With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic many of us are stuck inside. As such, we may be tempted to waste our time with boredom, numbing, or even escaping the realities of our current circumstances.
Below are some brief ideas on how you may use this time in a more encouraging manner — renewing your mind, heart, and soul. Also included are some reading suggestions (from Pastor Justin) for those who want to read something other than the national news media.
Suggestions for Feeding Your Heart, Mind, and Soul:
- Memorize Psalm 23 and/or read through it several times a day.
- Write out all the things you’re grateful about. Keep your list growing for days until you reach at least 100.
- Place a “Jesus Jar” on the shelf. When something enters your mind that you have no control over, write it on a card and put it in the Jesus Jar to remind yourself that He is in control.
- Read a good devotional each morning and evening.
- Utilize the Romans Devotional for this message series.
- Read Scripture during free time. Start with the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, or other books in the New Testament.
- Spend a full two hours with God.
- Find ways to play, smile, and laugh. (Play a table game with the family. Take pictures and create a video. Plan a dream vacation. Just find something to do that is much more life-giving than life-draining.)
- Schedule a media fast for an entire day (or week).
- Commit an entire day (or longer) to not gossiping. Gossip is speaking negatively about someone who is not present – whether in person, on the phone, text, or on social media. (This may include family, neighbors, politicians, journalists, or anybody else.)
- Pray for somebody you’re struggling to forgive, or whom you may be experiencing bitterness or resentment.
- Write a card of encouragement for a family member, friend, pastor, colleague, neighbor, or other.
- Practice a full day of Sabbath rest in a godly way. (What is it that truly brings you rest?)
- Spend 10 minutes a day being still, knowing God is God.
- Have video calls with family and friends. Zoom.us is a free service that anybody with a laptop, cell phone, or tablet can use for free video calls.
Encouraging questions you can ask others you may check-in with:
- How are you currently holding up emotionally? Can you pinpoint exactly what you’re feeling?
- What are some things you’re doing to listen to God each day? What are you learning or discovering about Him?
- What are some things you’re learning about yourself at this time?
- How has God uniquely suited you to be a light to yourself, your family, your neighbors, and others at this time?
- Do you have any doubts or fears we can discuss and pray about?
Book Recommendations (by Genre):
- Victory over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson (What does it mean to find your identity in Christ?)
- The Good & Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith (Is God good only some of the time? Does he love you more when you’re ‘good’ and less when you’re not?)
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero (You cannot grow spiritually without growing emotionally, and vice-versa.)
- Everybody Always by Bob Goff (What would it look like to love everybody, always?)
- It’s Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst (Finding unexpected strengths when disappointments leave you shattered.)
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Injustices in the legal system.)
- Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King (A True survival story of a shipwreck in the 1800’s.)
- Educated by Tara Westover (Memoir of growing up uneducated and completely off the grid.)
Fiction / Fantasy:
- Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (This is fantasy writing, much like Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. As such, it isn’t for everybody. I would give it a PG-13 rating for violence and language.)
- And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (A short novella about the challenges of an aging parent or grandparent. Be warned, you may very well tear-up if you listen or read this one.)
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (My personal favorite WWII fiction novel.)
If you’re looking for other reading suggestions, feel free to comment and let me know. I read a lot and could have posted many more suggestions!