On March 22, 2020, Austin, TX issued a “Shelter At Home” ordinance in our city during the Corona Virus spread. As a result we are encouraged not to leave our homes, unless for essential activities, and as a result we are in our house, or in our PJ’s longer than usual.
In the past, we would have gone throughout the day, or the week, and there might have been passive ways that our heart, soul, mind and strength might have been stirred for the Lord. There might have been a song we heard from someone’s office, there might have been a billboard that peaked our curiosity about the Lord, or even a friendly hello from a passerby might have been a divine hello that we didn’t know we needed. But, these days it seems like we have less of those opportunities, and if we’re not careful we will just keep scrolling our social media or watching re-runs on Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong: having the pace of our day / week slowed down isn’t bad. There are opportunities with family, phone calls with friends, and all those Zoom meetings that so many of us didn’t know existed. But, it seems like there are less opportunities to stumble upon the Lord.
Which means we are going to have to learn some “new ways” of stumbling upon the Lord throughout the day / week. Yes, there is committed devotional time in prayer and Scripture, and those avenues are more important than ever, but here are some ways we can be on the look out for those “passive moments with the Lord.”
- Get out of bed, take showers, and get dressed: What? The Lord isn’t “anti-PJ” but there is a mindset for how we approach the day. It is great to set aside 1-2 days a week to lounge and relax, but if we are not careful we might lull ourselves into some spiritual, mental and emotional dullness.
- Create a routine: You can go hour by hour if you like, or you can go chunk by chunk of your day, but in Scripture we see a pattern of Jesus entering into humanity with a purpose. And, throughout the Gospels we see Jesus giving purpose to those He leads, therefore, we want to mark out our day with purpose.
- Mark out social time in your day / week: If you are in a family, it is going to be easy to stumble into “family time” and sometimes that “stumbling” means we might not get the best of one another, therefore, we want to be mindful when we are gathering with our family. If you happen to live alone during this time, then all the more reason to mark out social time throughout your day / week to set up phone calls, and go on walks with friends. Make note of it, look forward to it, and put your best foot forward in those moments.
- Celebrate the little things: All throughout Scripture we see the importance of celebration. Ecclesiastes 3 is a great reference. But take a few moments to acknowledge what you can celebrate during this time. Yes, there are formal events that might occur like birthdays and anniversaries, but also, look for little things like, “We only got in one argument with our spouse!”
- Mark our formal time with the Lord / local church: During this time it is critical to remember that we are part of a broader body of Christ. Make the worship service as meaningful as possible by putting it on the biggest screen in the house, turning it up loud, getting everyone together and watching on Facebook Watch Party to be with others. It wouldn’t even hurt to throw in an, “Amen” every once in awhile.
- Make the most of those Zoom Meetings with your face: When we are with one another in person there are 100’s of physical cues we are giving to one another about our investment in the conversation / relationship. But, in Zoom, all we have is our face! Therefore, come to those Zoom meetings with your face ready to go. I don’t mean make-up, although that might apply, but I mean come ready to be expressive; smile, nod, blink and go overboard to let people know you are listening and engaged.
How long is this going to last? Our city tells us until April 13th, but it might go longer. It would be easy to just “suck it up” and get through this time, but instead, lets step out in faith and trust that the Lord is at work in ways we couldn’t possibly understand. Let’s open our hearts and mind to the Lord. Let’s surrender ourselves to this “shelter-in-home” as though He is wanting us to slow down and hear from Him. Let’s be careful not to turn to “vegging” out too much during this time, and tune into Him, to listen to Him, and maybe He is going to do something in us that couldn’t have been accomplished otherwise.