Updated: Aug 1, 2020
If you are anything like me, you had no idea how much you touched your face until you were told by the CDC that you needed to stop doing it to decrease your chances of contracting the coronavirus. Well, that's not the only thing that God has shown me about myself during this pandemic, and if you're listening, I'm sure God has told you a few things about yourself too.
During a crisis, God tends to reveal things to us about ourselves and the people around us that we otherwise might have never seen before. These are the five greatest lessons that I have learned that I would like to pass along to you.
1. We Realize How Wasteful We Can Be
No matter where you live, I'm sure grocery shopping during this pandemic has felt like you were fighting your way through the aisles the day before Thanksgiving. Last week, after spending an incredibly long time in line trying to check out, I made a vow to stretch the food that I bought for as long as humanly possible. This situation forced me to learn some creative ways to conserve the food I purchased, which ultimately made me realize how wasteful I had been with food previously. In the past, I would let fresh veggies and other food spoil in the fridge, without thinking twice about it. But God showed me that whenever we act from a place of abundance, it is easy for us to overlook how wasteful we can be. This same truth applies to how we spend our money and even our time here on earth. This moment has reminded me that we don't have time to waste and that the things that I possess can be taken away at any moment, so I must remain a good steward over the blessings that God has given me.
2. We Learn to Identify Our Needs Versus Wants
Spending the last week in quarantine has given me nothing but time to think. I've taken time to reflect on the things that truly matter in life versus the things that I desire simply because the world says it's valuable; when in all reality, they just take up space, time, or energy. Whenever we have limited options in front of us, we quickly realize what our real needs are versus wants. During this season, I encourage you to take a serious inventory of what matters in your life in comparison to the things that are merely futile desires. Think about the things that you have managed to live without during these last few weeks, in contrast to the things that you've learned you honestly need. This change in perspective can allow you to grow tremendously as a person and will help you to live life with a spirit of gratitude.
3. Who's Important to You
In the midst of our busy schedules, it is easy for us to lose sight of the people in our lives who are important to us. Moments like this force us to pause and take into account the people we genuinely care about. Sadly, the fact that this virus has forced us to remain at a distance from our loved ones has served as a major wake up call for us, because we no longer have the luxury of just dropping by someone's house to see them. If anything, this moment in time has taught us that we cannot take seeing or spending time with any of the people we love for granted. Every moment that we have to share the space with someone we care about is priceless, and we have to learn to start treating every encounter that way. We also are reminded how valuable community is during times of crisis. Although we are forced to social distance ourselves from other people, this doesn't mean that we have to be socially disconnected. Find creative ways to connect with people through the use of technology, and use every opportunity to express to those you care about that you love them.
4. We Are All Connected
Unfortunately, our society has conditioned us to view ourselves and the actions that we take from an individualistic point of view, versus recognizing how interconnected we are with one another. This experience serves as a harsh reminder of how the actions that we take can indirectly and directly have significant implications on the lives of others. Whether it's our choice to stay in the house and practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus or us frantically buying up all of the toilet paper in the grocery store, our decisions have an effect on the rest of our brothers and sisters. This pandemic also reminded us how connected we are on a global scale. The United States, nor any other country, is not above the coronavirus. Sometimes this country and we, as individuals, make decisions solely focused on what's best for us, versus thinking about what is best for the collective. During this outbreak, we see that we can no longer live that way. When one suffers, we all suffer, and the only way we will forge through this crisis is together.
5. Does Faith or Fear Rise Up in Us When We Are Tested?
As a child, whenever the teacher would announce they were giving a pop quiz, I would immediately freak out. In my mind, I would be so annoyed that the teacher sprung a test on me without giving me a chance to prepare. Well, similarly speaking, none of us were prepared for the seriousness of the coronavirus, and in many respects, we feel like our faith is being tested. With schools, businesses, and even churches closing, several of the "constants" that we depended on have been stripped from us, causing us to struggle with anxiety, loss, and even depression. But, moments like this are the perfect opportunity for us to see what already exists inside of us. In a time of crisis, do we respond from a place of fear and self-preservation, or is our response rooted in faith and love?
1 Peter 1:6-7 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
God is with us in this moment. Let us remember to cling to our faith all the more, and if we are Christians, this is the perfect opportunity for God's love to shine through us. The world needs light during this time, so we can't allow the darkness of evil to overshadow us.
We are living in a historic moment in time, where one day we'll look back and reflect on life before the coronavirus and life after the virus. I hope that even after the economy recovers and things get back to a "new normal," our lives will never be the same (for the better). I pray that we will look at every moment that we walk this earth with new appreciation and love for our lives and the people around us, and we will have a clear understanding of what truly matters.
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