Anyone who knows me knows that I love novelty, adventure, travel, action, etc. I get claustrophobic staying in the same country too long, let alone the same town. So just about the worst thing you could do to me is lock me down in the same location where I am doing the exact same thing every day. Day in, day out. For five weeks now. It’s been like being in the movie “Groundhog Day” or a rewrite of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day.” So if I can make it through lockdown and live the quarantine life, anyone can! Since it seems like this may be reality for a little while longer, I thought it might be good to share some practical things I am doing to make it through this strange time we are all living in. There are some pretty obvious things that everyone says, so I won’t, not because they are not important, but because you likely hear them every day. Don’t eat bats. Wash your hands. You get the picture.

So here is how I get through:

  1. I guard against spiritual distancing. This pandemic is not God’s fault. He is on my side. I need to turn to Him, not against Him. I need to pray and read the Bible more, not less.
  2. I check a real-time worldwide COVID-19 update on Youtube each morning. So I have the big picture of what is going on. This helps me “frame” my experience correctly. If I am not on a ventilator in NYC, I should be grateful.
  3. I listen to one sweet-sad song each morning and allow myself to grieve and feel bad for things lost, but just while the song is playing. Once it is over I move on to something purposeful. It is okay to feel sadness. Just don’t set up your tent there.
  4. I do the work that I know I have to do for the day. Having purpose is important. I’m writing another book while I have extra time on my hands. We need that sense of forward motion.
  5. I exercise in the little ghetto-basement gym I have set up. It’s not the best, but it will do. Exercise is the cheapest and best drug on the market.
  6. I do something creative like paint or play guitar. Creativity is positive and gets us out of our own heads in a more constructive way than binging Netflix does. Creating leaves us feeling more full than consuming.
  7. I get out in the sun and air whenever I can. On the weekend Colleen and I go for a hike or kayak or bike ride. We look for opportunities to laugh and have fun. This breaks up the monotony and is healthy both physically and psychologically.

These things are not rocket-science, but take discipline. Alexander is a kid, so he just lives in the moment and goes with his feelings. A couple of signs of healthy adulthood are impulse control and the ability to delay gratification. Fortunately, two of the fruits of the Spirit are patience and self-control. As adult Jesus-followers, even though we might feel like the walls are closing in and that this thing is dragging on forever, we know that God has given us what we need to make it through and that life will return to normal. So as you come to the end of this weird semester, the biggest test you have will not be online. It will be the ultimate test of delayed gratification. The test of living with grace under pressure by faith. And with God’s help, you can ace it.