Sheltering in place? Sounded fun for a weekend, or possibly for a week. But here we are, going on multiple weeks with no end in sight.
When this was first announced, like many of you, we longed for a quiet house and a weekend off, just the two of us. After all, we were exhausted from the nine thousand, two hundred and twenty-six days we’ve spent investing into the daily responsibilities of our three kids. We spent over 13 million responsible minutes with a kid in our space. (Looking back, it seems like most of that time was in our minivan–go figure.)
No wonder we were worn out! This forced sabbatical would be just what the doctor ordered. But, for us, this may have been a bigger change than welcoming home our first baby.
Although we are living the dream of E-M-P-T-Y N-E-S-T, we jealously watch the families in our neighborhood. Our minds think back to how fun it would be to have our little ones at home with no extracurricular activities.
One thing we have observed–whether you are a family of five or only at home with your quarantine buddy, whether you have a healthy marriage or a marriage in crisis, whether you are working around the clock or are now furloughed–all of us are being unnaturally forced to find a new normal.
So now what?
Here are 3 tips to help you maximize your quarantine experience.
- Consider the Pressure
These pressures—both internal and external—all build up. They push us. They pull us. They distract us. They are like a car tailing us on I-35, pushing us to frustration.
When this pressure builds up, it is good for us to slow down or change lanes. To be more intentional. To ask the right questions. Perhaps contemplate the questions behind the questions.
God isn’t intimidated by our questions. He welcomes them. It is through this that we see God working. Faith is developed. As life presses in on us, God has a way of showing us His well-worn path. Don’t shortcut the process.
- Consider the Foundation
Going through the Corona crisis reminds us that we act on what we really believe to be true. Actions come from beliefs. You see, our core values shape our foundational assumptions of marriage.
Living with someone non-stop challenges us and reveals much. At these moments, it’s best to look at the model of humanity, Jesus. His conduct was caring, He considered others as more important than one’s self, He wasn’t looking to be served but to serve. He withdrew to quiet places, and His life gave a correct opinion of God.
Jesus said, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought…You’re blessed when you get your inside world–your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” (Matthew 5:5, 8 The Message)
A forced sabbatical can help you get your inside world put right. It’s essential!
- Consider These Ideas
During our quarantine, we have a unique opportunity to create a new normal–or at least survive the abnormal. Here are some intentional action steps:
- Create new fun things to do.
For us, we have been going on “RonaRides”! These weekly bike rides in Cameron Park have been fun and revealed our personalities. Byron enjoys the high-risk, rocky trails, as long as it is downhill, and Carla loves riding round-trip from Baylor to MCC— fast, smooth, and safe.
- Make a Family Fun Can.
Get a tin can. Creatively decorate it with a family symbol and something that represents each person. The larger the can, the more décor. Each person gets five slips of paper to write down a 20-60-minute activity they want everyone in the house to do. Fold it and toss it into the can. Each night after dinner, draw from the can and have fun together. Even empty nesters can do this!
- Give each other space.
Even high Enneagram 7s, people looking for spontaneous adventure with a crowd of friends, need time alone…or at least away from the people they are sequestered with in their house. Married couples can and should work hard to provide space for the other. This is one way we can “consider others as more important than self.” Serve by carving out time and space for your spouse.
So, as you journey down this unprecedented “RonaPath,” grow in your understanding of Jesus as marriage and family life presses in on you a bit. Allow the Holy Spirit to be Teacher, Instructor, Guide, and Counselor as you discover Biblical principles that graciously help life to be lived to the fullest…even when sheltering in place.
By Byron and Carla Weathersbee. Carla and Byron are the Co-Founders/Executive Directors of Legacy Family Ministries, working directly with college students, pre-engaged, and engaged couples. They have been married 36 years and have 3 adult children and 1 granddaughter.