Looking around at the grocery store, it is easy to notice the despair on people's faces. As Americans, we don't usually face uncertainty, at least, not like this. Here is where being a Christ-follower makes all the difference! The Newbreak staff has been constantly encouraging one another to make the most of this opportunity. And so we wanted to share some encouraging insights with you, especially when it comes to leading those in your home while stuck at home.
First, be aware that those close to you are watching how you lead and the example you set. The spiritual atmosphere we set will likely be contagious. For example, if you are displaying anxiety, it is likely that your kids or those who are with you will as well. This is not meant to add additional pressure to all that you are already enduring. It is not that you or I have to be disingenuine with how we are feeling. On the contrary, this is a great time to validate the feelings of one another and create safe places for conversation. However, we have the opportunity to show people how we take our fear and lay it at the feet of Jesus. Like the desperate father in Mark 9, we, too, can pray the honest prayer as he cries out: “help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
There is something powerful about showing our family how it looks to have our fear evaporate as we make our home into a spiritual refuge; seeking the Lord and drawing from the strength of His Spirit.
Listen to this week's message again if you need! The story of Jesus calming the storm is so relevant to our time. Think about how a storm is something that is absolutely outside of our own ability to contain. We may feel that way right now, too. But if Jesus can take a nap while sailing on a ship amidst the raging sea (Mark 4:37-38), perhaps we too, can find rest amidst the pandemic. Perhaps it is times like these that we learn about the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” according to Philippians 4:7. It may seem impossible, but our God has a knack for flipping the script on situations that some would consider hopeless.
How else can we lead at home? Here are a few ideas:
- Pray as a family. Maybe you already have this habit, maybe not. But this is a good time for your household to come together at a consistent time and create a rhythm of prayer. If you don't know what to pray you can pick a few verses from a Psalm, like Psalm 46. Or you can take Jesus' model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as an example of how to pray. Yet, prayer is not about a specific formula of words. We are allowed to express ourselves with creativity and vulnerability. And praying as a family is a strong bonding exercise. Try involving your kids in prayer as an activity. (This may look different depending on their age.) For example, you can have them write out a prayer of encouragement and send it as “snail mail” to a friend to encourage them at this time with prayer!
Part of our role as parents is to help our kids see that God is “an ever-present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
- Ask good questions to draw out of your kids how they are processing this. Some people we have talked to have mentioned that they appreciate the focused time and attention they have at home. Ask your kids what they like about being at home. Ask them what they are struggling with. Try to use this time to learn about where they are on their faith journey. One of the skills of a leader (at home or the workplace) is the ability to craft questions that draw people in. We may be at home, but that does not guarantee that everyone in the room is present. Use well-crafted questions as the tool to create vibrant conversation!
- Share knowledge with other families via social media and digital connection. Schools are shut down. And many parents are having to learn how to do the whole “home school” thing. This is hard! And it is okay to admit that. However, one of the best ways to learn and thrive is to share knowledge. Ask yourself this: “Who can I reach out to that may have beneficial advice on this?” But also ask yourself: “What knowledge can I share to help someone else?”
We need to lean into the collective pool of wisdom we have. Because not a single one of us is as wise and resourceful as all of us.
- Set scheduled work hours to be effective and faithful with your job, and then spend the rest of the time present with your family. Many of us are fortunate to be able to do our job (at least in a modified form) from home. For those of you who don't have this option, we are absolutely praying for you! We really are. Now, if the home is the current “office,” we have to adapt quickly for the sake of our job and our family. It is easy to blur the lines between “office” and “home”. We need to recognize this right away and make the necessary adjustments. By scheduling “work hours” even at home, we are showing our family that we are contributing to the well being of society by playing our part in keeping the world moving. Working hard is not just for promotions and climbing the ladder of success, our jobs should be making the world better in some aspect. So yes, let's work hard even while at home! But let's also know how to shut down the computer and be present.
Having a set work schedule gives your family a rhythm they can count on. Controlling our calendars helps us control our prioritizes.
- Have exceptional amounts of fun at home! As C.S. Lewis famously said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Well, this may not be heaven, but we can model a heavenly mindset by making our homes abound with fun during times of isolation. So, break out the board games, a deck of cards, and the video games! Play your kid's favorite game; learn something new; stay up late watching movies; read more than ever; have a pillow fight. Whatever it looks like, bend whatever normal rules you have at home to make sure it is fun even while in quarantine. Maybe this time can remind us of the simple pleasures.
Our kids are going to look back at this time and remember something. What will they recall? We hope they remember the faith we had and the fun we were able to create.
- Flood your home with worship music. This is a great time to create a playlist. Find some songs that you know and explore some new ones! Between YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon music, we have plenty of choices! There is a powerful song called “Peace Be Still” by Lauren Daigle, it is one we recommend to put on your worship playlist. Bonus points if you share your worship playlist with us on our Facebook page!
- Last, but not least, speak God's truth into the conversations surrounding COVID-19. Whether talking to someone at home, or someone on the phone, this is a chance to show that having a relationship with God provides hope. We don't panic; we pray. We don't think “fight or flight”; we stand steadfast in God's promises. We get to display faith instead of fear because we think differently. Meditate on key verses so that you can speak life and encouragement over the people you interact with. After all:
Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy, but He did promise to shepherd us through it all (Revelation 7:17).
Let's close with this timeless quote from St. Patrick. It is actually one of his most famous prayers. Consider praying this over yourself and those around you as we stand steadfast through this time.
“Christ with me.
Christ before me.
Christ behind me.
Christ in me.
Christ beneath me.
Christ above me.
Christ on my right.
Christ on my left.
Christ when I lie down.
Christ when I sit down.
Christ when I arise.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me.
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me.
Christ in every eye that sees me.
Christ in every ear that hears me.” ―