Or – How to Juggle Your Job, God-Time, Cooking, Cleaning, Teaching Your Kids & Refereeing During a Crisis
It may be just me (and I know it isn’t), but I’ve never prayed for my family more than during this COVID-19 Pandemic. Social distancing and so many working from home, not to mention those who have lost their jobs, have made this time especially stressful – and the stress has probably been exhibited at your house. If it hasn’t, you’re either totally oblivious or need to be using this time to write a 300-page book titled, “How To Have a Stress-Free Marriage & Family!”
If you’re completely stress-free and neither of these apply to you, it has to be because you invested heavily in Charmin Tissue and Purell Hand Sanitizer stock just prior to COVID-19 and are now a multi-millionaire! Or you have to deal with the distinct possibility that you’ve been in your house so long that you’re just plain looney! Here are a few suggestions to help minimize stress during times that are tough.
(1). Ask those in your house every week, “Is there some way I can help give you extra support and encouragement?” When they do respond, back up your words with loving and cheerful action (see James 2:14-26).
(2). Recognize that this experience has caused everyone to know losses. As a congregation, we have missed seeing one another. We’ve missed the hugs, the conversations, the worshiping of God together and Pew Packers. For kids, it may be the loss of time with friends, team sports and school. For adults, there’s been a loss of security and certainty. There’s been concern over aging parents and finances. Many have lost jobs. Still, others have lost friends and loved ones during this time. A number have lost faith and hope. Read and apply Ephesians 4:32.
(3). Although someone under your roof may be getting on your nerves during this pandemic, think of those who have no one else under their roof at all. Think of the shut-in, the elderly and those single or single again. And please reach out to them with the love of Christ. They may well feel discouraged and isolated, and your concern might just provide the lift they desperately need. Meditate on James 1:27 & Galatians 6:10.
(4). Do not underestimate the power of humor in a time of crisis and stress. While this has been a terribly sobering time, I think many of us have found a lot of things about which to smile and laugh. Aren’t you glad? A University of Maryland study by Robert Provine found that people are 30 times more likely to laugh when interacting with others. So, in a time of social distancing, we’re going to have to be very intentional to interact with others in appropriate ways so we can enjoy one another and have humorous moments. Read and apply Proverbs 17:22.
(5). Carefully monitor the time you spend watching the news and using social media. Over-dosing on them is a recipe for discouragement. Right now, a lot of my ministry revolves around using social media. It can be a wonderful thing when used to God’s glory, but everyone needs a break from it from time to time. Try to devote time every day to developing your mind, exercising your body, engaging with others in meaningful ways and drawing nearer to God spiritually through worship and service. Encourage your family in each of these areas. Ponder Luke 2:52 and Ephesians 5:15-20.
(6). Make patience, forbearance and gratitude greater priorities in your life. We are better equipped to deal with stressful people and circumstances when we’ve learned to be more thankful, joyful, forgiving and understanding in displaying the mind of Christ ourselves (cf. Philippians 2:3-11). Think long and deeply about “the fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23.
(7). Hunger, thirst, and pant more for God (Psalm 42:1-2; 63:1-3). If our “current distress” is NOT making you seek God more in prayer, in praise and in study of and meditation upon His word, no wonder why you’re stressed out and overwhelmed! Seek to know, love and humbly obey Him. The best thing anyone can do for their family is to take time to be with God! This will give us the grace, strength and help we need in our families. One way or another, God will see us through. May God richly bless your loved ones!