Bill shared some thoughts on the show yesterday. I thought they were so good that I asked him to be part of my “Co” this week, and write them down for us! I’ve said for a few weeks now, I don’t think God wants us to go back to “normal.” I’m for sure asking Him to re-order some things in my heart. I think you’ll enjoy Bill’s notes below.
During this time of isolation and social distancing, we have had to adapt to a “new normal,” a re-set of expectations and practices that make sense in light of our current situation. I’ve noticed this in three areas: facing our addictions, learning to Sabbath, and re-orienting our personal priorities. I hope this is more than a momentary adjustment. Instead, I hope the adjustments we have had to make become something we choose to make permanent!
These three areas are some things I believe we need to adjust in order to live lives that are less dominated by commonly accepted but unhealthy pace and patterns.
One of the first adjustments many of us had to make required us to confront a threat to what Francis Schaeffer called “personal peace and affluence.” Yes, here in America, we are all accustomed to the sense of security we get by living in a world without scarcity. But when you have to think about improvising toilet paper, or when you go to your grocery store and the shelves are clear of chicken and pasta, it can feel unsettling!
What if this unsettling situation reveals how much we are all addicted to things like approval, comfort, and control? Isn’t our life actually better when we aren’t thinking constantly about our social media image, likes and views? Have you noticed how easily our comfort is shaken by a little disruption or suffering? The weakness we feel when we realize that the situation is out of our control shakes us too. These interruptions reveal how addicted we really are to personal peace and affluence. If we acknowledge that we are addicts, we can continue to diminish the need for things that won’t last and transfer our dependence to the God who promises to strengthen and provide. (See Philippians 4:12-13.)
Carmen will tell you how much coming to appreciate the biblical command to work six days and rest one (Exodus 20:8) is changing her life. It’s a matter of simple obedience to not fill our lives to the margins with producing and consuming! Sabbath is rest. Stopping work. God did it when he created the world (Genesis 2:2), he built it into the pattern of creation, and he commanded it for all of us. Yes, God commands a day off, once a week! Ultimately, Jesus is our Sabbath (Matthew 11:28). We rest in his finished work for us. That should help us live a life free from the illusion that we are not going to be provided for unless we do it all ourselves.
This is the one we talked about on The Morning Cruise. I don’t know about you, but this Coronavirus moment has refocused and reorganized my priorities in at least seven important ways, and I hope to keep these long past the time when we get “back to normal.”
1. More family; less everything else
Stuff that would normally be boring like playing games or having long conversations is actually working right now, even with older kids and busy adults. It’s making family relationships deeper and more meaningful.
2. More simplicity; less elaborateness
People are still getting married and buried and having babies and making it work during social distancing. But here’s the thing: it has to be simplified. Maybe that $50,000 wedding isn’t completely necessary?
3. More cooperation; less partisanship
Well, it happened for a minute. For a little while, it felt like we weren’t dividing the country into teams and making everything a political cage match. Wasn’t it nice? Could we maybe do more of it?
4. More participation; less spectating
In worship, just like in sports and activities, like walking or running in the neighborhood, we are invited to participate, not just spectate. Church at home works better when the whole household is involved. So do lots of other things.
5. More community; less competition
Churches, businesses, and neighbors are having to work together for the common good right now. What about when we get back to normal? Will we continue to think of our neighbors as more valuable than our bottom-line?
6. More reflection; less noise
We are media-saturated people. So much information is constantly going in, and we have so little time to reflect, be quiet, and think. Let’s segment our time and give less to the constant info-flow!
7. More Jesus; less us
This sounds super-spiritual, but in times of uncertainty, it’s quite natural to turn to the Lord and ask for his sustaining grace. The truth is, we need God’s grace like this every day. Let’s cultivate our hearts in daily seeking Him.