How are you, really?
How are you holding up while we are all home quarantined?
Are you with family members? Are you with friends? Are you alone? Are you even home, or stranded somewhere? Maybe you were not able to make home it in time for the community quarantine order?
Like most of you, I’m hunkered down here in my one-bedroom condo unit, not going outside, distancing myself from people. It’s particularly important for me because I have a compromised immune system, and I am in the high-risk category for this pandemic that has spread across the globe.
To some, it’s been only one week. Others are home quarantined for two weeks. Mine is already three weeks, twenty days to be exact as of writing. It’s 20 days of being home and alone with digital interactions inside zoom rooms, messenger video calls, phone calls and text messages.
To keep me in the right perspective, I am still thankful that I am not in a war like the world war 1 or world war 2. At least with this quarantine, I can still freely go out for as long as I have my home quarantine pass. Food is not scarce, there are still grab deliveries and restaurants open for to-go orders. I can still sleep peacefully at night with no fears of bombs or bullets accidentally hitting me while I am asleep.
I am not in hiding, just quarantined! This puts me in the right perspective.
Here is the fourth installment of my COVID19 Chronicles P.A.U.S.E.
S stands for Submit to God & Surrender to His care knowing He knows much better than we do.
God, our Creator. Definitely, He knows much better than we do. It may not look like it to some, but He is still in control. He is Sovereign. He still reigns. And He is good.
However, capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over economic and unemployment and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of isolation. But the Bible says in 1 John 4:18 (NCV), “Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear” . Every day, we are to surrender our hearts and minds to God.
How do we learn to live in God’s love so that we can live free of fear?
What does it look like to submit to God and surrender to His care?
Here are a few practical suggestions:
Develop the habit of when you wake up each morning, before your feet hit the floor, pray,
“God, before I even start this day, I surrender my emotions to you. I want you to be Lord of my feelings. I want you to control my mind and my emotions. I surrender my heart to you. I want you to fill me with your love. And just to let you know that I can’t do this on my own. So, I need you to hold my hands and walk through today together.”
Stay close to your normal or regular routine pre-quarantine days.
Try and maintain some semblance of structure from the pre-quarantine days. Stick to a routine and please avoid the temptation of falling into a more lethargic lifestyle. A lethargic lifestyle leads to negative thinking and negative emotions. You may think that you are just being irritable, hormonal (maybe so) or reactive. For all you know, it might already be your soul reacting to quarantine.
Therefore, wake up and go to bed around the same time, eat meals, shower, adapt your exercise regimen, and get out of your PJ’s. Do laundry on Saturdays or Sundays as usual. Not only will sticking to your normal routine keep you active and less likely to spiral downwards, it will be easier to re-enter to the community when the world gets going again and it’s time to get back to work.
Keep your home or space organized & Keep it tidy.
A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind. With all the uncertainly happening outside your home, keep the inside organized, predictable and clean. Setting up mental zones for daily activities can be helpful to organize your day. Try not to eat in bed or work on the sofa. Eat at the kitchen table and work at your desk. Loosening these boundaries just muddles your routine and can make the day feel very long. Additionally, a cluttered home can cause you to become uneasy and claustrophobic of your environment so keep it tidy.
Start a new quarantine ritual
With this extra time, why not do something special or different during these quarantined days? Perhaps you can start a daily journal to jot down thoughts and feelings to reflect on later, i.e., if you are not yet journaling. Or take a walk every day at 5 pm within the boundaries of your home quarantine pass, connect with your siblings over FaceTime every morning, start a watercolor painting, solve jigsaw puzzles, play board games, or cook/bake something (if you have the ingredients and an oven), or finish a book by some author or finish a book or two from the Bible. Having something special or different and tracking your progress in this special activity will help you look forward to each new day.
Avoid obsessing over endless Coronavirus coverage
Freeing up your day from work or social obligations give you plenty of time to obsess, and if you have a tendency to consult Google for every itch and sneeze, you may be over-researching the pandemic as well. Choosing only certain credible websites (who.int or your local trusted news channel) for a limited amount of time each day (perhaps two chunks of 30 minutes each) will be in your best interest during this time. I say, don’t feed on your news feed, feast on the Word of faith.
Submitting to God and surrendering to His care means letting go and allowing God in our lives including our daily, mundane days. This also means letting go of our illusion of being in-charge and in control. Friends, this crisis showed us that we are not in-charge of the world and definitely not in control. He is God and we are not. Let’s find peace in that while we are doing our part to ‘flatten the curve’ all while maintaining communication with our closest in the middle of social distancing.
I am one with Queen Elizabeth II, when she said in her speech “…We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again…”
Let’s have hope. Submit to God. Surrender to His care. He is still on the throne. He still reigns. And He is good.