Today, as I accomplish random tasks during quarantine, I came across an old to-do list. It included signing my son up for golf lessons and for art camp for the summer. It made me pause. Will our near future include sports or group activities? I was planning to attend a writing conference next month, one that I had been looking forward to for two years. It is indefinitely postponed, just like the rest of our lives. Pending. Waylaid. Held up. My packed calendar, dotted with coffee dates and meetings and deadlines is now all null and void. I’m not even attempting to reschedule, which is perhaps the most disheartening part. There is no real end in sight.
My once full calendar in now startlingly empty. As if someone took it and dumped it upside down and time scheduled for friends, work, school activities, group Bible studies and writing in a bustling coffee shop all came tumbling out and slipped away… just like that. One day I was worried about having enough time and then seemingly overnight, wondering what to do with all the extra time.
The Quarantine Has Created a New Normal
While none of us have experienced an almost nation-wide quarantine, many of us have had our lives changed overnight. I know I have. More than once. Sometimes we see it coming. Perhaps a move or a divorce or a sick loved one. We know change is coming. It’s not always bad either. A marriage, a baby, a new career path. Our lives are one thing and then the next day they are another.
The sudden changes are the most shocking. A few years ago, I had texted about plans with one of my best friends for later that day—but later that day, I would be standing next to her hospital bed. I never got the chance to talk with her again. It all happened so breathtakingly fast.
Perhaps you have had something sudden like this in your life? You have found yourself looking around and saying, now what? What does my life look like going forward? How do I pick up the pieces or find my new normal? How do I rebuild?
Our lives have been changed almost overnight. All the liberties we’ve enjoyed; so thanklessly gone. School and work to now be conducted from the walls of our homes. So many of us woke finding our roles changed from homework helpers to full-time teachers in a live-in school where nobody ever leaves. We wade through history lessons and confusing math problems, pretending to know obscure elementary English grammar rules, while secretly looking up plural possessives.
I have great ideas of writing a book or organizing the junk drawer that doesn’t even really open anymore. And yes, I have seen your posts online—quarantine day 2: organized all my closets; quarantine day 3: taught the kids to play the mandolin and grow our own sweet basil. Yet, I feel like showering and making the bed is a win for the day.
Sudden change brings out different sides in all of us. Many of you will rise to the occasion and color coordinate your homeschool folders, while my dog has walked over ours with muddy feet at least 3 times now (and I write little sorry notes to the teacher in the margin). But I’m sorry about so much more than a muddy dog print. I’m sorry I’m not a teacher or an organizer; I’m sorry I’m not using this forced time at home to achieve more around my home or write a book (although there still may be time). Apparently, not having enough time was not the real problem.
What is on your new to-do list?
As more and more is stripped away, I find there is less and less to distract me from what I really should be doing; and it’s not teaching or writing or cleaning or even panicking. It’s seeking God. Long prayers where I lay it all out—the way I do on coffee dates with friends. Time spent in study, deep study where I doggedly sniff out the meaning layered in the ancient words. And just time at His feet, waiting for healing in my heart and direction in my life.
Related Post: Wait Just a Minute
Who is God? Where is He in this? How is it with my whole city shut down, basically my life outside of this house, that I’m still distracted from doing what I need to do? Somehow I’m still focused on the wrong things. God says… Know Me. Trust Me. But I’m distracted by my worry of what this all means.
Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. – Psalm 143:8
I have been studying the books of Kings and seeing how Israel turned its back on God and chased after other gods. What gods have we chased as a nation? What have I chased personally? Is this a time of calling us back? A time of taking away our idols? Sports. Beauty. Money. Success. Family. I have sat in the dark of my bedroom and asked God to show me where I have gone astray. Where is my heart off? Where have I let things creep in?
I believe the world is (has) changed in a very fundamental way and I want to emerge from this time ready for what awaits. I pray that I will “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…” and that it will keep me steadfast and rooted. I think more will be asked of me. More confidence in what the Word of God says, more boldness in my life and quick, ready answers for those who ask, why I follow God’s words.
I hope in many ways this does change me. That it teaches me to trust in the Lord more. I found my weak spots in this very quickly. How about you? I read the Word and I pray like I mean it (because I do), but yet worry sneaks in like a tick, unnoticed. It digs in deeper each day trying to poison my faith. I need to treat it like the invasive demon bug that it is. I need to pluck it out with cold, hard tweezers. With precision and purpose, dropping everything else I’m doing and dig it out before it causes real and lasting damage.
What do you need to go after?
- What is God calling you to during this time?
- Know His Word.
- Pray like it changes things.
- Teach your kids (family/friends) the most important homeschool lesson of all.
- Minister to others.
- Who will you be after all this is over? The same or someone different?