I have raised three kids from infant to school aged so far. We are in this deliciously sweet spot where independence meets innocence. No one has social media or a significant other and yet they can all get themselves ready for the day and bed and, well, you get the picture. Beautiful! But I very clearly remember the days when any one of my children had had insufficient sleep and needed a nap, yet fought it like Custer’s Last Stand. The whining and fit throwing that only displayed outwardly their desperate need for inward rest. Despite what meltdown occurred, there was inevitably a release and surrender that resulted in sleep. Rest.
My life was traveling at a pretty good clip in the early days of March. It was ramping up to be the busiest 2 months of my entire year. Between spring sports, after school activities, end of (school) year programs, and my own part time jobs, our family basically sprints to June. Like many people, our norm has been drastically disrupted. I am grateful that my husband is still working, and any issues we are currently dealing with are tertiary to the more pressing effects this pandemic is having. I venture to guess there are many in my situation. I would love to share a few things I’ve learned over the past week.
There is a difference between information consumption and information obsession.
When our activities began shutting down, I felt like I needed to be glued to my phone to check email, text messages, and social media. I wanted to be in the know about the minute-by-minute changes that were taking place around the world and in my little world as well. This, however, turned into a constant craving for the latest tidbit. The tipping point, for me, was when I realized I was running to information first thing in the morning. I would open my phone apps to check for any new news before anything else. This craving felt urgent and real. I needed the info.
How did I course correct?
I confessed. This is an important part of course correction. In Psalms 51 we are given a display of a contrite heart when David cries out to the Lord to have mercy for his transgressions. He asks to be cleansed and made pure and renewed. I encourage you to read the whole chapter when you get a chance.
There is something special that happens when we spend time confessing our sins to God. It clears out the space in our heart and makes room for an exchange. We have named the junky thing that has taken up residence in our heart and this allows God to sweep it away.
What I needed was something to take the place of that ravenous craving for information. I knew in my heart the only thing I truly needed was time with Him first thing in the morning. I asked for a fresh hunger for Him. The next morning, I actually woke with a song running through my mind that spoke of repentance and running to Him. I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and had the instant urge to open it up. But I didn’t. Instead, I took it down to the living room and opened up my Bible. Now, I could have opened the Bible app, but until I could demonstrate self control, I felt it best to stick with my tangible Bible. There is a discipline component to this even if it starts with a spiritual shift. I am learning that in times of uncertainty, my flesh wants things I can see, but my spirit needs to seek Him first.
Busyness Replacement is a thing.
As I found myself with more time on my hands than I have had in awhile, I began to fill the time with more baking and extra projects that weren’t on the docket weeks prior. I also found that I could fill an entire day with things that didn’t make me feel more productive or fulfilled, but yet filled my whole day. Because of the chaos of our changing circumstances and the adrenaline of the ominous nature of our nation these days, it took me almost a week and a half to catch what I was doing. I was so used to being busy, that my mind latched onto any task that would fill my time. This created a false sense of having been busy all day. But busy doing what? Some of it was good and some of it was vital, but I was operating out of a fleshy place that wasn’t going to feed my soul.
How do I course correct?
Again, going back to the beginning of my day and filling my heart and mind with Him first can change my thought patterns about the rest of the day. I also ask Him what I need to be doing that day. I have tried to check in with myself throughout the day to make sure I am doing worthwhile things…even if that worthwhile thing is resting, chilling out in front of the TV or taking a nap. It is not about the doing, it is about being intentional with the doing. Do it on purpose, not by default or out of a false need to be busy.
I’d love to hear how you have fared in Quarantine 2020. Have you learned anything about yourself? Is God teaching you some cool stuff? Share with me in the comments or on social media!
This is so good. Going to grab my (tangible) bible and read Psalms 51 right now!