Recognizing that without exception, each of us has been impacted by COVID-19, I want to hop onto the advice wagon and give you my “two-cents” worth. I admit some major bias here because I believe this pandemic is for our good. My heart aches for the families who have lost loved ones and for those suffering from its damaging effects. You are in my prayers. Yet, whether your workload is now overwhelmed or you are going stir crazy at home, all of us are being challenged and invited to a “new way of living” which can be to our benefit – if we take advantage of it.
So, here are just a few of my observations:
1. Toilet paper is the least of our worries. What about the other crap that is clinging to our hearts and bodies? There are the real sicknesses for which we need cleansing. These need to “wiped” from our lives (sorry about that!?!): Unforgiveness. Sloth. Uncontrolled tongue. Ego-centrism. Lust. Anxiety. Selfishness. Anger. Impatience. Pride. Thoughtlessness. Anxiety. Harshness. Ignorance. Vanity. Indifference. Deceit. Despair. Control. Wastefulness. Dominance. Lying. Disobedience. Prayerlessness. Self-righteousness. Blustering. Excess. Drunkenness. Talkativeness. Contempt. Fear. Worry. Laziness. Sensuality. Cheating. Stealing. Judgmentalism (my personal favorite!?!).
Here’s a practical way to help you cleanse yourself of these vices. Every time you wash your hands (frequently, I hope!) remind yourself of the internal filth that needs to be cleansed. As you wash (20 seconds, please) pray over and over: “Lord, cleanse me of my ________________.” If nothing specific is on your mind (what?!) then insert “sin.” Take advantage of this time to wash yourself of thoughts, words, or actions which are far from Christ.
I did this a few minutes ago. Hey, it works! As I washed my hands I prayed for cleansing from a particular sin that has deep roots in my heart. There was a sense of forgiveness and communion with God that was palpable. Since we’re being asked to wash our hands regularly, make this prayer time a new habit.
2. This time provides many opportunities for healing of body and soul.
Simplicity – eliminate from your schedule and life, in general, the distractions and preoccupations that keep you from attending to your relationship with God.
Silence – insert into your day (since you have more time now) times of quiet in order to focus your heart and mind on Jesus Christ. Instead of filling extra time with TV news or entertainment, invest time in God’s presence.
Solitude – sequestered at home, get comfortable with “alone-with-God” time. Designate an area/place where you’ll meet God in solitude. Let your family know that this place and time are sacred and then show up there daily. If possible, sit outside or walk the neighborhood, keeping to yourself and God. Place your mind into your heart where the Trinity dwells and all is calm.
Slowing – learn to move deliberately, thoughtfully, and habitually in God’s grace. Develop daily rhythms that feed your body and soul with His life-giving energy.
“You are what you habitually do.” Take advantage of these days to develop new habits which will transform you into a new being.
3. We are being challenged to develop AWARENESS. We are supposed to do certain things that will curtail the spread of the virus – wash hands frequently, practice social distancing, boost the immune system, eat healthy food, and care for the needs of others – most of which we should be doing anyway. However, we need to heighten our attentiveness to these actions. We need to be aware of what we are doing, to whom, when, why, and how.
Sharpen your mind to how you are living and relate this to your spiritual life.
Take advantage of these directives by taking them further inward. Think about your desires, pay attention to your thoughts, and observe your actions. What are they telling you about your self? Self-knowledge is a necessary and wonderful gift. But it is also a process. We need to be radically but realistically honest with ourselves. And as we are, the Holy Spirit will open our hearts and minds to a better understanding of our own faults and welfare. Then, the healing process can continue.
In all actuality, this is a time for repentance – a call to return to God with our whole being and away from what we thoughtlessly give our lives to. Will you answer the call?
These are challenging days. Yet, we can navigate them with confidence in a lovingly faithful, wise God who “makes all things work together for good” and “never leaves us nor forsakes us.” We can gain a perspective that’s not limited to our physical concerns. We can use the focus on bodily health and deepen it to focus on our spiritual health.
Let’s walk an uncommon journey, allowing ourselves to be transformed in the midst of this timely struggle.
Let me know what you think by commenting below.