The springtime months of 2020 were supposed to be busy. While all the events on my calendar were good things, still, it was packed to the brim, and I had little margin for rest. In fact, for the week following the Final Big Event chiseled into my planner, I had penciled in “Slip into a coma.” And then, a month before my anticipated collapse, the Lord wiped my calendar clean. My best-laid plans were scuttled in the onrush of a global pandemic.
As it happens, a clear calendar and government-mandated quarantine do not guarantee a calm heart and mind. Inactivity does not equal rest. Days and weeks of inactivity may still be filled with the restlessness of worry and fear. A multitude of concerns, whether sparked by the virus or other circumstances, threaten to fill my days and keep me awake at night.
The rest that I need—that we all need—cannot be found in settled plans, an empty calendar, or even the safety and well-being of my family. We need rest that doesn’t deny these very real concerns, but one that places them in more capable hands than our own. We need rest that entrusts ourselves and our loved ones to the God who made us and loves us and has planned for yesterday, this day, and all our tomorrows from before the beginning of the world…
As Covid-19 continues its march across our globe, through our land, into our homes, conforming our lives to its harsh realities, I’m learning where I choose to allow my mind to rest is the only place to find soul rest as well.
In March when stay-@-home became the new reality, we received a letter referencing that popular phrase from a few years ago, What would Jesus do? The writer suggested changing it to, What is Jesus doing – in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many good things were happening. Jesus was at work. Our governors made decisions to protect their citizens. Companies offered to retrofit their plants to manufacture ventilators and protective gear for our hospitals. Volunteers across America sewed masks. People bought groceries and ran errands for those at-risk.
Caring and kindnesses were happening— and still are.
The question morphed in my mind: What should I be doing? How can I help?
In March, God led me to five answers, five ways to experience soul rest. As the restrictions of stay-@-home were relaxed (in Colorado, our governor is now saying safer-@-home), God continues to define how I think about my question. Now my answers, although similar, are not the same as in March…
I spend most of my life in a decade old minivan that has seen better days. The calendar is normally crammed-full of activities for my four children, ages 7-12, and we are constantly running from one thing to the next. At the end of the school day, I work to get everyone fed and off to baseball, soccer, dance, therapy, etc. (On the days I work as a substitute teacher at their school, the chaos only multiplies.) I often feel like one of those hamsters running around the wheel and getting nowhere.
This was our reality until we were told to stay home. I know that we are not alone in having our lives turned upside down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our family is practicing social distancing, and almost overnight I have turned into a homeschool mom of four. Games and practices are cancelled. Our reality has rapidly changed. It’s like a record spinning around and around and someone takes the needle off, causing the music to come to a screeching halt.
It’s quiet. I don’t mean volume wise—there are four extroverted children living here—but activity-wise, it is quiet. We don’t have anywhere to be and nothing on the to-do list but thick packets full of school-work. It’s an alternate reality. My head is less full of schedules, and to be honest, it’s been nice.
My pastor-husband recorded a Facebook Live for our congregation asking us to consider a question that has resonated with my heart: How we can invest our time of social distancing instead of just biding our time? I have prayerfully considered how the Lord wants me to spend this time with Him. God has us in a season very different than our usual, so what can I learn from this time?..
SHARI THOMAS|CONTRIBUTOR I walked out of the apartment onto our busy sidewalk when a surge of fear rushed through me. “Did I get dressed today?” Thankfully, the only issue was my shirt, on inside out. On some occasions, I’ve forgotten a perfectly good meal, only to discover it a few days later still in the… Read More
HEATHER NELSON | CONTRIBUTOR I’ve long viewed rest as a luxury that I couldn’t afford. I was too busy. I’m a part-time counselor/writer/speaker, pastor’s wife, and a mom of young children. When was there time to rest? Rest seemed indulgent, until it became a necessity when I hit burnout in the fall of 2015. God… Read More