September 14, 2020
Weekly Reflection – Change, Choices and COVID-19
Change, Choices and COVID-19, these are challenging days of change for everyone. Millions of people around the world are sharing the COVID-19 pandemic experience. We are painfully aware, especially at times such as this, that change is a constant in our lives. How has your life changed in the past six months?
I recently read that the choices you make during times of change will either destroy you or make you; in either case, the choices you make will define you. How shall you manage your life during this time of change? This Reflection lists some simple suggestions for how one might more effectively approach meaningful change. Follow them, and, in the end, you may even come out of it stronger than you were before.
Blessings and peace,
“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NET)
Don’t waste a crisis.
Nike has coined the slogan, “Just do it.” The first thing to do in such an unprecedented time as this, is just to do something. That is, find something productive to do, something you may not have done had the crisis not come upon us.
Many of us are literally being forced to be idle at home. Times like this are an opportunity to think about our lives and how we might do things differently in the future. An idle mind often leads to mental health issues such as anxiety, fear, or depression. On the other hand, doing something meaningful can heighten our energy if we view it as worthwhile, value-added work. Put another way, concentrate on where God longs for you to serve, and that will be the most effective work you can do. It will no longer feel like “idle work.”
Strive to live out a fulfilled spiritual life.
Many of our lives have, in the past, been consumed by multiple activities. Multitasking was the mode of the day. And this is somewhat natural. But this is not a natural time. It may be akin to reading a new novel about life. One wonders if social distancing might become the “new normal;” if so, scheduling time for spiritual life-building can become part of the solution to filling the void. Concentrate on tasks that bring fulfillment and increase joy and peace, particularly those that grow your spiritual life – rather than merely doing activities to fill the time. Read the Bible and spiritual books, pray, and contemplate. Seek time in nature. Take in a particularly beautiful sunset. Listen to the birds in the early morning. Help others.
View the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity, rather than just a challenge.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a mammoth challenge, the existential part of change itself is an equal stressor amid all specific stressors. Once again, I go back to the adage of “Don’t waste a good crisis.” Herein is the glass half-full versus half-empty of changing one’s perspective. Another adage goes, “A person’s perception is his/her reality.” Sometimes change can be tilted toward a silver lining and that things aren’t as bad as they seem to be. One way to be prepared for the best or the worst-case scenarios is to see the opportunities amid the challenges.
A story was once told of a famous inventor whose laboratory blew up. But when asked about the bad in the situation, it was said that he replied, “Good, all my mistakes have been erased.” If COVID-19 can be seen as an opportunity, then look for the opportunities that may come to you. A friend of mine’s initial reaction to any bad news is, “I’m so thankful…!” She can find something good in any of life’s events. Can you?
Look for the good that you can do to help others.
Think about small acts you can do to brighten someone else’s day. Every drop of water makes and ocean when added together. Think of donations to those impacted by natural disasters. Think of playing games or music with neighbors from a distance. Think of telephone calls and cards to keep others connected. Making them happy will make you happier.
Watch for ways to grow and learn.
During this time, some families are joining church services through online streaming, and others are even attending drive-in services. While perhaps not as effective as face to face worship, these alternatives are giving congregations and their attendees new ways to be involved in worship. We could use some outside-the-box thinking, and a crisis such as this might afford that opportunity. I am enamored with the potential for attending virtual church services that are being held across the world in vastly different cultures. Open my eyes, Lord.
Don’t become a couch potato.
It times like this, it is easy to simply sit back and rest (all day) on one’s sofa. I’ve found that taking ten minutes each hour to do some form of physical activity is helpful. This may take the form of formal exercise or simply walking to the post box. Usually, that is combined with some form of spiritual activity, like reading a short passage of scripture or listening to Christian music. It is a blessing to be able to rest on the sofa, but as has been said, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.
Note: The content of this Reflection, Change, Choices and COVID-19, has been liberally edited by the Chaplain for NationsUniversity from an article by Lynne S. Gots, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice in Washington, D.C.
Read more Weekly Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner