As we enter the second year of our battle against COVID 19 in this country, more and more people are finding that they are longing to get back to “normal.” Whatever that might be. Despite the fluctuating infection rates and the infancy of the vaccine roll out, people are feeling like a racehorse chomping at the bit, ready to take off running. But before you slip those blinders on and make a break for it, let’s consider a few things first.
First, list the benefits of COVID
This past year has been hard. No doubt about it. But it hasn’t all been bad. Even if you life has been turned completely upside down, if you look carefully, you can see God’s hand at work in your life. It may be that the work was internal instead of external. Maybe you have learned to pray more. Maybe you learned what it truly means to submit yourself to Him. Maybe God showed you some areas that need His healing and restorative hand.
Or it’s possible some of what God did was more tangible in nature. Maybe you spent more time with family. Or maybe you developed a new hobby. Take some time to really reflect and look back over the past year and ask yourself, your spouse and your kids these questions:
- What did I learn about myself this past year?
- What is something new I discovered?
- How have my relationships with others improved?
- How has my relationship with God improved?
- What types of things made me smile?
- What do I appreciate more now?
Next, really think about what your life was like before
Before COVID, life was full, too full for many families. The sheer number of activities that many children were involved in was staggering. Even those parents who felt committed to family time, often found themselves relegated to chauffer as their kids were shuttled between school, sports, lessons and youth group. I specifically remember one day a couple of years ago when I made 6 round trips to our local high school in one day. Six. That’s crazy.
Take a moment and really remember those feelings. That frenetic pace. That dependency on Google calendar to tell you when to stay, go, eat and sleep. Really remember. I’m afraid if we don’t, we will forget. Just like the Israelites did in the desert. They complained to Moses that the wilderness was too hard and they begged to go back to the “good old days” when they had endless pots of meat and bread to eat (Exodus 16:2-3). Their present troubles caused them to forget that they were enslaved in Egypt. Slaves. Yet they wanted to go back.
Yes, this wilderness of COVID that we are in is hard. Yes it is long. But going back to a time when we were slaves to our schedules is not the answer. We need to do what Moses did. He kept His eyes on the Lord who led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Even in these desert times, God’s presence warms, illuminates shelters and protects us. We just need to be looking in the right direction to what lies ahead, not behind.
Finally, fight to protect what you have gained
Time is a precious resource. You can always make more money but you cannot make more time. It’s a finite resource and for families it is one of the most valuable. As activities and opportunities open up again, there are going to be all sorts of competitors of that precious resource. I want to challenge you to change how you think of time. Think of it as a fragile vase – shared only with those who will appreciate its value, will respect its importance to you and will hand it back when they are done with it. When thinking about what to add back in ask yourselves these questions:
- Will this activity/event benefit the family as a whole?
- Why am I considering this?
- Do I feel pressure to say yes?
- What do I fear will happen if I say no?
- What will I have to give up to say yes to this? Is it worth it?
- What will be the emotional/spiritual implications of taking this on?
- Have I prayed about it?
These are just a few tools to help you think through this wonderful opportunity. Yes. It really is wonderful. We are all at a crossroads. COVID has handed us a “reset button.” Let’s make the most of it by looking ahead with hope and expectation, not behind us with longing for that which enslaved us.Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay