The past month has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. COVID-19 has people scratching their heads in awe.
We’ve been encouraged to fist bump rather than shake hands, maintain a distance of at least six feet from persons other than household members, watch virtual worship services rather than attend church, wear masks to cover our mouth and nose, sanitize our hands often, keep Lysol disinfectant spray and wipes handy, clean hard surfaces that are touched frequently, avoid all rest areas and truck stops while driving, consider virtual nonemergency medical appointments when needed; telework if you can, avoid hospitals, nursing homes, other health-care facilities, and my list could go on and on.
Over the course of the past weeks, we’ve had to adjust to a new normal. We’ve been separated, isolated and forced to practice social distancing.
If you are in the category of those who are no longer able to go to work and you don’t have the option of working at home, or if your hours have been reduced, what are you doing with your time? How are you spending those extra hours you’ve been afforded? In your social distancing, have you disconnected?
Although we have been encouraged to distance ourselves from others physically, I want to encourage you to use this time to make some meaningful social and spiritual connections. I’ve shared this before but it’s worth repeating: There are three people in life who are important, God, family and true friends, and today, I’m adding a fourth, which I will address first.
The first connection I’d like to encourage you to make is with yourself. Give yourself some “me-time.” “Me-time” can be therapeutic. Me time can be enlightening. And me time can be refreshing. Some of us are so busy that we seldom have time to spend time taking care of ourselves. Now is just as good a time as any to do it. Spend some time journaling and reflecting on where you are in life, and where you want to be. Spend some time speaking into your own spirit and over your own life. The psalmist David spoke to himself when he said, “Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.” So, spend some time with yourself.
The next person I’d like to encourage you to spend time with is God. One of the best gifts you can give to yourself is up-close and personal time with your creator. Have you ever wanted to share something with someone but you didn’t want anyone else to know? Well, there are times when God will have something to tell you, but he needs to get you by yourself so he can have your undivided attention. With God, you never have to be socially distant.
You see, unlike man, God is a spirit who is omnipresent, which means he’s everywhere at the same time. God is with you even as you read this column, and he would really like for you to commit some of your time to him. It’s not hard; he wants to talk to you and for you to talk to and listen to him. And this is the perfect time to do it. You spend time with him by reading his word and seeking him in prayer. The Bible says that “some things only come by fasting and praying.” Why don’t you take some of this time that you have and spend it with God? Get in the right relationship with him. He doesn’t care about you having religion, he wants to establish a relationship.
The next people you should consider spending time with is your family. There are people living in the house with you, and although you’re there together every day, you spend time in separate rooms, watching separate TVs or doing separate activities. Parents are sleeping, children are playing, teens are on social media and spouses are out in the yard. Everybody is doing their own thing.
The Bible, our blueprint for living, says, “Husbands, love your wives. … Children, obey your parents. …” Those scriptures are talking about the importance of family. Love is not only what it says, but it’s also what it does. You have to say and do something to share your love. Social distancing isn’t even a requirement for your hour household, but for some, your household was dysfunctional before social distancing. Why don’t you use this time to repair, rebuild and restore family relationships?
The final group I’d like to encourage you to spend time with are your friends. Although you can’t visit, you can write a letter, send a text, make a phone call or perhaps video chat. There are many ways to connect. You have friends who are single and home alone. A phone call or a text from you could possibly change their lives.
The point I’m trying to make is relationships are important, and during this time of social distancing, we should make it a priority to avoid being socially disconnected. When we disconnect our batteries from our cars, they no longer crank. If your phone is disconnected, you can no longer make a call. If your electricity is disconnected, you no longer have lights. If a limb is disconnected from a tree, it will no longer grow. The connection is what allows the car, the phone, the lights and the limb to function properly.
My friends, during this season of social distancing, make time to nurture your relationships with yourself, God, your family and your friends.