The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how we live our daily lives. It’s restricting us from going out to eat, visiting friends and family, or just simply going to work. It’s even shaken up our Christian lifestyles, where we cannot go to church on Sunday or attend our weekly Bible study. We are secluded to our homes, waiting until this blows over. We are full of more stress and anxiety than ever before.
While you might be feeling broken right now, or even bored, there are ways you can use your new isolation time to do something good for yourself. Spending more time with the Lord and talking to Him will help you stay positive during this time. Here are ways you can grow closer to Him, even when far away from the church.
Admit you can’t do everything on your own.
One of the first steps to gaining a closer relationship with God is admitting that you need Him in your life in the first place. With the current state of the world, life can feel very overwhelming, stressful and depressing. These are things you don’t have to deal with on your own. Rather than focus on the negative, call to God and ask for His help. The reality is that we can’t do everything on our own, so admitting this will not only show a sense of humility in your life, but will also show God that you have faith in His strength and guidance. As John 3:30 states, “He must increase, I must decrease.”
Continue to worship Him.
Isaiah 55:9 says “We were created to connect to the heart of God and worship helps us get to that place of connection. It is what transforms us by placing our eyes on His ‘higher ways’”. Worship can be stirred up in many ways and doesn’t just mean attending church on Sunday. This can look like putting on your favorite album of Christian music and singing, or participating in an online Bible study with your friend. Whatever helps you connect, go for it. Think outside of the box to find new ways to celebrate Him during quarantine. Maybe getting out in the beauty of nature stirs your heart to worship – at a safe distance from others, of course! Perhaps making a list of what you have to be grateful helps you feel connected to God. We’re all wired differently, figure out what draws you into worship and make it a practice.
Make prayer a priority.
Prayer is key during these difficult times. Although prayer can sometimes feel weird or awkward, it’s really not at all. God is able to look inside of your heart and hear what you stressing over, without you even having to fully express it. Look at prayer as a conversation between you and God, the same as you would have a conversation with your best friend or family member. You’re simply talking with Him. You don’t need to light candles or be at a church alter to make it “right” in the eyes of God. Just relax, get somewhere peaceful, and begin a conversation with God that will help build your relationship with Him. Tell Him about the new stress you are feeling because of the pandemic, and don’t be afraid to say you’re upset and made about what is going on if that is what you feel. Martin Luther once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” That quote is packed with powerful truth. Any relationship with meaning is one that has great communication.
Keep investing in the spiritual relationships you have.
We weren’t designed to be isolated. Rather we thrive when in community. When you don’t have the convenience of seeing your church family every Sunday anymore, it makes it more important now than ever to invest in the spiritually grounded friendships. Write down a list of everyone who can help spiritually uplift you during this time and start reaching out to them. Do you have a Bible study leader you connect with well or a family member who also wants to build a better relationship with God? By talking to these folks, you’ll stay connected with your church community even from miles away. Life is hard right now, and you will need support to lean on. Having several relationships you can count on for encouragement and accountability is key to not stagnating. As Proverbs 27:17 puts it, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Listen for His voice.
Remember to make it a two-way conversation and expect to hear from God, just as you would from a trusted friend. God wants you to know how much He loves you. He wants to offer support and guidance to you and remind you that you are not alone during this pandemic. If you don’t take the time to listen, you won’t hear His “still, small voice.” This communication from God can come in any of various forms: thoughts, feelings, music, reading, nature, other people, or circumstances. Sometimes you may only recognize God’s voice in retrospect. The important part is keeping your eyes and ears open so that you can receive it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we live our lives as Christians. However that shouldn’t stop us from continuingly seeking out a deeper relationship with Him. We can still pray, read the Bible, watch sermons online, and connect with Christian friends. This all will help you continue to stay positive during this unprecedented time, while also connecting you with Christ.