How are you doing this week?
You have entered your third week of the “stay at home” order. You just celebrated the most unusual Palm Sunday ever celebrated. You are listening to and watching the conflicting reports regarding the pandemic. Truthfully, you are ready for this pandemic to be over so you can go back to doing what you know you do best. Yet, you are now into Holy Week and you are preparing for Easter Sunday in a way you never expected to be preparing.
So, I’ll ask my question again, “How are you really doing?”
Chicken Little or Not Doing Enough?
On March 13, Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Public Health said, “On the front end of a pandemic, you look a little bit like an alarmist. You look a little bit like a Chicken Little. The sky is falling. And on the back end of a pandemic, you didn’t do enough.” I share her quote to do nothing more than give a perspective of where you might be as you live into and lead through this pandemic.
You can find yourself anywhere between disbelief and acceptance. Externally, you are learning new ways and living into this pandemic the best you know how. It is truly surreal. Who would ever have imagined what is going on in the world today?
Internally, you find it hard to believe that the situation is as desperate as the reports say it is. You are disturbed over the talk of a “new normal,” and you are overwhelmed with the pain, confusion, and the distress of people you know and love.
Life and work have changed. The idea that you have little control over what is going on creates anxiety you have felt very few times in your life. You can’t do what you know you can do, so you have decided to learn new ways to get through this time of crisis.
Who Do You Need to Be?
The truth is not one of us have been at this place before. I have not faced any situation like this in my 46 years of ministry. But, with that said, I have given a thought and reflection upon who we need to be and how we can proceed together to enter the day that emerges on the other side of this crisis.
So, here is what I have been thinking:
Keep focused upon who you are
- You have what you need to live into and to lead through this crisis.
- Reflect upon the experiences and/or events that have shaped your thinking and feeling.
- Affirm what you have learned through your relationships, experiences, and education
I am convinced you are created to navigate the uncertainty and anxiety of the situations and circumstances of these days.
Keep focused upon why you do what you do.
- Keep the mission of the church in mind – Whether you articulate the purpose as “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” or in another way, remind yourself of the church’s purpose.
- Stay grounded upon your call to ministry – Your call is to people
- Continue your study of and reflection upon the scripture – Something that might be helpful is the God Is with Us daily devotional
- Continue to keep the people entrusted to your care focused upon God’s love and care for them. How are you engaging them in the study of scripture? Worship? Care?
When you focus upon why you do what you do, you will be the leader that you need and want. You will model the behavior needed to live in this crisis and provide the leadership to get through the crisis.
Begin to focus upon your strengths.
- Do you know your strengths? If not, this would be a great time to learn your gifts.
- How do your strengths complement the strengths of family members?
- How do their strengths complement yours?
Now, more than any other time, you can strengthen family relationships and learn the strengths of others as you lead and care for the people God has entrusted to you.
Stay present in the moment. You are your best when you are present.
- We are presently in a “transitional normal.” Stay present as you step into new and different ways of working and living
- We are moving toward a “new normal.” No one of us knows exactly what that means, but when you stay focused and present helps you model and lead through all transitions.
- Remember: If you spend too much time in the past upon what you have lost or what you should have done, you lose yourself in regret. If you spend too much time longing for the future, wishing for something different, you lose yourself in worry.
Stay in the moment and take one step at a time. Offer to walk with others who are lost in regret and worry. Assist them in staying in the moment and stepping into every day with hope and courage.
Learn to pace yourself.
- We are in the midst of a long transition.
- Keep yourself healthy – Get enough rest, exercise, eat healthy meals. Your health is essential as you lead others into and through this crisis
- Stay open to learning new systems and new ways of providing the care and services you have been providing.
- Continue to improve your use of technology and social media. Record or live stream worship or bible study. Maybe you can experiment with one or two forms of technology or social media and discuss this blog or earlier blogs.
- Continue to use technology to reach out and connect with the people you lead and serve. If nothing more than a phone call, text, or email, you are staying connected. Take a risk and use Zoom or Skype to connect with people you are accustomed to seeing on a regular basis.
You have stepped up and responded in remarkable ways. Because we are in this for the “long haul” it is important that you pace yourself, keep yourself healthy, and lead with hope and courage.
“We Made It, Together!”
My intention is not to add more to your life but to improve your life. I am convinced that if you focus upon who you are why you do what you do, and when you live with your strengths, and stay in the moment, you will get to the end of the pandemic and be able to say, “We made it! And we made it together!
Know that you are not in this alone. Sara Thomas and I (Tim Bias) are with you. We are ready and willing to journey with you into and through this crisis. Keep yourself healthy and now that I will come back with my question, “How are you doing? How are you really doing?”