Wow, never in a million year would I have expected us to be here. Quarantined to our homes. Forced to sit and reevaluate where we are in life. Looking from the outside, this is huge and kinda scary and pretty boring. I hate having to stop; I love being busy. If you know me, you know my schedule is always jammed pack, especially during the summer and other vacations. Well now, I am being forced to stay in one building, with my family, away from my beloved University. I can’t even go to church–what?!
This has revealed so much to me (and a lot of the world):
- How we spend our time
- Where we find our happiness / where we look to be filled
- Our definition of community
- Where we find our hope
- Our definition of the church
For me, the answer to a lot of these involved being present and in person with people, so what do you do when you have to be in solitude?
How can I be intentional with my time? How can I grow in the Lord? How can I be productive without losing hope?
FaceTime is a great option; video-chatting your friends and laughing about your day and talking about your feelings is a great way to stay connected.
But what about your relationship with the LORD? You have no one keeping tabs on you, no one holding you accountable, no church that you have to go and attend. This is a test of your faith and dedication to the LORD, so how are you going to respond?
It is so easy to sleep late, do nothing, and keep to yourself. There are no attendance sheets and no schedules to follow. Cultural Christianity cannot hold up under the circumstances we are now living in.
We’re back to the early church — meeting in homes and seeking Christ for yourself. That’s what Jesus came to restore — religion. Before Jesus, Judaism was all about following rules and doing what was required of you; there was no relationship with God; it was all about cultural expectations. That is how some people’s Christianity is–going to church and doing what is required, but behind closed doors there is no love for the LORD or desire to know him deeper.
Now, we’re living behind closed doors, forced to pause our “lives” and spend our time differently.
There are a few options: we can move farther from the Lord, remain at the same place with the Lord, or grow closer to the Lord and step into our full potential as believers.
Something I was thinking about was the amount of time we have. There is time to pick up new hobbies and learn new tricks, but there is also time to fall back into sin. There are few things distracting or keeping us from going back to what we once were addicted to–porn, drinking, bingeing, laziness, lying, disobedience, lust, idolatry, gluttony, pride, judgement, comparison, envy, etc. There are so many things we can turn to in order to be entertained and satisfied during this season of isolation.
However, instead of sinning in secret, we can seek the Lord in secret
“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” – Jeremiah 23:23-24
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” – Matthew 6:6
Something in particular the Lord put on my heart this morning was becoming the Proverbs 31 woman during this time. I have always dreaded becoming the Proverbs 31 woman because it describes her as waking up early and working hard — it has always convicted me because I love to sleep in and not do hard work (can anyone relate?)
Upon re-reading Proverbs 31:10-31, I think these are a few things we can do during this time to follow the Lord better and use our time well (men included):
1- Wake up, and plan your day
“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls” vs. 15
Set an alarm for a reasonable time, make breakfast, and plan out what you’re going to do for the day.
2- Get dressed
“…She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns” vs. 22
Even though you’re going to be at your house all day, wash your face, brush your hair, and put on some fresh clothes. Wear pajamas for all I care, but it is so much easier to be productive when you are fresh and ready to go.
3- Spend time with the LORD
“…a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised” vs. 30
My favorite way to start my day is with my bible, a journal, and a pen. I love praying and spending time with the Lord. Maybe you should start a devo (there are so many on the Bible app), or listen to worship music or a podcast. Use this time to recenter your heart and place purpose on your day. This should be the most important part of one’s day because it propels you to live life to its fullest (John 10:10)
4- Take care of your responsibilities
“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night” vs. 16-18
Are you a student? Do your e-learning, join that zoom lecture. Study for that open-note exam, and read that textbook. Do you have a job or other responsibility? Do your work, talk to your boss, check on your co-workers. And do it well. Make your bed, walk the dog, feed the fish. Whatever you would usually be doing, try to keep doing it to the best of your abilities.
5- Take part in a hobby where you can use your hands
“She finds wool and flax and busily spins it” vs. 13
“Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber” vs. 19
“She makes her own bedspreads” vs. 22
“She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants” vs. 24
There are so many verses about the Proverbs 31 woman using her hands to make something. Personally, I want to paint with watercolors and learn to embroider.
Make a Michaels run (THEN WASH YOUR HANDS) and get started on a fun project. Write letters (I’ll write you one back hehe), play music, bake, draw, learn a language, sew, make friendship bracelets (I’ve already made like 10), make a collage, read a book, etc.
6- Help others
“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy” vs. 20
Who do you know that is elderly? Offer to buy someone groceries (THEN WASH YOUR HANDS). Give your grandparents a call, write them a letter, send them funny photos of you. They love you, and are probably more concerned about your wellbeing than theirs, so let them know you love them too
7- Don’t be afraid of what the future holds
“…she laughs without fear of the future” vs. 25
Wow, what a great verse for right now in this season. We do not have to be afraid; we can welcome the future with a smile because we trust in the Lord’s sovereignty and goodness. Romans 8:28 and Psalm 91 are great promises to cling to during this time.
8- Share wisdom and be encouraging
“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness” vs. 26
This is the time to use your words for good. The Bible talks about how the tongue can set fires, but there’s enough chaos in the world, so instead let’s put out fires. And encourage others who are struggling during these times of uncertainty. Let’s share the Gospel and proclaim the Lord’s goodness–so many people are more receptive now that their lower case g gods are being taken from them. People need your wisdom and the truth of the Gospel!
9- Love your family
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her” vs. 28
If you’re home, spend time with your family. If you aren’t, reach out. Call your parents and your siblings. Hug the people you are stuck with. Be a blessing to your family instead of an extra burden. Help at the house, respect your parents’ wishes.
If you’re like me, you hate being away from school and stuck at home, but that does not mean you need to be a jerk about it. Your parents just want the best for you and want you to be safe. They are concerned for your safety, so love them extra hard during this season.
10- Be humble; you are working in the secret place
“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise” vs. 31
The Lord will reward you for dedicating time to him, so you do not strive for recognition. He sees your work and devotion. This is just your time to spend with the Lord.
In conclusion, keep persevering. Keep pursuing the Lord and seeking his face. I pray that we will have his eyes to see his purpose behind this season. I pray that we will know him better and trust him completely. There are so many lessons to be learned and opportunities to take advantage of.
Something someone sent me recently encouraged me; even when Paul was in prison, in chains he was sharing the Gospel and writing letters to other believers. The biggest part of his ministry was actually him stuck in one location away from his church community, so let’s be like Paul and USE our situation instead of letting it hold us back!!
I leave you with one of the blessings he wrote to the church in Corinth:
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” – 2 Corinthians 13:14