May 1, 2020 @ 8:00 AM

As we enter the month of May, we continue under the stay-at-home directives of the governor because of the COVID19 pandemic. As I write, restaurants and numerous businesses are still closed, social distancing is still in effect, and online education has been extended for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. Graduations and weddings have been cancelled, postponed, or will be conducted online. Valiant efforts are being made to restart the economy, but it will take time. Health and safety issues are the ultimate priority. Suddenly certain priorities come to the forefront and others fade. Many things have become harder and more challenging, but others have become clearer and less complicated.

If I think about what was normal last Spring, or even just a few months ago, it seems that life was getting more and more complicated. People were stressed out, anxious and always in a hurry with no time to spare. Now we have time--theoretically. Yet we still have deadlines for school and work. Parents need to help their children with school work while also doing their own work from home. Additionally, children as well as adults, have less opportunity to get stress-reducing exercise. Sports events have been cancelled! Playgrounds are off limits. It all makes me wonder if God is trying to get our attention!

What if God is trying, in these difficult days, to get the attention of the whole world! I'm not speaking of His judgment for sin, although that case could certainly be made. What if He just wants us to stop and listen to Him and prioritize what is truly important? Of necessity families are spending more time together. They are eating more meals together. Their schedules are less hectic with everyone going in different directions. People are even saying they finally have time for the projects they have been intending to do -- someday. With fewer options of places to go and things to do, life is suddenly less overwhelming. People are spending less money on gas, entertainment, eating out, and vacations. We are being called back to a simpler way of life. Like jumping off a spinning carnival ride, it takes a while to get our balance and re-adjust to standing still. But for many it feels better.

Counselors are seeing an increase in instances of anxiety and depression. Part of the cause is the unknown of how long the pandemic and staying at home will last. We hear the phrase “new normal” a lot, but no one knows what or when the new normal will be.

What are the takeaways from this time? What are the lessons to be learned? This is a good time to journal your thoughts. I think, for starters, it is an opportunity to identify the idols in our lives. Anything that we have put in God’s place in our lives is an idol. This is an opportunity to do some major Spring cleaning and clear out the idols and clutter. You know what I mean, those things we think we must have but actually stand between us and Jesus and those who love us. This is an opportunity to establish or reestablish a heart connection to Jesus-- to put Him in His proper place in our lives. Someone has observed that more people are currently attending online church services now than were previously attending church in person previously.

It is Okay to slow down and smell the roses. As we go through this unique time of “separate together,” it is important to have a plan for each day that starts first of all with quality time with the Lord. Let’s give Jesus His proper place in our lives.

“…. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

Trusting Jesus one day at a time,