COVID-19 has me stuck and I’m bored. Now what?
AM: Early Morning
As we continue to tune in on any news source (e.g., social media, TV, and radio), we can get overly anxious, panicked, and depressed. Sometimes we need to remember that, in the world, the good news is boring, and scary news makes money. We crave to hear good news, something reassuring, something that will get us going for the day, so we can have the confidence we need for tomorrow.
As Christ-followers, God’s grace enables us to breathe in both fear and hope and exhale both fear and hope. We can be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as Paul writes.
Let’s start the day breathing, calming our minds, to tune in to what is true and good before opening up to the many voices online. Some call it meditation; some may call it a moment of silence. Some may read scripture; some will pray. Whatever we do, we breathe first, giving thanks for each breath and resting in God’s grace.
Just because we’re quarantined doesn’t mean we can’t go outside. Research has proven over and over again that some of the best ideas, some of the best moments, come from when we go on a walk. I used to live in Los Angeles where the weather is pretty amazing. I now live in Dallas where Siri is warning me of flash floods later today. But earlier, it wasn’t raining, and I took advantage of a 45-minute stroll with my daughter and my dog. It was on this walk that made me think of the very thing you’re reading.
Go outside. Listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels munch on whatever they munch on. See the beauty of creation. See how the birds sing and eat. See how the flowers bloom. If God can take care of them, how much more will He take care of us? I think I read that sermon somewhere.
PM: Early Afternoon
There’s a difference between resting and recharging. I used to play a lot of games on my phone. My phone would heat up and automatically shut off because it couldn’t take anymore. It needs to cool down. Our bodies need that, too; I would call it rest. But once my phone has cooled down and I power it back on, the battery life is the same or even lower than when it first shut off. If I want my phone to operate in full capacity and with longevity, I’ll need to recharge it.
Our bodies need recharging. What recharges you? Think of some things you can do that after you’re done with the said activity, you can say, “Yep, my battery is full, and I can be even more productive and operate at full capacity.” I find that I am at full capacity when I am present and pleasant to be around. My wife and daughter are great at telling me where I am. I have a better outlook on my day; I am more productive. I give grace to myself when I don’t get something done, and I don’t run to junk food or other bad habits because my body, mind, and soul are at full capacity.
PM: Late Afternoon
Explore with your family, or go explore on your own. My daughter discovered moss growing on a tree on our walk to the park the other day. She quickly learned it wasn’t edible.
Remember you once had the idea to learn the guitar? Everyone did. Remember you had this art project you wanted to do? It’s time to explore by creating, learning, and doing the things you said you were going to do but never “found the time to do it.” Um, let’s be honest, quarantine is synonymous with “I have so much time I don’t know what to do with myself.”
Go explore some books or even reread some books! Maybe it’s time to leave this world and visit some sci-fi/fantasy realm with magic, aliens, and wardrobes. Or befriend the classics—I hear Jane Austen is hilarious.
There are some great books on theology that won’t make your head explode or books written by amazing church leaders that will inspire, challenge, and hopefully, transform you to be the person God has made you to be. Maybe you’re allergic to reading. Have someone read to you through audiobooks—they were paid to do it. Podcasts are great. There are so many to chose from, so go explore your options!
Learn that amazing seafood paella recipe you once saw on Chef’s Table (and then deliver it to me so I can taste it myself). I was at Kroger the other day, and the only thing that was left in stock was seafood.
PM: Early/Late Evening
Don’t Go It Alone
We need people. Isolation isn’t fun. I do strongly believe solitude is important for us, and it’s completely different than what isolation is. Solitude is often the way Jesus chose to recharge. Jesus was socially isolated due to fear. Hours before Jesus’ crucifixion, all of his friends bailed for fear of being arrested and tortured. The religious scribes and Pharisees were afraid of losing their own platform, and the Roman government was afraid of an insurrection. Solitude often inspires love; isolation often breeds fear.
I’m grateful for online means of connecting. I’ve been using FaceTime, Zoom, and Instagram. I was surprised to see how full my heart gets just to see the faces of my co-workers, classmates, friends, and family.
Don’t go it alone doesn’t mean to hole up without any social interaction. And no, I do not believe scrolling through social media and looking at people’s posts fits in the “don’t go it alone” category. Don’t go it alone means laughing together, crying together, sharing together, worshiping together, and praying together in real-time.
Will you join me in a new rhythm? Let us not Netflix our way through this. Let’s not give more power to fear and anxiety than we need to. Instead, let’s breathe more deeply, enjoy the outdoors, thrive when we’re recharged to full capacity, explore with our creativity, and do it all together in real-time.