You have just experienced your third Sunday with worship outside the church building. You are starting the second week of the “stay at home” order.  You are working from home and discovering new ways to be socially connected while being physically distant. So, how are you doing with this new normal?  

Maybe a better question is: how are you caring for yourself during this disruption?

Here are four things to remember regarding self-care and the care of others.

1. Be Curious

  • When you are curious you ask questions and learn about people, situations and circumstances. Learn as much as you can about Covid-19 so that you can manage your own thoughts and feelings as you assist others in managing their thoughts and feelings. The more you know the better equipped you are to rely on the facts.
  • Learn as much as you can about the people who are researching the virus and who are leading us through the shrinking the curve.  By listening and learning, you are more able to assist the people who are entrusted to your care.
  • Your curiosity leads to creativity. The more curious you are, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can find ways to care, connect, and communicate. Be curious, but don’t be consumed by the media.

2. Be Aware

  • Be Present. Become aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and surroundings as well as the thoughts and feelings of the people around you. When you are present to what is unfolding and happening, you are more able to pay attention to the reality of the moment.
  • Appreciate Current Reality. When you are able to see things clearly, you are more able to lead in these uncertain times. Your calm and peaceful leadership is anchored in your appreciation of reality.  
  •   Keep the End in Mind. As you lead in the reality of the moment, remember that there will be an end to this crisis. Keep moving forward with the assurance that you will make it through.
  •   Be Grateful. As you become present to the reality of the situation with the assurance that you can and will make it through, you will become more aware and more connected to life, to the people around you, and all the new and different expressions of life emerging. Make time to give God thanks.

3. Develop A Routine

  • Routines create high achievers. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not on act, but a habit.”  
  • Routines help you achieve more, think clearly, and do work that matters. They keep you from stumbling through your day and make sure you get the most important things done. 
  • If you have not done so, it is important that you develop a routine that works for you.  You might consider the following:
    • Getting up at the same time every day
    • Participate in God is with Us
    • Exercise
    • Eat healthy food
    • Remember and reflect on the day’s activities and achievements
    • Give God thanks for the moments you experienced God’s presence
    • Get plenty of rest/sleep

 

4. Have Realistic Expectations

  • The balance between realism and optimism, in times of uncertainty, is a key to survival.
  • In times of uncertainty, expectations centered on the future must be realistic.  Check out the Stockdale Paradox for a greater understanding of the balance of realism and optimism. 
  • Stockdale explained, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Your Next Step

You might think of it this way. 

  • (Be Curious) What can you do to help with Covid-19?  Regardless of all you might have to offer, you can pray. As a Jesus follower, pray is part of your life.
  • (Be Aware) Who are people you can pray for? There is no shortage of persons for whom you might pray. At this point in time, you can pray for the doctors and medical personal who are on the front lines, exposing themselves to the virus as they discover ways to keep the rest of us safe. 
  • (Develop a Routine) When can I pray for them? You can pray for them every day as you pray for your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. 
  • (Have Realistic Expectations) How should you pray for them? You can pray for their well-being as they offer themselves in service and compassion for their local hospitals, communities, and the world.

As you lead into and through this disruption, it is imperative that you know the facts, name current reality, keep moving forward, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of current reality.

Know how grateful I am for you and your leadership. Take care of yourself so that you can be the leader God has created you to be.

Know also that you are not alone.  We (Sara Thomas and Tim Bias) are available to help you care for yourself as you care for others.

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