So … is the pandemic over???? I wouldn’t know. I have been fasting from news about COVID-19 for a week.
I am surprised at how much better I feel. I’m lighter somehow. Of course, I’ve been continuing to take all my precautions. Masks, hand sanitizer, hand washing, isolation unless necessary.
The pandemic has been invading my dreams and creating a pervasive dis-ease for months. Once I found out that my state’s people were no longer unwelcome in New York … where my daughter’s family lives … I thought the media fast would help.
I highly recommend it to you. A week without distressing news feels like a vacation.
We’ve had five months or more of COVID-19 pandemic news. Let’s try to step away from it for one week. The pandemic has increased anxiety and disturbed our sleep for too long. We can take a break from the onslaught, while continuing to be safe and thoughtful of others.
This Christian mindfulness exercise has us deliberately reduce our media intake about COVID-19 and its impact. Here’s how:
- Consider where you are getting your COVID information. This includes: news media (online and offline), email alerts, social media, podcasts, television and magazines.
- Think about where you feel bombarded by information or opinion about the pandemic. What upsets you the most?
- Fast from it for a week. You can entirely cut off the source or use it only for specific times, days or amounts of time. You also could refuse to read or listen to COVID information and opinion.
- During times when you would ordinarily be consuming the media, pray instead. See if we can discover more about how God wants us to behave during this time.
Give your mind protection from the panic. I pray this will take the weight of the world off our shoulders. How do you think you will feel if you can take an information vacation from the pandemic?
My sister bought me a perpetual calendar called “Meditations for the Busy Woman” by Jan Silvious in 1994. I still use it, although 2020 is the least busy year I’ve had ever.
Deletions, erasure marks and black scratches are all over many of our calendars these days. Today’s message on the perpetual calendar seems very timely.
Unrest in the Nest
Our God is honor-bound to make even the tearing up of our nests, the unraveling of our homes and dreams, the canceling of our plans and appointments, to work together for our good. Remember that today as you struggle with a nest that feels shaky beneath your feet. Jan Silvious
The joy of the Lord is my strength. That is something I need to remember in this phase of the pandemic, when it feels like I am running out of steam. I now have insomnia, the result of many nightmares about bad people trying to break into my house. (Very subtle, subconscious.) This tests my ability to practice Christian mindfulness, but in the end, it will strengthen it.
The Lord knows that many of us are starting to wear out. Any initial burst of adrenaline and interest in the uniqueness of the situation are gone. That can be good news.
God is our strength, always there when we are not feeling strong enough to take on a difficult challenge. This pandemic is not even in the Top 5 of bad things that I have experienced. So I know, looking back, that God gives you the strength. But we have to ask for it.
Only by connecting with the Lord in times of quiet and prayer … as well as practicing the presence of God moment to moment … will the strength and the joy flow through us. Calling on the name of Jesus hour by hour, even minute by minute, will build that connection. That is what Christian mindfulness is all about. For more on that, click here.
As Paul writes in Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
No matter how isolated we all feel, God is with us in quarantine. This unique time in history creates an opportunity. We can choose to practice Christian mindfulness. We can feel the presence of God moment by moment during these days of pandemic.
Romans 8: 38-39 famously reminds us:
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, no anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love go God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That’s true for a pandemic, too. God calls to us at this and every moment by our names. The quiet of quarantine gives us more of a chance to listen. As Sarah Young writes in Jesus Today:
“When world events are swirling around you and your personal world feels unsteady, don’t let your mind linger on those stressors. Tell yourself the truth: Yes this world is full of trouble, but Jesus is with me and He is in control.”
We need to move our focus from the pandemic to the presence of Jesus over and over again. “But Jesus is with me” is a good breath prayer. I use “Come Holy Spirit” repeatedly to move my mind from the present to the presence. Let’s all do this.