and discouraged.
But God has so graciously been convicting my heart afresh of this tendency and the pride that lies beneath it. This world doesn’t ultimately need me, they need Jesus. If I am trying to take responsibility into my own hands that God is not giving me, I am going to hurt things more than help them.
Yes, when He gives me a job to do, I want to do it well and with joy, even if it requires sacrifice. But in times when I can’t meet the needs of others (like right now when my range of practical help is very limited), I can trust that the Lord will provide for all they need, just like He is doing for me. It takes control out of my hands and places it in His… which is a very good thing.
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
3. Simple is Good
I’ve found there to be such a sweetness in the simplicity of these days. Sure, my days are still full (I’m home most of the time with four little ones even when life is “normal”), but there isn’t a sense of rushing around from one thing to the next. I’ve been enjoying adding extra sparkle to the bathrooms, baking banana bread for fun, and dusting because I want to. I’ve been lingering outside a bit longer, snuggling with my kiddos a little more, and praying more intentionally. This extreme simplifying will end, but it’s been a very healthy reset in a “go, go, go” world. I know life will return to a faster pace again, but I hope to hold on to some of this right and good simplicity that allows me to savor the God-given beauty of life.
“[Wisdom’s] ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:17)
4. Serving “Just” My Family is Worthwhile
We love hospitality. We enjoy being with people and having them in our home. And it’s fun to do special things when we have guests over. But this time of not being able to host others has reminded me what a gift it is to serve “just” my family. I don’t have to wait to go the extra mile until others come over. There is no one who will have a greater opportunity to serve my family than I will, and I never want them to feel better served by others because of my actions or attitude when it’s only them around. I want them to know that it’s a privilege to serve them regardless of whether others are joining us. I’ve loved seeing the delight on my kiddos’ faces when they see the little baked surprise, or Judah’s excitement over a freshly-mopped floor (yes, he loves that kind of thing).
Yes, I always want to serve well when others come into our home and for our children to learn the joy of serving others. But I want my family to know that they are so very loved and worth serving in Jesus’ Name.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
I’m the first to admit I will be so thankful when life can return to normal. But in the meanwhile, I don’t want to miss what God has to teach me in the midst of this global pandemic. It’s not every day we get to experience His grace through circumstances such as these. These days are not wasted. And He is faithful, faithful, faithful.
If this post was encouraging to you, would you consider sharing it with others? Many thanks!