Self-isolation is a descriptive of the practice of many of us these days as we take a major advised step in fighting the spread of COVID-19 or “the coronavirus disease 2019.” Indeed, we find ourselves in a world that has suddenly changed, like that of the day after 9/11/01 or 12/7/41. Things are not going as normal, nor Life as it used to be.
Already there are numerous posts, articles, or “expert” interviews on how people are best to deal with the “stress” of isolation; giving advice on what to do. Some of it is helpful. Some of it is more of an attempt at empty distraction.
The question remains for those of us self-isolators, who also call ourselves Christians, “What should we do?” How should we look at this season of self imposed isolation? Is it really about survival – getting through it, despite all the evident uncertainties? Is it merely to “keep busy” while there is nowhere to go? Does it mean to find a way to capitalize on a forced vacation?
What if we looked at it like an intended Sabbath rest? What if we considered this self-isolation as an opportunity to draw closer to God; away from “the madding crowd” and all the pressing distractions to simple solitude and silence? What if we took it as time to stop, cease, end what we have been doing as of late, to appreciate that God’s got this one and we don’t have to?
In view of this, here are only a few suggestions while in self-isolation:
- Break old habits and develop a discipline of new ones
- Step away from the Tyranny Of the Urgent and find a better slowed pace
- Take time to be still, to listen, to ponder/meditate and even to be silent (if possible)
- Read the Bible (practice Lectio Divina) https://transformingcenter.org/2019/07/lectio-divina-engaging-the-scriptures-for-spiritual-transformation-2/
- Pray more than the usual “quiet time intercessory” prayers, discover new forms https://epdf.pub/prayer-finding-the-hearts-true-home.html
- Make a “family altar” where you can simply Be, undistracted from all the Do; to engage God
- Begin/write in a journal as a means of reflection to gain perspective on your current situation in Life (always invite the Presence of the Lord)
Yes, self-isolation is a weird sort of retreat, but it’s also a wild sort of advance, if we choose it be. The Enemy would love to have us rendered impotent, fearful and frustrated. On the other hand, our Lord loves it when we press in to Him for everything in anything. What might have been meant for evil God intends for good. Don’t forget that! (Genesis 50:20).
So in such a time as this, we are better to remember that we are not isolated and alone. We, here in the West, are just as much God’s children now, through faith in Christ, as we were before anything broke out in the East. Read Romans 8:25-35. Hold to that truth. Practice it.