Following on from our post last week, we wanted to delve deeper into the simple things we can do to connect with God during these unprecedented times of 2020. These ideas are to help us keep living, to not only survive but to thrive. And we can do it together, despite living in isolation. The hope is that we will each carve out the time to connect with God and focus on the things He has laid out in front of us that needs our attention, things we should be spending our time on, to create, people we need to be spending time with etc. Below are some ideas we can use to look after our Mind, Body and Heart, as individuals or with our family, with Jesus at the centre of it all.
With the increased stress from being in lockdown, uncertainty around whether there’ll be a 2nd wave or not, the impact on our kids’ education, plus all of the added Global unrest, yet alone the usual stresses of life, we really need to look to positive things that can help feed us, rather than drains us.
What this could look like:
Reading the Bible: It might be helpful for you to follow a plan (like that found on the YouVersion bible app), or in tough times looking at God’s promises in the Bible can be really helpful – there are over 365 – one for every day of the year! You can find a daily promise here to give you encouragement and uplift you. If you are looking to involve the whole family in this time, The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great one to read all together.
Journaling: Writing down your worries, feelings and thoughts can help get them out and stop them running through our heads. Ask God how He sees your day and write that down. It might even give you something nice to look back on. Anna and Sam have been starting their day with the kids listening to God and drawing pictures. All ages can join in and it’s great to share what others have and helps provide routine.
The Thank You Game: Go through the alphabet and think of something you’re grateful for beginning with each letter, write or shout it out if you’re in a group. If time is tight, then spending 5 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to write down, or say out loud what you are thankful for works in exactly the same way. A few years ago the #100happydays challenge was all the rage, and I personally found that super helpful to help me focus on the positives of every day, even if it was something as small as catching your fave movie on TV. But shifting your focus to the positives breeds positivity. Lets bring the challenge back!
Cooped up, our bodies can actually become more tired and lethargic, we all know finding ways to keep moving is important and while some of us have found the determination to continue with the regular workouts, some of us, like myself, lost motivation midway through lockdown and have now found it hard to get back to going for regular walks/exercise… I know I’m not alone in this!
What this could look like:
Dance like no one’s watching! Put on your favourite songs and dance! Whatever your genre, whip out the classics and get that body moving. For those with kids, kids worship action songs are great for getting you moving and speaking out words that feed your soul. Find something with a beat, whatever your age. Check out Saddleback Kids video channel and look up their selection of worship songs on YouTube, Rend Co Kids also on YouTube have produced really fun songs on their album Sparkle, Pop, Rampage.
Virtual Workout: Joe Wicks has been a saviour of lockdown with his 9am each weekday workouts on YouTube. Getting adults and kids alike, moving as well as providing a good routine and gives a focused start to the day too. Also join Pullums Dance Academy to help keep you and your kids active this summer – all classes are free on zoom!
Hinch Yourself Happy (and active): For those not familiar, Mrs Hinch is an Instagram celeb who has made her name by making herself and her followers happy, focusing on cleaning her house and having weekly/monthly lists to tick through. I know from experience, once you start it’s hard to stop and it’s amazing how clearing out a cupboard/hoovering etc. can help raise your heart rate. So get up and do those clearing out jobs that are always put off, or potter around the garden if you have one. Not being sedentary for too long helps keep you feeling more active. Being able to either physically or mentally tick off those odd jobs that need doing around the house is so satisfying, as well as keeping you active.
Got young kids? You’ll have no choice to be sedentary! But you can get them involved in simple jobs too.
Even though we might be physically isolated we still need to connect with other people and not just the ones stuck in the house with us. Try and remember anyone you know living on their own too, just a phone call can make their day and bring a smile to your own face.
What this could look like:
Phone a friend: Have a time you phone a friend to catch up and pray together, make space to connect with particular friends on a deeper level and help each other pray and trust God in these crazy times. A video call is even better as it feels as though you’re in the room together. Keep each other accountable, have a goal of the day/week and catch up to see how you’ve both gotten on.
Also arrange a video call with your kids’ friends so they can stay in touch with those outside of the family or even their nursery/school friends.
Me Time: Spend time with God on your own, to talk to Him and invest in that relationship, if it’s new to you or doesn’t come naturally, set a timer for 5-10 minutes. You could even try writing down what you think He says. Pray with your partner and/or kids and talk to God together – is there anything you want to tell Him today? What has been the best bit or hardest bit? What are you most grateful for?
If it helps, The Church of England publish a prayer of the day and daily prayer routines that you can join in here. This can give our thinking some structure and stop it spiralling unhelpfully.
Pray as a church: As a Church community we pray the Lord’s prayer at noon each day, set a timer and know that we’re all stopping and doing it together. Starting from the 2nd September, we will also be meeting for prayers 8-9pm on Wednesday nights fortnightly – feel free to join us for this. Zoom details can be found here. Or if you’d rather, email us your hopes, fears or people you’d like us to pray for and we can add that to our prayers on your behalf.
We hope this helps. Living healthily, in mind, body and heart is really important and living with Jesus at the centre of this means He is involved in all parts of that too. Reading the Bible helps keep our mind healthy, worshipping can help keep our bodies moving, prayer connecting with God and others is vital for our heart.
For other activities and help within the Borough, visit our Covid-19 – Community Help & Support page that covers Faith & Hope, Wellbeing, Practical Help, and Community, so there’s something in there for everyone.