LeRoy and I sheltered into complete isolation on March 12th—no little ones coming to visit, no contact with anyone else, our son and friends leaving groceries at our front door (which I spray down with Lysol before bringing inside). It may sound extreme, but after living with someone whose body has been ravaged by antibodies going haywire, I’m doing all I can to practice preventative measures and wise caregiving.
Many of you are experiencing isolating lifestyles similar to what we’ve lived now for a few years, but the strangeness of this isolation is compounded by the tidal wave of Pandemic news and reports. Knowing that this new way of life can be a bit challenging, I decided to share with you a few things that I’ve been passing onto friends and loved ones (as well as a few of my LifeChange clients) and thought you might find these helpful, so here we go, with 7 suggestions for finding joy in this season of isolating:
1. Plant your heart in solid truth.
There’s information that we need in order to react wisely, but there is also much that is inciting panic. Be informed, but don’t become obsessed and overwhelmed with an abundance of Covid-19 news. Choose wisely how you spend your time right now, and more than ever we need to bathe our hearts in truth.
One great way to begin your morning is by watching this new video-cast from Revive Our Hearts ministries: Grounded: A daily infusion of Hope & Perspective. It’s hosted by my dear friends, Dannah Gresh and Erin Davis—two women who are passionate about sharing the truth of the Word and providing you with practical help during this life-altering event.
Just click here to reach the daily episodes, and if you want to watch it live each weekday morning, you can join them at 9:00 a.m., ET, just like I’m doing!
2. While in isolation, don’t isolate.
Be intentional in using this rare opportunity to bond more deeply as a family. Have fun and enjoy each other by competing in board games, putting together puzzles, reading a book, taking walks, doing a Bible study together, working on new recipes, or consider tackling a hobby you’ve never tried before. But also, look for ways to minister to others as a family.
If your little ones are separated from their grandparents, work on a letter filled with pictures, send out “Missing You” or encouragement cards to friends or relatives that you haven’t seen in a while. Are there elderly people in your church or community who you might be able to run errands for, or drop groceries and supplies at their door? Use this time to be creative in reaching out to others. Just because we’re in isolation, doesn’t mean we have to isolate.
3. Get outside!
Now that spring is showing up in some parts of our country, look for opportunities to find outdoor adventures. I like to go on what I call, a “Beauty Hunt” where I look for any signs of artistry from our Creator: vivid colors, rugged or smooth textures (like thick moss), unusual designs in plant life or the interesting world of insects. Breath some fresh air. It’s dangerous to stay cooped up with the Pandemic for too long—I’m not suggesting getting in crowds, but find spaces to safely move outdoors and enjoy the sunshine or rain shower. Listen to the birds, feel a breeze, and take time to thank the Creator for the changing of seasons and spring’s reminder that He makes all things new.
4. Set a trajectory of joy before the day begins.
You might find it tempting to sleep in right now, but be intentional with the early morning moments to prepare your heart for the day before chaos takes over. It’s vitally important to meet with God by getting into the Word and letting Him know how very much you need His help for all that will come your way. My responsibilities and the future unknowns never look as threatening and ominous once I go to the Father of comforts and sit in His presence a good while—before all the distractions of the day hit. I can’t stress this enough—getting to God in the first moments of the day, sets the course for the rest of your day.
5. Set a schedule, but be flexible.
If you’ve ever been any type of caregiver, you quickly learn that a regular schedule prevents many disasters. If you’ve suddenly found yourself at home with a houseful of children who’re normally at school for most of the day, you’ve got a brand new challenge on your hands. It’s vitally important to sit down and have a family planning session to map out a productive (and fun) daily schedule (and depending on how long the “sheltering in place” lifestyle is the new norm, you may need to hold these meetings frequently).
Schedule educational activities, games, rest, chores, exercise, and meal times. Your day will flow easier when everyone knows the expectations and understands why you’ve set the schedule in place. But, hold the schedule with an open hand—flexibility right now is important. We’re living in unprecedented times and that means that we all need to approach each day with an awareness that things can change in an instant and we need to be ready to adjust.
6. Monitor your news intake.
After the first day of sitting far too long in front of news reports, I learned that it wasn’t a helpful exercise for me. We need to be informed, we need to be knowledgeable about what is going on around us—but we can easily become consumed by all the media is pumping out. And too much media consumption can fuel worrisome anxieties. Now is the perfect time to pull out some of those books that are sitting on your nightstand or stuck in your to-do list. There are plenty of good resources being pumped out through blog sites and ministries right now. Take advantage of some incredible free stuff from several different ministries by clicking on this post from Tim Challies.
7. Take advantage of this opportunity to unite with other believers.
This is an unprecedented event for us. Never before have we had the opportunity to devote our Sundays to family worship while joining with believers, across the globe, in experiencing online worship services together right from our home. We’re “sheltering in place” but praying, singing, studying the Word in online services with believers who are experiencing the same trial in every part of the world. LeRoy and I are enjoying viewing many different online messages that are delivered specifically in the context of this crisis that we’re all facing together. As the body of Christ, we are all united by the suffering. We are joining in the experience of believers around the world who’ve been devastated by the same virus that is impacting our lives. It isn’t what we would’ve chosen as a vehicle to unite us, but that is one good thing the Coronavirus has accomplished.
Although our world may seem to be in pandemonium today, we can rest assured that God is not alarmed. He upholds the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3) and He is trustworthy.
“When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars.” (Psalm 75:3)
How are you doing during this season of isolation? How can we pray for you?
Photo Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash