By Anna Lynne Frazier
The Coronavirus outbreak is a time of uncertainty and upheaval for our community. “Loving our neighbor” means staying home in order to protect others. Social distancing could be marked by boredom and endless Netflix binges. But it might also provide an opportunity for Christians to relate with God and grow spiritually in new and life-changing ways. Here‘s a list of ideas and resources to help you make the most out of your time social distancing.
Connect with God in Prayer
Prayer is simply talking to God. It is a way of communicating your worries, fear, gratitude, and praises to God, inviting him into your life. In addition to this, the act of praying actually strengthens you spiritually. The more you pray, the more you think to pray. The more you pray, the more you’ll see the results of prayer in your life. And the more your confidence in God will grow. If you’re struggling to get started or feel overwhelmed, read through these Bible verses on fear and anxiety or on trusting God. Then, talk with God about the truth and significance of each line. For pointers on how to pray with your kids, check out this blog by Crossing Pastor Nathan Tiemeyer.
Read the Bible
Loving God means knowing who he is and what he loves. Reading the Bible is the best way to learn about him. As you read regularly about God, you will begin to notice patterns in his character and his actions. This will help you identify God at work in the world around you and grow in your love for him. These resources on How to Read Your Bible include recommended Bibles and studies to help you get into the Word. For another reminder to read the Bible regularly, sign up for a daily email devotional on trusting King Jesus.
Listen to Sermons and Podcasts
You don’t have to wait until Sunday to learn more from your pastors about God. Do a deep dive into your church’s sermon archive or tune into a podcast by pastors and theologians you admire. Maybe even connect with loved ones by listening to sermons from their churches and discussing what you learned with them. Whether you’re learning something new or returning to a favorite sermon for the fourth or fifth time, try practicing active listening to get more out of the lesson. Take notes or jot down application points to return to later. The Crossing’s past sermons can be found here. We also recommend the podcast Ten Minute Bible Talks with Pastors Keith Simon and Patrick Miller (available on The Crossing’s website and on all major podcast streaming platforms).
Read a Book to Help You Grow Spiritually
Christians all over the world have been studying the Bible and writing about Jesus for two thousand years. Reading their books helps us stretch and grown spiritually in ways that we’d never be able to on our own. In response to the fear surrounding Coronavirus, Keith Simon compiled a list of books about trusting God in hard times. However, Christian books are not the only kind of reading that can help us grow spiritually. Any book that challenges us to learn something new can open our eyes to new truths about God. For more of Keith’s recommendations, check out this blog about the best books he read in 2019.
Exercise and Eat Well to Keep Your Body Strong and Healthy
God created us in his image to dwell in physical bodies. Because of this, he wants us to take care of our bodies. One way that we’re currently doing this is through social distancing to protect our bodies (and the bodies of others). However, sitting around the house all day can also be detrimental to our health. Care for your body by being mindful about what you eat and how much exercise you’re getting throughout the day. Avoid eating when you’re bored, create a schedule for your mealtimes, find fun online videos to help you exercise, walk around your house or yard for ten minutes every hour to get steps in—whatever works for you!
Be Mindful about the Movies and Shows You’re Watching
When the boredom of being home all day starts to set in, it’s tempting to spend more time watching movies, shows, and other online videos. While using this form of entertainment is not bad in itself, it can get out of hand when we do so mindlessly. Guard yourself against this by setting certain limits in place before you get going.
For instance, decide at the beginning of the day how much time you want to spend streaming shows. Another way to engage mindfully is to take time after every episode to reflect on what you just watched. What were particularly interesting or entertaining moments? What biblical truths could you see unfolding in the story? How is the gospel evident (or needed) in the lives of the characters? Was this an edifying, encouraging way to spend your time? Using discernment in this way helps you stay in control of how you’re using your time. It also creates space to engage more deeply with what you’re watching.
Practice the Spiritual Disciplines of Silence and Solitude
Repeatedly in the Gospels, we see examples of Jesus going off by himself to pray. Though we are communal people who need others to thrive, we are also able to connect with God differently when we are by ourselves. Completely free of distractions. As challenging as a season of quarantine can be for those of us struggling with loneliness, it might also be a unique opportunity to free us from our normal habits and patterns of life, and to experience God in new ways. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer and Soul Keeping by John Ortberg are two books to help you learn more about the important—and unexpectedly powerful—spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude. For regular reminders to slow down, sign up for these daily email devotionals on un-hurrying your life.
Catch up with Your Roommate or Spouse, or Reach out to Friends You Haven’t Talked to in a While
With the busy pace of normal life, it can be hard to slow down enough even to connect with the people we live with and see every day. We fall into routines filled with surface-level conversation and logistical check-ins. The Coronavirus quarantine brings disrupted schedules and newfound time at home. So, make the most of it by reconnecting with people stuck at home with you. Set aside time to pray together. Encourage one another. Share about how you’re experiencing life. Or discover something new about each other. You can also use your time to call that friend you’ve been meaning to talk to but haven’t had the chance. Engage with them in the same intentional and life-giving kind of conversation in order to love them well. As you do so, you are obeying God and living out his vision of what real Christian community should look like.
Play Worship Music in the Background Throughout Your Day
Philippians 4:8 says: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.” One way to do this is to fill your home, heart, and mind with music that declares what is true and good about God. Whether you’re doing chores around the house or caring for children or just sitting still and listening, listening to worship music helps focus your attention on what is most important. The Crossing’s worship directors have compiled multiple new playlists to ease anxious hearts and to celebrate Jesus’s saving work on the cross. You can also explore original music and past worship sets from Sunday morning services on The Crossing’s Spotify page.
Pick up a Hobby or Create Something New
When God made humans, he placed them in a garden with the task of caring for it and expanding its borders across the earth. When we explore, create, cultivate, build up skills, learn new ones, and make the world around us more beautiful, we are living in the way God intended for us from the beginning. Try out a new recipe, follow along with a drawing or painting tutorial on Youtube, start a garden, pick up that old instrument collecting dust, teach yourself how to change the oil in your car—have fun as you bear the image of our Creator.
Looking for more ways to stay connected in this time of social distancing? Visit our full site below for free content, recent sermons, and the latest updates from The Crossing.