Making the Most of the QuaranTIME
Making the Most of the QuaranTIME
by Shawna Goldstein
God is allowing the coronavirus. We may question and wonder “Why?” but if we truly believe God is all-powerful, then God is allowing the coronavirus. So maybe we need to stop trying to make our days look as much like the old normal as possible and realize that God may be using this quaranTIME to show us what is better.
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (NLT).
When I look at what it means to make the most of every opportunity in this time, I see four important areas to focus on: God, spouse, kids, and others.
Take time to work on your relationship with God. Even though our schedules are opening up and in many ways we have more time, many of us have less time to ourselves and less peace and quiet! In Luke 5:15, 16 we read, “But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (NLT).
If it was OK for Jesus to leave his important ministry of teaching and healing for short periods of respite to be alone and pray, then it must be OK for us! Leave the work, your kids, the chores, and sneak away to be refreshed by your heavenly Father. If Jesus needed it, so do we! Put an appointment in your calendar for ten minutes a day where you can escape to be quiet with the Lord. (This may take some coordination with your spouse so someone is on kid duty. Let them have some alone time in the schedule as well!)
Coming off the quarantine in China, the divorce rate skyrocketed. We’re living in close, stressful quarters with our loved ones, and it can be tough! I’ve been realizing this week that we all are in “extra grace required mode.” My kids have all had various meltdowns and my husband and I have been much snappier at each other than usual. Everyone is on edge and emotional, so when our spouse is rude, there are communication issues, or he or she doesn’t live up to our expectations, we need to extend GRACE. Assume the best. Ask them later if they’re stressed or how you can pray for and support them.
Luke 6:32, 33 calls us to examine our actions. Paraphrased, it says that if you love only those who love (or act loving to) you, what grace is that? Even sinners love those who act loving toward them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, where is your grace? Even sinners do that much!
Extending extra grace means giving your spouse the grace you know you also need during this time, whether he or she deserves it or not! Don’t wait for him to act loving or kind first; give grace and be quick to forgive.
Why not use your suddenly free evenings to have fun with your spouse? Christ’s Church is offering a program called “Marriage Date Night: Quarantine Edition.” Couples who register will get weekly emails for a one-hour date night with your spouse. This format includes a 10-minute video clip, discussion questions, and an activity. Don’t just survive the quarantine with your marriage intact, come out of it with your marriage thriving!
Let’s be sure we use the quaranTIME as an opportunity to see our kids as blessings, not burdens. Jesus gave the commission to all believers to go and make disciples. Parents, this starts at home. The most important thing you can do with your kids right now (and always) is raise them as disciples of Jesus!
With the added pressure of homeschooling and distance learning, let us all take a moment to reflect on this: What our kids do or don’t learn academically in the next two months will not make a lasting impact! It won’t even matter in two years, let alone in 20 years, or in eternity! Take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy your kids! Make online schooling work for you, not against you. Make your days look how you want them to be—with God-given priorities.
If you need to hear this message of freedom and not letting the pressure of outside responsibilities or “should do’s” overwhelm you, I would encourage you to spend some time in Galatians 5 this week.
The apostle Paul challenges us with these words in Galatians 5:13, 14, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (NLT).
What is important right now? That we are keeping the two greatest commands: to love God and love others. If we focus on those, we are right with God, and it is his approval we need, not the world’s (Galatians 1:10). God wants to use this time to show us what is better in our homes. Find a new normal with better priorities: more hugs, giggles, fun, mess, memories, grace, and TIME!!
It is so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our families, especially during a time of social distancing. But, in Christ, all believers are our family, and all not-yet-believers need someone to share redemption and hope in order to be brought into our family!
Each day try to reach out to at least five people outside of your home, and at least three of them not in your biological family. Send an encouraging text or initiate a FaceTime or phone call. Get your kids involved in this too! They can make cards, call friends and family, and write notes. The world is bigger than the four walls of our homes. We need to stay mission-focused and as we read above to continue to “serve one another in love.”
I am praying that each one of us makes the most of this quaranTIME—that memories are made in our homes and lives are changed for eternity. May God’s grace overflow in us and pour out to our families, friends, and neighbors. May we live in freedom, seeking to please the only One whose approval matters.
Shawna Goldstein is a mom to three active boys, wife to Chad, Pilates instructor, and women’s ministry coordinator at Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio.