by Scott Nelson, lead pastor
As I’m writing this, most of our world is in some form of lockdown, trying to fight the spread of the coronavirus. One of the big questions we are all starting to ask, after a week of being in our homes, is what are we supposed to do with all of this time? Of course, some people are working overtime in this crisis and have less time. I am in this category myself, and the question for us is, “How do we stay afloat in the storm?” Other people have more time than they asked for, stuck at home, and their question is, “How can we make the most of this time?” I’m going to share some of my thoughts below, and I would love to hear some of yours as well in the comments.
Pray, Pray, Pray
Whether you are more busy or less busy than you were a month ago, we could all pray a lot more. If you are more busy, prayer makes such a difference to our stress and perspective. If you are less busy, now is the time to grow stronger rhythms of prayer. Times ahead are probably going to get harder, and if you can begin and grow a rhythm of prayer, it will make a big difference. To begin, set aside a consistent time for prayer each day. If you already have this, the next step is to pray multiple times a day. My current goal is to pray every hour, thanking the Lord for the last hour and asking for His help in the coming hour. You can also grow your prayer life through things like journaling, silence, and fasting.
Devotions and Study
We need to be growing in God‘s word, otherwise we never grow beyond our own way of thinking. This is a great time to add in devotions as part of a daily habit in life. If you have the time, you can go beyond a 15 minute devotion and do 30 or 60 minutes in God‘s word. A study Bible can help here (check out the Life Application Study Bible), and you can make your own notes as well about what you are learning and how you plan on living it out.
In addition to daily devotions, now is a great time to grab a book to grow your faith. There are some great ones out there! Some of my favorites are With by Skye Jethani, Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd, Surprised by Hope by NT Wright, and pretty much anything by CS Lewis. Our minds are made to learn. Grab a non-fiction book that interests you and keep your brain active.
Go for a Walk and Soak Up the Sun
I had a friend tell me that his wife ran downstairs thinking he was throwing up. It turned out that he was just working out. She said, “That’s strange; you’ve never done that before!” He added in a workout routine because he knew he needed to stay active. What are you doing to stay active? We all need this. I have been going for walks in the morning, spending time praying and making calls. It’s so good for me to get outside and get some sun. Even if you have to stay home, try to spend some time in your backyard or on your porch, getting some movement in. These things are good for your soul.
Limit Screen Time and Learn to Play
A little bit of TV or video games is good, but too much is draining. We could argue about what “too much” is, but I want to encourage you to limit your screen time, and learn (or re-learn) to really play. When we were younger, we let our imaginations soar. Let’s tap into that again. Bounce a ball. Write a story. Play a board game. Play cards. Learn to have a long conversation with some friends. Play is so important in our lives, and we all need to laugh, especially in times of high stress. Our world sometimes gets so busy that we forget to play. Learn to play again.
Sharing the hope of God is so important especially in these crazy times. When we can’t meet face to face, we have to explore the digital frontier. This means using texting, social media, and even phone calls to invite people to connect to God. It could be posting a Bible verse or an encouraging thought. It could be inviting someone to watch it online service. It could be inviting others into your group that is meeting on video calls. There are so many ideas, and so many people are hungry for the hope of God right now. As we are out there connecting and helping people, don’t be ashamed of the name of Jesus.
Take a Nap
Finally, I want to bless the institution of napping. I am a big fan of naps. I don’t take one every day, but I am not afraid of doing it! As many of us have had our lives interrupted and are living different schedules now, taking a nap can be an incredible blessing. Overall, it’s important to listen to our bodies and know what they need. This doesn’t mean we have to be ruled by our appetites, but it does mean we are aware of what our bodies are telling us. Thank you Jesus for naps!
The Bible says to make the most of our time. This is found in Colossians 4:5, and the original Greek literally means “redeem the time.” Redeeming is taking something of ordinary value and making it worth extraordinary value. God has redeemed us, and with Him we can redeem our everyday lives and make them extraordinary. Dear friends, we are living in a unique time. May we make the most of these times and brace ourselves for the battles ahead.