For the past couple of weeks, I have seen conflicting messages on social media about how we should spend our time during COVID-19. People are telling us to “seize the day,” and become better, faster, stronger, and happier during this current season. Basically, do ALL the things; and if we don’t do ALL thing things then maybe we never really wanted to do them after all. Others are encouraging us to slow down. They remind us that we aren’t meant to hustle all the time; we should take this time rest and savor. Basically, stop trying to fill every single hour with something. I can see the value of both perspectives. I have made a mental list of ways I can make this prolonged time at home more useful. Organize that closet, clean out my pantry, etc. Other times, I want to take part in the world’s slowing down. Read a book, or put my hands to work on a puzzle or craft, with a generous mug of tea or glass of wine. Spend more time in prayer and reflection. To allow myself to rest and just BE. To enjoy living life.
So, which is it?
Which is the best course of action for us to leave our time of quarantine less frazzled than when we came into it? Do we take advantage of the flexible schedule and hustle, or do we linger and allow ourselves to feel the shift and process all that it means?
Friend, I think the answer is to do whatever feels right in your heart for you to do.
Tune out the shouting voices of the world and listen for the still small voice to guide you.
If you feel a quickening in your spirit that NOW is the time to move towards fulfilling your purpose, then seize the opportunity. Work hard, but set boundaries to include things you love to do. If you have been feeling frayed around the edges for much too long, then now is the time for you to rest guilt free, friend. Allow yourself to breathe, allow yourself to be loved by God, trusting in His love in all seasons.
Truthfully, regardless of whether or not you find this to be a hustle season or a rest season, moving the needle towards more balance is a healthy goal. (Keep in mind that balance does not mean a perfect schedule.) The LAST thing that any of us needs during a global pandemic is to have a massive guilt trip about productivity. Friends, let’s not put any more pressure on ourselves than we would if there wasn’t a stay at home order. This has nothing to do with laziness, but it does point us to Sabbath.
I listen to the BEMA Podcast hosted by Marty Solomon and Brent Billings, and it examines the Bible within historical and cultural contexts. I love the definition of Sabbath presented in one of the earliest episodes: “we rest, we play, no work, God loves us.” They reminds listeners that God loves us regardless of circumstances, accomplishments, or even an ordered life. I love this. How often do we think that God’s love for us is based upon what we do or how much we accomplish? How wonderful to be reminded of the truth that we are loved simply for being His beloved.
Today you and I have a choice:
We can stop,
Be still and breathe.
Rest with Jesus and hear him whisper,
Be beloved, not busy. Come away with me. Today. – Day Three, Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray
This week’s encouraging read is Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul, by Bonnie Gray. Whether you are in a quiet season due to stay at home orders or continuing to work, this devotional will invite you on a journey of resting in God’s presence without agenda. Beautifully written, Whispers of Rest walks us through forty days of unhurried experience in becoming the beloved of Christ. This devotion is unique in that each day is composed of a scripture and passage reading, reflection questions to apply the Word to your life, and a prayer. Bonnie also includes Soul Care Tips that invite rest and increase joy. I especially love the prompts to enjoy nature and art. It was nice to read that looking at photographs of happy memories can increase our joy in the present. Although I’d already read this book a while back, I recently decided to pick it up again for a second read. I can’t wait to slow down and receive spiritual, emotional, and physical rest.
So go forth and dream, if that’s what your heart is calling you to do. Whatever you choose, choose to rest in God, knowing that we are His beloved, regardless of our output or accomplishments during this time.
You are loved.