Quarantined and working at home with kids – if you’re living it, you know the insanity of juggling work stations and fighting over bandwidth for Zoom calls and Google Classroom meets. Even on your best days, the weirdness of it all makes you feel a little off your game, which makes for some pretty interesting dinner conversation.
The other night, my wife, Jill, and our four kids were talking about the virus, and we came up with a challenge. We started thinking about the regular, everyday questions that people just aren’t asking right now. Once you start thinking about it, you realize how many there are, and for us, it turned into a game.
Where are my cleats?
What time is soccer practice?
Why is there so much traffic on I-20?
What time does my flight leave?
Let’s just pick up dinner on the way home from work.
Where’s this morning’s breakfast meeting?
When the world essentially slams on the breaks, questions like these become red flags showing how out of control our schedules have gotten.
Look for the flags. Listen to the open spaces in your day, and think about the questions that aren’t getting asked. This new silence can tell you something about who you are and who you want to be. If we allow it, God will use this unique moment to lay new questions on our hearts. I’ll give you an example.
I strive to be someone who lets God’s voice guide my priorities, my days, and even my minutes. Pre-COVID, like many busy people, my schedule had gradually backed up earlier and earlier so that the day was starting not at 8:00 am or 9:00 am, but 6:30 am or 7:00 am, while also stretching late into the evening. The way I was pursuing my God-given priorities was limiting the opportunities I was creating for Him to speak into them freshly. This season has helped me remember that I can be a Spirit-driven leader only if I guard the precious moments when I’m connecting with God each day, for that day.
Moving forward, I’m reserving the early morning hours for God and the ideation He places on my heart. By protecting that time slot, I will energize every other part of my day and be more present for God, my family, our students, our staff, and our community.
We are in the midst of a once in a lifetime moment. Let’s not waste this opportunity, while our lives are empty, to evaluate how we’ll fill them up again. What new questions should replace the old ones? What in your life do you want to return to, and what should be reimagined?
I’m not the only one in my house experiencing this. Jill has realized something in the void, too. While many people can’t wait to get back to their offices (including me), she’s not one of them. For her, the work-from-home experiment has worked. It’s showed her that she can get more done in her professional life and her personal life when they’re in the same physical space. It makes her more efficient and more satisfied with what she’s accomplished at the end of the day. And that makes her more spiritually present for God and more emotionally present for herself and her family. Changing where she works is going to improve how she works.
A major social shock like COVID-19 can lead to a severe reckoning in our lives – and that’s not a bad thing. A rare moment like is an opportunity to reconnect to God’s plan for us, and revise our plans for ourselves. It gives us all a chance to ask hard questions about what’s meaningful in our lives, our homes and our organizations, and what has become thoughtlessly routine.
It’s a good time to ask yourself, what do you want to be going forward? And, more importantly, what do you want to be about?
Look at the questions you’re not asking anymore, and you might find that some were the wrong questions to be asking in the first place.