I have to admit that so far, social distancing has not been that difficult for me. It should be. As an extreme extrovert with energy to burn, I have never sat well. I am energized playing golf or hockey with friends or gathering together in groups for a party or for church. I dislike playing music alone, I always want to play in a group. So, this weird time of social distancing should be very difficult for me and yet I find myself quite upbeat and re-energised. Why?
2 weeks ago, we were still in the intensity of a busy 6-person family schedule, running every direction and trying to just hang on until Spring break. You see, Spring break was the finish line and I was sprinting the final leg. We were set to go on vacation as of March 20th for a 2-week stay in California visiting friends, Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach… the hot and glorious beach. I was really looking forward to a break, time away, time with family.
Instead, I’m working from home, reading, studying, writing, and trying to wrap my head around this new normal that we find ourselves in. In the end I have realized that this abrupt slowdown has still provided me with the break, rest and family time I was craving/needing. It also opened my eyes to 3 areas in my weekly routine that were lacking.
QUIET REFLECTION & PRAYER
I have come to find that quiet reflection was absent in my routine and I didn’t realize I needed it as much as I do. I am trying to limit the amount of “screen time” in our house during this time, so I have to be just as accountable to get off my phone, computer, and TV as much as my kids. This forces me to either look for something to do or just sit and reflect on what I have been reading or learning. In these quiet moments, I find myself praying naturally and without prompting. Sometimes, our schedules get so busy and we are running from one thing to the next, the quiet spaces get pushed out. It has been refreshing to pray and reflect.
I have to study for my job. I am almost always prepping a sermon, Bible study, devotional or music for Sunday services. It is rare that a week goes by where I haven’t studied something in Scripture for work. Makes sense… I’m a pastor after all. With business and tight schedules, it is very easy for me to slack off on personal study. Now, I will say that everything has a season and sometimes we simply cannot get everything in so I will cut us a break there. I do think, however, that we need to have a regular routine of personal study. Get into a book on leadership. Read or watch a video series on a book of the Bible. Read a book on theology or history. Read a biography; it’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves from other people’s stories. Personal study is not about getting smarter, although that can be a by-product. Personal study in my view is about depth. Depth of character, depth of understanding, depth of faith. It can move us out of a shallow rut and force us to grapple with the deeper issues of life and ourselves.
REAL FAMILY TIME
It seems that we spend a lot of time with our kids. We are always on the move to hockey, drama practice, friends’ houses, dance lessons, church functions, and so on. The reality is that for most of our day we are just a taxi service that bounces from one event to the next and not a lot of time is spent actually together. As a unit. Team Young. We try to schedule monthly family time but often it is either forgotten, or we are exhausted, or one of us can’t be there and so it derails, and we try again next week.
Being forced together at home, with no-where to go, has finally given us real family time. We don’t spend every waking minute with each other of course. Bree and Brin have been watching girly shows together while the boys and I play video games or watch our own adventure movie. We all have alone time reading, working cleaning rooms (they have never been so clean) or listening to Adventures in Odyssey. I have even been discussing with Everett some of the principles from a leadership book I’m reading. The boys have had many battles on the trampoline and Levi and I made an awesome chicken dinner last night together. We have been teaching Levi the Doxology song at every supper meal. We realized he didn’t know it and now that has become the project of the week.
I think in the end, this is what I was craving the most, real family connection. Not eating quick so we can rush off to the next thing but taking the time to sit and listen to each other tell stories.
Practically speaking, resources are helpful when trying these areas out for yourself. Read a book like “Praying like Jesus” by James Mulholland. Watch a Bible Study series on Colossians by Louis Giglio found on Right Now Media (Trailer Below). Make a meal as a family, with every member doing a little part. Don’t give your 2-year-old the job of cutting tomatoes… just sayin’. Make some memories with the family!
We all have to adjust, re-align our daily rhythms and priorities. This can be a time where we can grow personally and as families in way that we could not before.