How many of you thought we’d be done with this quarantine business by now? Surely, this quarantine can’t go on more than a few weeks? Right? That’s what I thought. But as the numbers of ill people rise, the reality of this shelter-in-place order sinks in.
So much of our talk is about what we’re missing out on, what we’ve given up. Friends losing jobs. Businesses struggling to pay employees or keep their doors open somehow.
However, others find creative ways to live exuberantly and serve others.
- Local school districts provide bagged breakfasts and lunches for students depending on those meals daily.
- Others do drive-by birthday celebration caravans, honking horns and waving streamers, flags, or balloons as they pass the celebrant’s home.
- A local businessman heard about a family’s financial need and dropped off a check to cover the deficit.
- A national food chain offers free food to frontline workers every Monday.
- Joann Fabrics posted a free tutorial and pattern to make masks. Thousands of people have made over 33 million masks to donate. Their goal is 100 million masks made and donated.
The stories of exuberant blessings continue.
And I love hearing each one! While tragedy and negative news may draw more significant numbers, my heart, and mind desire to listen to the good news.
In uncertain times, choose to look for the exuberant blessings.
When the nation of Israel sat poised to enter the land God promised them, Moses reminded them of all God had done for them. Moses challenged the people to remember God’s commands and live them out every day, not to get caught up in the negative news or fear-mongering of their day. They’d spent 40 years wandering the desert because they listened to the worriers and fearful ones instead of obeying God. Moses told them, “Love GOD, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God. . . .” [emphasis added]
As I processed this verse and passage, I sensed God challenging my emotions. Our emotions are relief valves for our thoughts and circumstances. While we must acknowledge our feelings to process them rightly, we can’t be governed by them. And that’s hard these days, being isolated and if we allow ourselves to be bombarded with negativity.
How can you live exuberantly right now?
Search for the truth.
Listening to people, including you, speculate about the crisis isn’t productive. If you want the latest updates, go to sources on the frontlines like the CDC, WHO, Mayo Clinic, and others. Spend extra time studying God’s Word, the ultimate truth.
Pray for our world.
Ask the God of the Universe to care for those who are ill, those who care for the sick, your neighbors, friends, family, and yourself. Pray for the decision-makers (I’m glad it’s not on my shoulders!). They have a tough job, especially now.
Generosity isn’t just financial. Say “thank you” to your spouse, store clerks, first responders, medical personnel, delivery drivers, and anyone who assists you. Intentionally smile more than usual. Do you have extra rolls of toilet paper? Why not make a door drop off a few rolls to your neighbors? Maybe you know your elderly neighbor or single mom neighbor struggles to get by each month. What can you donate to them, with or without their knowledge, that will encourage them during this time?
Support local businesses.
In our area, The Margarita at Pine Creek is a local business that not only offers carryout from their menu now but also added fresh grocery staples to serve their neighbors. You can call them, place your order for take-out or fresh groceries, and they package it up, ready for pick-up or delivery. That’s a business I’ll support. Many small companies want to keep their employees, so the owners are finding creative ways to do so. Encourage these business owners by supporting them.
Speak life, not death.
Who do you know that is frightened or fearful? Call them, write a note and send it snail mail. Let them know they aren’t alone, that you see them and care about them. Encourage them. When talking with others on social media, watch the conversation. If it turns negative, find something to be grateful for. People catch our attitudes. Be an agent for authentic hope and joy.
Even if your life has drastically changed in the last month, as mine has, we still have hope.
The sun came up this morning once again.
You have shelter and clothing.
If your family is safe, praise God for his grace and mercy.
Find ways to express that hope today.
It’s time to live exuberantly, not because things are going right, but because we are alive.
Every day is a gift. When you look back after this quarantine is over, who do you want to be? What do you want to learn?
Me? I want to be healthier, stronger, and more in love with Jesus and my husband. I want to have learned something that challenged me. And, if God can use me during this time to encourage someone else with a virtual hug, that’s even better.
More than anything, I want to look back and say I lived exuberantly every way that I could. How about you?
If you’re afraid, stuck, or simply need to process what’s happening, reach out. Let’s talk. There is hope for tomorrow.