So who knew last March that this pandemic would last so long?
It’s been a long haul. But as we look at things opening up, let’s take some time to think about exactly what that return to normal might look like. Do we want normal to be exactly the way it was in February of 2020? Or do we want to develop a new normal for our lives, for our families, for our churches?
We want to take some time to reflect, because if we don’t reflect on life, it just happens to us. Well, perhaps it doesn’t really just happen. We sort of allow it to happen because we don’t make choices. And when we don’t make choices, whatever comes, comes—which is its own sort of choice. So let’s not do that.
Let’s choose. Let’s talk about five steps to help us choose our post-pandemic future, a future lived for God’s glory.
First, we grieve.
There’s a lot to grieve. People have died. My best friend’s mom died just a few days after attending a family Christmas event with somebody who “just had a cold” and so came to the gathering anyway. Actually, he had COVID and soon so did she. And now my friend grieves her mother’s death.
Maybe you got COVID and you survived. Great, but your health isn’t quite the same, and so that’s another thing to grieve.
Maybe you have kids in school who lost the year, whether through not learning well virtually, or through lack of social engagement, or, if they were a high school senior, through the loss of everything that that year typically means for a teen. And so you grieve.
You missed time with your family, your grandparents or parents. You missed family weddings, or funerals. And so you grieve.
Take the time allow grief to do its healing work.
Take the time to evaluate what normal life was pre-pandemic.
Before you let it just start up again, think through whether you really want those activities, those commitments, again.
What was the best thing about the pandemic time? In what ways was that time beneficial for your family or for you personally? Are there quarantine activities or habits that you want to continue doing even as life becomes more active—perhaps, family dinners? Are there activities or habits that haven’t been healthy that you need to make sure go away—you know, like the snacking habits that put on my Covid 15?
How much activity is healthy for your family, particularly individual activities like sports and work and charitable commitments? Where do you need to set some limits now before everything kicks in again at its previous frenetic pace?
Ask God what he would have you to do.
How would God like your life to change so that it fits his mission better?
What things are you doing or were you doing pre-pandemic that don’t serve your family or God’s Kingdom well?
Ask God to clearly address how your life and priorities need to shift or morph or resume to best create the life he wants you to live.
Pray with your family, or pray with a close friend. Listen for God’s voice.
Talk with your spouse, your family, your best friend, about what the future should look like or could look like. Discuss the negative and positive things you thought about and prayed about. If the changes you’re considering affect other family members, do they agree with you? If not, can you agree to pray more about what you disagree on, asking God to bring you to some agreement?
If you’re a parent, where do you need to make unpopular decisions for your child in order to maintain the family health and your family’s commitment to God’s mission in a way that you believe honors God and is healthiest for your family?
Commit to act.
Make a plan. Make a commitment together to what God would have you to do.
It’s easier to go with the flow, to travel with the multitudes, but God has called us to more. He wants us to live wholeheartedly for him, and in doing so we get the healthiest abundant life for ourselves, for our families, and for our communities.
Write down your commitments. Commit to habits and changes and behaviors you feel God is calling you to.
And then live it. Walk the path God has prescribed for you, regardless if the experts tell you your child won’t get into college if they don’t play that sport every single season. Regardless if your parents feel you’re depriving them if you don’t eat Sunday lunch with them every single week. Regardless of what everyone else is doing, or the guilt that’s heaped upon you. Do what God has called you to do.
Let’s choose what our new post-pandemic life will look like.
Let’s make it purposeful and abundant according to God’s design.