It’s amazing how life can change so quickly. The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed life as we know it, at least for the immediate future. No sports. No school. No extracurricular activities. Closed businesses. Remote work. Online classes. Virtual church. The list could go on and on. With such a litany of changes and cancellations, it’s no longer newsworthy to report on what events and activities are canceled, but what activities have not been canceled.
And with all of these changes also comes new vocabulary. One of the new terms we have learned over the past week is “social distancing.” A simple Google search of the term returns 207 million results. 207 million. A term that I had never heard of seven days ago. In case you’re not familiar with the term, social distancing means to minimize contact with people in order to stop or slow the spread of a highly contagious disease. Ways to practice social distancing include avoiding large gatherings, staying at least six feet away from others, and staying home as much as possible.
Social distancing is our new normal for now. While it is certainly an inconvenience, I believe it is a necessary inconvenience. But, I also believe Romans 8:28, in which Paul declares, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” So, in spite of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, I believe God will work our social distancing for our good. If we don’t waste it. Here are several ways to make sure you don’t waste your social distancing:
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Rest
If you are like the rest of us, our lives were quite busy before the pandemic. Over the past month, I traveled over 2,000 miles to different conferences and trainings. I worked for almost two weeks straight without a day off. I participated in multiple meetings. I took my kids to several extracurricular activities and events, and we were gearing up for a busy baseball season. I was ready to watch too much college basketball and see my bracket get busted on the first day.
But all of that changed in the blink of an eye. Social distancing has cleared the bulk of my calendar. And it probably had a similar effect on yours as well.
In the creation account in Genesis, we read about how God completed His creative work in six days, and rested on the seventh. In doing so, He provided a pattern for us to follow. We are finite beings. We need rest. And if you are like me, I wasn’t getting the rest that I should. But social distancing has provided the opportunity to rest. Therefore, don’t waste your social distancing.
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Spend Time With the Lord
My church is reading through the Bible together this year. While I have been fairly consistent to read the Word daily, those times have often felt rushed as I quickly moved on to my To Do list for the day. Maybe you have had a similar experience of rushing through your personal Bible reading, or maybe you have struggled to spend time reading God’s Word consistently at all. But your social distancing can change that. Instead of using your extra free time to binge another show on Netflix or spend even more time on social media, use it to spend some consistent and unhurried time in God’s Word. Social distancing has provided the opportunity to do so. Therefore, don’t waste your social distancing.
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Spend Time With Your Family
My wife and I have been married for almost 18 years. We have two kids, ages 10 and 8. So, we spend a lot of time running from one extracurricular activity to the next. We tried to spend quality time together, but I was usually too tired from all of my other activities to classify it as “quality” family time. We were in the same room at times, but that was about it. We tried to have a family movie night every Friday, but other activities often crowded it out. But not so anymore.
Social distancing has provided the opportunity for me to spend much more quality time with my family. For the past five nights, my oldest son and I have had some epic indoor Nerf basketball tournaments in our game room. Our family has had multiple movie nights in the past week. My wife and I have spent more quality time together. And if you have other people living in your home, you can take advantage of the extra time with them as well. Social distancing has provided the opportunity to have more quality time with those we love. Therefore, don’t waste your social distancing.
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Pursue a Hobby
When people ask me about my hobbies, I usually answer by saying, “Watching sports.” The truth is, I didn’t really have time for a hobby. But, that has changed in recent days. I love to write, and social distancing has allowed me to do so. Maybe writing is not your thing. Maybe it’s scrapbooking. Or quilting. Or gardening. Or reading a good book. Or learning how to play a musical instrument. The possibilities are endless. But the reality is that social distancing has provided the opportunity for you to pursue a hobby. Therefore, don’t waste your social distancing.
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Encourage Others
We may not be able to see one another face to face. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t pick up the phone and call a loved one. Maybe you can write them a handwritten letter, or record a video to send to them. You definitely can pray for them. Social distancing has provided the opportunity to encourage others, especially in an uncertain time like we are in right now. Therefore, don’t waste your social distancing.
Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Be Creative
These are just a few ways to make sure that you don’t waste your social distancing. But there are many others. Be creative and think of various ways to spend your time! Just don’t spend it mindlessly scrolling through social media. That would be such a waste.