COVID-19: Hitting the Reset Button

COVID-19: Hitting the Reset Button

Introduction

In Episode 2 of The Socially Remote (TSR), David mentioned that we can’t forget that we’re living through history.

This came on the heels of his reminder in Episode 1 to not lose a lesson.

I’ve been thinking about what this means for our family.

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has effected people in very different ways, so your experience may not be like mine at all.

And that’s okay.

But for my family and me it’s served as something of a reset button for our lives and our priorities.

Here are a few recent observations from this pandemic.

My Story

I travel 20% – 25% for work.

In January and February, I traveled nearly 50%; so I was looking forward to a slower March.

But even at the end of February, we had no idea what was coming in just 2-weeks.

At the beginning of March, several countries started limiting international travel.

On March 16th, our company requested that certain office staff begin working from home.

Today is May 25th, and I have been working from home for over 2 months.

Our family has tried to take social distancing seriously, so we have limited journeying out of our home during this time.

Schools were closed.

Church services were put online.

Extracurriculars were cancelled.

I have been given the opportunity to essentially hit the reset button on my life.

I cannot think of any other time where all of our family’s activities would be so focused to our own household.

Like everyone else, we’re homeschooling.

We’re seeing what it would be like to not attend church three times per week.

We haven’t been able to fellowship with friends and extended family.

It’s just us.

Hitting the Reset Button

A Personal Reset

Again, I realize that this is not everyone’s reality.

However, I am realizing that too often we fill our existence with so much stuff (even good stuff) that we often don’t have time for anything unplanned.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m still working from home and my schedule is not completely unencumbered. I stay quite busy with my job. Yet, our lives were very full with other things as well.

But all of that has been “reset” to some degree or another. Here are a few of the ways.

I hate camping. Usually weekends are my time to get things done, so it was easy to tell the kids, “not this weekend.” But now I have no excuse. Our schedules are much more flexible. So we camped in the backyard . . . and I actually enjoyed it!

On the flip side, I actually enjoy video games, but consider them – in general – a waste of time (I have lots of other, more important things to do after all!). But I’ve been playing Mario, Monopoly, and Wheel of Fortune with the kids. It’s been fun!

I am a very task-oriented, and I often don’t involve my kids in those tasks because its just faster to do them on my own. Now I have time to slow down and involve them.

A Cultural Reset

For as long as I can remember, the posture of our culture has been one of busy-ness. Every time I asked or was asked how are you? the default answer was “busy.” That’s not the case anymore.

I almost feel a bit guilty to say I’m not busy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve actually said it yet.

Perhaps we’ve idolized busy-ness in our culture (even though, when we answer the question how are you with busy, we often do so in a tone and manner that says we’re not particularly happy about the status of our lives as “busy”).

The Catch

But here’s the catch. All of the above is true, but it’s still rare in my life.

I’m finding other things to fill my time, so I can feel “busy.”

Busy-ness is our cultural currency for value.

Indeed, if, as we begin easing back into life, we decide to intentionally slow our pace, I wonder if our culture can afford it?

We run ourselves ragged to do so much that, if we slow down, it will mean we’re not as “productive.” And “productivity” is tied to dollar figures.

Hitting the reset button is costly.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not advocating laziness.

But the one lesson that I absolutely do not want to lose through all this is intentionality. As our various countries and societies start to open back up and we begin adding activities back into our schedule, I want to weigh the value of each thing.

The Priorities

For our family, I think that will mean making decisions based on priorities and not just on the spur-of-the-moment-activity.

What do I mean by that?

I mean we want to evaluate what gets added back into our lives by a set of priorities that are designed to help us consider such things.

  1. God – a focus on pursuing a right relationship with God.
  2. Family – a focus on my wife, my kids, and our extended family.
  3. Church – a focus on building up the body of Christ through attendance, service, and fellowship.
  4. Work – a focus on doing my job diligently and with excellence.
  5. Hobby – a focus on using my gifts to enjoy life (reading, writing, podcasting, etc.).
  6. Health – a focus on remaining healthy, so I can continue to pursue the above

Everyone’s list will likely be different. And many of these things can and should overlap.

But when evaluating what goes back into my schedule, I want to weigh activities in light of these priorities (remembering not to sacrifice the priorities above for the priorities below).

This will mean hard decisions . . . and sometimes we’ll get them wrong. But it is an important conversation to have with ourselves, our families, and our calendars as we determine not to sacrifice the top priorities for priorities further down the list.

The Conclusion

I am saying “I” so much throughout this post, because I realize this is not everyone’s reality. But perhaps it is close to your reality, and perhaps it helps you.

Together let’s consider what it means to pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful in our lives.

I don’t want to forget this time in history. We truly are living in a time that our kids and grandkids will ask about.

At no other time in my life would I actually have my family at home so much. Even if I took a two-month vacation (which would likely never happen), we would do something.

This pandemic has forced many of us who are task-oriented to be (instead of do). I once heard someone say “we are ‘human-beings’ not ‘human-doings’,” and while that sentiment is good, it’s also only one piece of the puzzle.

Part of our being necessitates doing; but for many of us, the doing has perhaps gotten out-of-control and this pandemic has offered us a reset button for our lives.

Let’s not lose the opportunity to press it.

Additional Resources

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my book The Relational God.

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This post references The Socially Remote podcast. You can listen to our podcast on the following platforms:

Additional Thoughts

This post is part of a group of reflections about Life.

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy my thoughts on:

Legal Disclaimer: The views expressed on this post belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of his employer.

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About the Author
Steven Halbert is a husband, father, son, and brother. He has held various roles in children and family service organizations and currently works as a product manager for an industrial manufacturer. He enjoys teaching adult Sunday school, which is where the idea for his book - The Relational God - materialized. He has an associate degree in Bible and a master's degree in English; and he blogs about business, relationships, and the church at stevenhalbert.com

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