Many of us may have seen posts pertaining to the fact that if you don’t leave this quarantine period with two new businesses, five new skills and an expanded bank account then you have completely wasted your time. As triggering as these posts are, they do prompt thought about what we should be doing in this period of self-isolation and taking away from it.
My pastor put it this way: we should think of this period as consisting of three stages. The first stage is that we are in God’s waiting room, followed by the second stage of being in a season of advantage followed by the third stage of accountability. Like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 there is a season where we leave God’s waiting room and He assigns us with some seeds that we must sow in preparation for showing Him the harvest upon His return (i.e. the season of accountability). Likewise, I think this quarantine season can allow us to reset (i.e. the season of advantage) and pick up some good habits for life after quarantine (i.e. the season of accountability).
For me, these are some of the habits that this season of advantage can allow us to nurture:
1. The habit of showing empathy
Some of us might have seen messages stating that this quarantine season shows us who our true friends are because fake friends don’t take time to reach out and check on us. Well how about we use this season to not be so self-involved and instead be that friend who reaches out?
In a time where we are constantly flooded with news of loss and lack of resources, we should learn to become more empathetic and not just assume that everyone is okay. You'd be surprised at how many people are so willing to open up but are waiting for someone to permit them to genuinely release whatever pent up emotions they have within them.
I was recently on a prayer call that left me feeling so uplifted, not because of the prescribed prayer points but because once the floor was left open to any other business, not a single person asked for a prayer point for themselves, instead the call was flooded with people asking us to intercede for friends, the government and the general public. I have also seen this play out in work emails where people are now opening their emails with pleasantries regarding the wellness of the recipient and their families.
Post-quarantine, let empathy be the new normal and genuinely ask people how they are within the first five minutes of a conversation before babbling off into x,y,z matters.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
2. Remembering that health is wealth
On social media, I've noticed many people becoming culinary experts and fitness fanatics. And regardless as to whether or not these are things that have arisen out of 'lockdown trends', they are good habits to maintain and we should become more conscious of nutrition and exercise. And if you need some cooking inspo and recipe breakdowns, accounts such as award winning food entrepreneur @alexis_adjei is a great go-to and to get fit, checkout @bodypraiseonline where you can try the 'hallelujah hold' or 'prayer pulses'. If Covid-19 has taught us anything it’s that we need to ensure that our bodies are in a position both spiritually and physically to fight any threat to our health, so having a body that is in tip top shape can work to our advantage.
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
I Corinthians 9:27
3. Stop and slow down
Taking it back to basics, I am sure that many of us have welcomed this quarantine season as a period to sleep a little longer, rush a little less and take time to do various things that make us happy. When we leave this season, let's not allow the hustle and bustle of this world to take us back into that habit of constantly being on the move. This doesn’t mean being stagnant but rather, taking the time to stop, slow down and enjoy moments that a busy work schedule wouldn't normally allow.
'Do not overwork to be rich, because of your own understanding cease!'
4. The habit of abiding in God
Lastly and arguably one of the most important habits to pick up now and maintain post-quarantine is learning to abide in God. The bible teaches us to seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added (Matthew 6:33). And in a time where feelings of pressure and anxiety are rife where it concerns life post-quarantine, be reminded of the aforementioned scripture and take this time to learn to walk in the Spirit and listen to God so that He can guide us through life on the other side of lockdown. Finally, don't allow this extra free-time to go by without giving God the quality time that He deserves and time that will ultimately benefit you. Will Reagan put it perfectly in the song Not in a Hurry where he said;
"I'm not in a hurry
When it comes to Your spirit
When it comes to Your presence
When it comes to Your voice
I'm learning to listen
Just to rest in Your nearness
I'm starting to notice
You are speaking”
So let's ask God what He wants us to use this time for and what He wants us to prepare for in the days and months ahead.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
To conclude, whilst the above may not make you a billionaire or result in you sporting the entrepreneurship label, I believe that they will allow you to focus on fulfilling purpose in this journey of life.
There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
Words by Yemi Adekoya