As we move beyond our time of sheltering in place, how are we going to make the most of these past few weeks?

What are we going to do to ensure that quarantine was not a waste?

There is an image floating around on social media of an open refrigerator door, with a note posted on the inside that read: You’re not hungry. Close the door.

My name is Samantha. I am a grazer.

This isn’t a new revelation for me. Last year I did a fad diet called Whole 30. For 30 days, I avoided eating certain foods to allow my body to heal and offset cravings and snacking for the end of having something to do or to cope with emotions. After the 30 days, I gradually reintroduced those foods into my diet to test for sensitivity.

The first two weeks of Whole 30 magnified my attachment to sugar and snacking. God’s grace was sufficient to push through crankiness that accompanied the afternoon slump. I drowned my sorrows in a bag of carrots instead of a pint of ice cream. Though the struggle was real, after the week two hump, I began experiencing benefits such as increased focus and more consistent energy levels through the afternoon

At the end of the 30 days, in the period of reintroduction, I surprised myself. Though there were certain foods that I really enjoy and missed, I didn’t miss them as much as I thought. Wine is nice, but I don’t like it enough to have with dinner each night. While bread and cheese are good, they aren’t essential to the everyday diet.

With some determination and self-control, I learned what was necessary and what was just nice to have. It was the third grade social studies lesson of Needs vs. wants all over again.

I know that some of us were affected by COVID in very extreme ways, such as sickness or job loss. I don’t want to downplay the difficulty of that reality.

 For others of us, we were, in a sense, living in a Whole 30 of our lives.

Before sheltering in place, some of us may have been great.

Others of us experienced overwhelming stress or a sense of lost control in the day to day grind. Instead of scaling back on activities, we needlessly packed even more things into our already full schedule because they felt good or because they kept us occupied and passed the time.

And then the pandemic hit.

We were forced to eliminate things from our daily routine. We kept people safe by staying at home, telling our parents to stay at home, are working remotely if we can, experiencing worry in a time of uncertainty, schooling our kids at home, having family dinners, taking time to pray and be in relationship with God, recognizing our powerlessness, practicing gratitude. Some of us are getting more sleep, eating better, or are less inclined to be on devices.

Though the extra things were nice, we are growing to see that life can be different, and we can go on without.

Before the pandemic, life was what we considered normal. We now live in the abnormal. After COVID-19, will we go back to normal?

Or will we be empowered to establish a new normal?

Life is a matter of choices, often choosing between options that are good. I think we can all agree that making choices that truly align with our priorities and contribute to our values breeds the sense of authenticity and peace.

We have been given the gift and freedom to reset and evaluate. I invite you and your families to reflect on the good you experienced over these past few weeks and create a concrete game plan of how to make this time a movement in our lives.

What is worth reintroducing?

 What contributes to our holiness and fosters our relationships?

What things detract and distract us from God and others?

Have each person in your family share what they liked the most about sheltering in place, and brainstorm ways that we can continue these traditions or habits.

James Chapter 1 reads “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.”

When we set our sights on what is important, let us look back at this time and think to ourselves “Remember when we were quarantined? My life is now better because of it.”

Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash