JORDAN/FAMILY & HOME | Being made for relationship
Amid the COVID restrictions and guidelines, many families are trying to navigate children home from school, activities canceled, and working from home.
These new challenges are bringing with them countless practical questions about how to wisely use our time and accomplish our goals.
As my family is facing this struggle in our home and work, I want to offer a few thoughts for those at home with children and/or working from home.
Listed below are four important categories about our use of time, followed by suggestions for daily steps to take in our homes. I hope you will find something helpful for your family as we seek to glorify God in these circumstances.
Being made in God's image, we are made to take dominion and be productive. God has made us all with the drive to be fruitful and do meaningful work. For most of us, a lot of our daily productivity is the result of natural patterns in our days and calendars.
We respond to the rhythm of our workday or school day, and to deadlines which draw out our energy for the tasks at hand.
Right now, when those structures have been stripped from us for a time, it is important for us to recognize that God is still using the labor of our hands.
However, it will require more self-discipline to structure a workday or school day at home that accomplishes our goals and honors God.
Being a steward
Within our calling to take dominion, God has also entrusted to each of us roles and responsibilities in which we are stewards of His good gifts – that could be a spouse, children, property, money, a vocation, talents, and time. Stewardship even extends to our minds and bodies. God's call to steward His gifts well has not abated while you find yourself at home or possibly without anyone looking over your shoulder.
Although accountability exists in our jobs which keeps us on track, we are also called to work with integrity during this more independent time.
Having a united body and soul
While we are glorious image-bearers of the Lord, we are at the same time dependent creatures.
We have been given a united body and soul, and we cannot function well if we neglect either aspect of our humanity.
If we are not feeding our souls or if we neglect proper health or rest, we are not living the way we have been designed to live.
Even when habits and incentives such as congregational worship, 8:00 a.m. meetings at the office, or gym classes are not on our calendars, we must continue to prioritize devotional time, worship, healthy physical activity, hygiene, and productive rest.
Being made for relationship
This is felt more acutely during the estrangement of social distancing: being made in God's image means that we are made for relationships.
Technology and social media cannot take the place of human contact.
God exists in relationship in the three persons of the Trinity, and He brings us into that fellowship of love and community.
The Bible also states, "for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross" — His joy is the children of God whom He came to redeem and bring into union with Himself!
Following His pattern, we are made to find joy in relationship with Him and in our relationships with others.
For our own good and for the good of others, we need to fight self-centeredness and laziness during this pandemic and remember to seek out human contact.
As we do so, it will require extending extra grace and mercy to each other (especially within our own homes), just as God's grace and mercy to us are the foundation of our relationship with Him.
Suggestions for taking practical steps
• Plan a start time for your work or school day.
• Wake up before your work or school day to read and pray.
• Get dressed each day – this will boost the morale in your home.
• Take care of yourself and don't neglect hygiene just because you are at home.
• Plan a space for each family member to work.
• Keep areas clean to create a more motivating atmosphere for everyone.
• Work on your most important tasks before noon to avoid decision-fatigue.
• Spend time outside daily.
• Exercise daily, even if it is just a neighborhood stroll.
• Use your family time to make memories.
• Sit down at the table for dinner.
• Work on growing in patience and creativity, rather than resenting the togetherness.
• Plan restful breaks, rather than squandering time online and calling it your break.
• Plan entertainment such as TV, rather than mindlessly turning to it constantly.
• Connect with friends through phone calls and face time, rather than social media.
• Plan time as a family to read Scripture and pray, even if it is short.
• Go to bed at a decent hour. Don't work on job responsibilities in bed.
• Prioritize Sunday worship. Many churches are livestreaming services and offering other resources such as Bible studies and devotionals.
• Set the Sabbath apart. Because all days are similar right now, make an effort to keep Sunday distinct.
• AND, Lower Your Expectations! This time will not be perfect, nothing is, but it can be spent wisely and productively.
Dominique Jordan of Jackson is a teacher at Christ Covenant School. She is married to the Rev. Jeff Jordan, a Madison native, and they have four kids.