This is one of the most bizarre moments in my 50 years of living. COVID-19. Social Distancing. Everyone on social media knowing a guy who knows a guy who has a friend with the “best” advice on pandemics. No sports. No community events. No schools. No church. No toilet paper.
When this passes, we will all remember when the world pressed pause for the coronavirus.
So what now? We just got word that our schools are closed for two weeks. There will be school work but there will be tons of extra time. Kids will not be rushing out the door. They won’t be headed to practice or rehearsals. They will be home during this time with very little to do. We will all probably get on each other’s nerves. Then when the two weeks is over it will be spring break. That’s a lot of extra time.
Here is one thing to consider. If we embrace the pause button, being wise to watch our health, it can be a moment God uses in a profound way in your family. Many of us won’t be able to use the “I just can’t find the time”excuse for certain things. We can use this time to learn to abide in Jesus together and grow in deeper love for one another.
We can grow as disciple makers in our homes.
Here are few very practical ways to embrace the pause button, abiding in Jesus as a family.
Intentional Encouragement– Every evening focus on one family member. For example, in our family we would have Shelley night (my wife). On Shelley night the rest of us will take time to share things with her that we love about her. We will tell her why we are thankful for her. We will let her talk about anything she wants to talk about. We will ask how we can pray just for her. We will pray her.
On the next night we focus on different family member.
Consider Each Other More – Challenge every family member to do one genuine act of service for each other family member every day for two weeks. This will push them to live out Paul’s challenge in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”.
Celebrate the Lord’s Super as a Family– You do not have to have any unique training to have communion together. You can make it part of your regular meal time once a week with grape juice and bread. Here is a basic format you can use: Read Luke 22:14-20 out loud. Have someone say a prayer thanking God for Jesus’ work on the cross and then take the bread and juice together. You could even share with your family your spiritual story and why Jesus important to you.
Have Extended Spiritual Conversations a Family– I know it can be intimidating to lead spiritual conversations at home, but you have a unique opportunity during this time to stretch yourself. You don’t need a grand plan. A simple approach could be to read a Proverb or chapter of the Gospel of John a day together. After reading it ask questions such as:
- What did you think was interesting about the chapter?
- What do you think it was about? What does it teach about God (Father Son, Holy Spirit)?
- What about the chapter challenged you? Confused you?
- Is there anything that you might need to do because of this chapter?
- How should we pray as a family because of this chapter?
You can also ask each family member, “If the rest of us prayed just one thing for you over the next 3 weeks, what would it be?” This can open up to more conversation and help you know what each family member is really thinking about right now. It also gives you clarity on how to pray for your family.
The beauty is that for now, most of us have the time to do all of this.
I imagine that if you put rhythms like these into your life over the next few weeks of the world’s greatest pause button, it will change your family. You will abide in Jesus more deeply. You will love each the more intentionally. You may not even get on each other’s nerves quite as much.
Embrace the Pause.