Life in quarantine has me feeling busier than I have felt been in any months previously. Even though so many places and events are shut down and taken away from us, my schedule still is overflowing.
Our office staff isn’t even working together in the same place.
Our programs are not hosting events at the church because we cannot gather anyone in groups.
We have canceled Sunday services on our campus, while we try to put all our chips into an online campus.
Life has “Shut Down” but it has Not Slowed Down
Does anyone else feel this way?
I have talked to other business leaders and they are feeling the same way. I’ve talked to other people in ministry and they say that they have never been busier. I received an email from one of my mentors, a great hero of the faith, and he told me he has not had a night recently when he has gone to bed before two o’clock in the morning. He was even quick to note that there was one night that he didn’t get into bed until three in the morning.
Why is it We are so Busy?
First, we are all pivoting. We are all trying to figure out this new life. We’re all trying to recreate ourselves. We’re trying to figure out how to survive in this shut-in new world. We’re trying to find new ways to use technology or function, doing the same things we did before, but virtually. In the last month, I’ve created more devotionals, videos, articles, audio books, online counseling sessions, and social media posts than I did any month previously. Why the flurry of digital activity and new efforts? Because I am trying to pivot. We all are. Businesses are trying to pivot. Restaurants are trying to pivot. Churches are trying to pivot. People are trying to recreate themselves just to stay alive.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important that we pivot; it is just taking time and energy that we weren’t spending before. I have been telling our staff that we must pivot if we are going to stay on mission; we are being forced to rethink church. We must come up with new ways to ministry. All of this is a good messaging, but pivoting takes time and we must check our motives at the door.
Second, we are learning new technologies, or at least how to use technology more effectively. We have had to learn and use new apps and programs just to communicate with others. While technology is a blessing (and we couldn’t have done all we’ve done over the last month without it), it takes time to learn.
Third, we’re spending more time in electronic communication like email, Slack, and text messaging, then we ever did before. What once only took a few seconds of popping into a co-worker’s office, now takes time to schedule a call or sit and write a message. Our digital communication is higher than it’s ever been because we are all living quarantined from each other.
Finally, we may be busier than we’ve ever been— if we are honest— because we’re creating work for ourselves. We don’t want to be judged as lazy or unproductive, so we create things to do that can be seen by our boss, co-workers, fellow parents, teachers or the outside world. Our first reason may be to serve people well, but we may have a small agenda of pride creeping into our motives. We must keep this in check. It can be that we do things as if we need to justify ourselves to the world because we’re staying at home. We don’t want anyone to think we are just taking naps and watching daytime TV.
One thing that I think we are missing is a pause.
We must stop and evaluate what’s happening; we must let the reality of the situation sink in. My wife, Molly, said, it’s so well, “I don’t want us to get to the end of this season and regret how we lived. This may be the only quarantine we ever see in our lives.”
She is right, this may be the only time we are ever told by the government to stay at home. This may be the only time that our places of employment allow us to stay at home for days or hours on end.
By cutting out our commuting, ceasing our prancing around town, and not partaking in extracurricular activities, we have added hours back to our life. Under God’s sovereign purposes, the world has told us— slow down. We can’t miss the invitation to pause that this season is providing. We must lean into this, as uncomfortable as it may be.
Pausing is a message all of us need in the modern world. So while it’s important that we pivot, we must also pause. We must make sure that there’s space in our day to be with the Lord and reflect on what He is calling us to change in our thinking or behavior. Pulling back from some things right now doesn’t mean that we should go create new things in that place. It also gives us the opportunity to finish things that we once started but didn’t have time to finish; we must slow down, reflect, and follow-through.
This season is not just about pivoting, it is also about pausing.
“Be still and know that I am God” — Psalm 46:10
(DISCLAIMER: I wrote this article for myself because no one needs it more than I do. I hope it was helpful to you too.)