Without trying to sound too obvious, we are in an unprecedented time. There is nothing in recent history that we can look back to as a guide for how to navigate these days ahead. Not to mention how fast all of this has happened. Within a matter of days, we went from a nation with a healthy and steady economy to a nation that is on the verge of a recession. Schools and businesses have closed, and the world is forced to stay at home without much warning. These are the times where we see everything come to a screeching halt and we quickly can find ourselves without much to do. What we were working on a week ago is no longer an option and leaving our house seems less and less like the best thing to do. We are faced with a choice; we can sit and wait out this season or we can embrace it and be good stewards of the extra time at home that God has given us. I want us to consider together 5 simple ways that we can better use our time during this quarantine.
1. Read God’s Word.
This might seem like a given and if we are followers of Jesus, we should strive to read our Bibles on a daily basis. However, when we are quickly and abruptly thrown out of our routines, having a quiet time with the Lord can easily become the first to go. One simple way we can help in this is to create a new routine. Create some idea of a schedule and look to have your quiet time around the same time every day. If you find you have lots of time, that is wonderful but if not, take just 10 minutes to prayerfully approach God’s Word and look for one key takeaway that the Lord has showed you during this time. I encourage you to write it down in the margin of your Bible or in a journal and reflect on that during the day. By doing these little simple things, I pray that you can have a fruitful quiet time in this chaotic season.
2. Create a Prayer Journal.
We are actively living through history each day. We are experiencing a worldwide phenomenon that generations after us will ask us about as they read their history books. This really is a time we will not want to forget. Not just because of the unique nature, but how God moved and worked during this time. A prayer journal can be a great way to not only help us process out things that happen throughout our day, but also to record our specific prayer requests during this time. This doesn’t have to be hard. Simply get a notebook or journal and start writing. You will be amazed at how the words will begin to flow. Even if you only write a few sentences it will help you, not only better process the world around you, but to help you be more intentional with your prayer life. Imagine being able to prayerfully write down what it is that you are wrestling with and look back one week, one month, one year or many years later only to see how God had His hand in it all along! Let us be intentional during this time with our prayer journals!
3. Read a Spiritually Inspired Book
Taking the time to read can be a hard decision to make in the moment, but one that is always worth it. With the extra time we have now, we can start to crack open some of those dust covered books on the shelf that we have been meaning to read but was never given the chance. Reading spiritually enriching books can not only help pass the time but challenge your brain and heart spiritually on a variety of subjects. Reading does not need to be a daunting task. I believe that one of the main things that can keep people from reading is the hesitation of committing to reading the hundreds of pages in a book. If you take it one page at a time, you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually read. An easy way to start, is by committing to reading 10 pages a day. Just 10 pages. That should take no more than 20 minutes. If you commit to that, you can easily read a 300-page book in roughly a month! Who knows, you might actually find out you enjoy reading! Reading good Christian books can help us find encouragement, helpful insights and help us grow in our walk with Jesus. During this quarantine it will be very easy to binge watch the latest Netflix show, but if we replace even some of that time with reading, it will be a worthwhile investment. Not sure where to start in looking for a Christian book? Click here
4. Be Creative with your family
If you have children of any age, you have likely found yourself spending more time with them within the last few days. As the schools and daycares have closed, your kids are home with you. Parents, how we choose to spend this time with our kids is crucial. Despite the circumstances, we have been given more time with them to teach them, guide them and shepherd them. My wife and I have a toddler who is almost 2, but thinks she is 22. One thing we have found is that she loves to be outside and is up for anything new. Sometimes that means helping her go up and down the back steps 43 times because she finds it to be hilarious that day. I say this, to say that given this extra time with our kids, we must be creative in how we spend our time with them. It will be easy to turn on the TV for most of the day and keep them “at bay.” Yet we are missing a golden opportunity. Yes, you might have to sacrifice some of things you wanted to do, but what you are gaining is well worth it. This doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Intentionally look for ways to spend quality time with your kids at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon when you normally wouldn’t be there. Maybe this is cooking something with them, playing new games, building Legos, going on a walk or joining them in an activity that they enjoy. Whatever it is, don’t waste this precious extra time you have been given with your kids! Lastly, take this time to point them to Jesus. They will inevitably hear various things from friends, the news or anywhere else but take the time to help them spend more time with Jesus. Show them what you learned in your quiet time. Buy them their own devotional book. Pray with them or any number of things. As parents we must look to shepherd our kids through this season.
In our world that never seems to stop moving, we want to rest but often we are unsure how. On top of that, for some of us our world has come to a stop, or at least been flipped upside down and we have been given an opportunity to actually rest. We can spend our time recharging and being refreshed. Yet, where do we start? There is an old saying that says, “If you work with your mind, you rest with your hands. If you work with your hands you rest with your mind.” What this means is that if you spend your days sitting in front of a computer screen one of the best ways you can rest is to do something physical. Maybe that means washing the car, building something or even just going on a walk. This can be a great way to get some needed rest. On the other hand, if you spend your days doing physical labor, sometimes the best ways to rest are with the mind. Maybe that means reading a good book, flipping through a magazine or catching up with a friend. This might not be true of everyone, but it is helpful to use this as a starting point in looking at how to even begin resting during this time. Most importantly we need to rest in Jesus. We do this by recognizing that we are not in control during this time and remembering that He is. While we are not in control, he is always in control and nothing happens outside of his control. There is true rest in recognizing that you are not in charge yet completely trusting the one who is. To wrap it up, we have been given the gift of some extra time during this chaotic season and limited interaction with others. Yet we are responsible for how we are to use it. By God’s grace, we can use our time in a fruitful way, helping us to grow closer to Him. You have been given a choice as to how you are going to use this extra time. Let us look to use it in God honoring ways.