Since being on lockdown here in the UK, time has lost some of its meaning. When the lockdown was first introduced, I wrote a post about it. I genuinely don’t know if that was a week ago or three! Today’s post is something of a follow up to that one.
The post was called – While on Lockdown– and you can have a read of it by clicking the link.
In that original post, I wrote about us all being very careful about what we allow into our minds during this rather trying time. I advised everyone to avoid too much negative news and influences that would cause us to worry rather than build us up.
So many of us constantly read the news, and it is rarely positive. If not on the news sites, then chances are we are exploring social media and this is hardly ever more positive. We must be so careful about this. We absorb this negativity in and it cannot help but do our spirits and minds deep harm. Many have commented on the dangers to mental health of an ongoing lockdown, and feeding that with negative influences will only make things worse.
I suggested a few ways in which we could limit the negativity, and increase the positivity. Limit your news exposure. Turn off notifications from your favoured news app. Don’t engage with social media which only serves to drag you down.
I did suggest some positive steps too. Aside from Christian disciplines of prayer and Bible study, try to listen to biblical worship music that will trun your heart to praise. Encourage other believers, and friends and family, and in so doing, be encouraged yourself.
We have all heard the claim that we have more time now we are not going out all the time or commuting to work. This may be true, but what are we doing with that time?
Most of us are filling it with screens. And the one thing we are not doing – is nothing.
Do nothing. That’s my advice.
Hopefully you know me well enough by now, if you’ve read the blog for any length of time, to know that I mean something more by this.
Chances are that, with the extra time you now have, you are filling it with something. Maybe you are wise enough to not be filling it with any old show from Netflix or diving deep into the YouTube rabbit hole… but what are you doing with it?
May I suggest something?
Firstly, an idea from the apostle Paul.
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
2 Timothy 2:7 (ESV)
Think. Spend some time just thinking. When was the last time you did that?
Your brain needs exercise as much as any other part of you. Use it!
Don’t just let the first thought that comes to you drop into your mind. Think with a purpose. Think about God and His Word. That is what the Bible means when it says “meditation.”
Meditate on the Word of God. Imagine ourself there, right in the scene, as the narrative is laid out before you. What would it have been like to be present as Jesus fed the five thousand? How about imagining being one who was warming himself by the fire as Peter denied Christ?
Your mind is a wonderful thing. More often than not these days, we drown out our thoughts with one activity or another. I’m not advising you to be passive, for that is dangerous, but I am urging you to think actively. Discipline your mind and point it in the direction you want it to go.
If you are not used to it, then you may need to constantly review what it is you are thinking about. Your mind will wander, and you will need to drag it back to the right path over and over again.
Alongside this, I would recommend you turn off your electronics. Put your phone away, turn off the TV and leave the tablet out of sight. Sit in a comfy chair, inside or outside is fine, and just be still.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
When were you last “still”? If you are like me, then it has been a while – a long while.
I have four children living in my house, and so stillness is not something I’m all that familiar with! Yet it is incredibly valuable.
Something I have learned is that God will not raise His voice. For me at least, God is rarely willing to shout over my circumstances and make Himself heard over my din. He wants me to sit quietly, and listen hard for His voice. And every single time I do, I hear Him clearly.
Do you want to hear from God? Then may I suggest you cut out the background noise before you try to listen.
If normal life is just plain busy, have you found lockdown life any different? Chances are you’ve exchanged one form of “busy” for another. A busy life often makes a good relationship with Jesus rather hard.
Look at Martha and Mary’s example from the Bible.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)
While Martha was “busy” getting everything done, Mary was just sitting at the feet of our Lord. Now Martha is sometimes unfairly criticised here, and actually we need hard workers to succeed. However, when we are in the presence of Christ, the work can be put to one side for a time.
By all means, use any time you have gained due to COVID restrictions. Learn a language, or how to play an instrument. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do but have never had time for. But don’t try to fill every waking hour. Set aside some time to be – to just be – and then just “be” with Jesus.
You won’t regret one minute you spend with Him.