One of your main jobs is building community, which is tough to do in this season. Social Media was the extra stuff you did to connect, now it’s the only thing you use to connect. If you’re an IRL people person, all these video screens may have you stressing and I want to encourage you to take care of yourself during this time. Let me offer a few reminders to help you keep your heart, mind and spirit healthy.
I the times we are living in, it’s easy to throw discipline to the wind, but your daily routines can help you keep sane. I am thankful this event took place during Lent as I tend to be more disciplined during this time of the year with daily devotions.
Thankfully I still have my job as a maintenance man, so I get up every day at 5am and listen to my devotion on the podcast Pray As you Go by the Jesuits.
You may have a job where you had several meetings during the week and now, nothing. Try setting an appointment with God every day and keeping it. Make it your spiritual staff meeting.
Keep Your Thoughts In Check
As I do my devotions I journal. I dump my thoughts, good and bad on to the page. Journaling allows me an outlet to keep my mind clear of toxic or anxious thoughts.
Unless it’s a Corona Virus update, I do not watch the news. The news creates anxiety, and sometimes anger, so I keep away from it and anything else that causes my mind to go dark or negative.
I have to keep in mind the scripture,
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
John Krasinsky, of The Office and The Quiet Place fame, started his own good news channel on Youtube and I’m all in on some good news.
Emotional Well Being
You are wise enough to know that your thoughts and your emotions go together, so keeping your thoughts focused on the positive will help you maintain an emotional balance.
There are times though, where our thoughts, regardless of our input, gets the better of you. You’re thinking about your church, if you’ll have a job after all this, your students, your finances and the list goes on.
My only emotional out is prayer. I pray, I cry, I yell, I release. I go into full psalmist mode. Look to the Psalms to help you identify your emotions. The Psalms will be empathetic to your emotions. Currently Psalm 13 has my attention, it deals with my questions, my fear of loss and gives me hope to declare and cling to what is true about God.
Whether you’re married with kids or single, check in with your family often. My wife and I are empty nesters, but our son was home from college and we played our traditional card game Phase 10. We were missing our other two kids so we hoped on FaceTime and video them in, not to play cards but to chat and connect. It was a wonderful time.
Even though congregations cannot meet in person, worship needs to on the list of disciplines. Worship can be singing, giving and serving health care workers, helping your neighbor or whatever draws you closer to God.
If your whole family is at home, do whatever form of worship you choose with the whole family.
Gather some other believers online and have a corporate sing time with them. If you play an instrument of sing, start a live session on the social media platform of your choice and invite others to worship with you.
Connecting with other Youth Workers
You are not alone. Regardless of how many times you’ve seen this as you scroll through your Instagram feed it’s true. One way to battle the aloneness is to connect with other youth workers in your area or online and ask how they are doing and how you can pray for them.
If you didn’t think having a network of youth workers was important before this, I hope you do now. I hope you’ll make plans to connect with the other youth workers in your area after this all done. Ecclesiastes points out that going it alone is not wise,
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
If you’re seeking deeper connections, let me know. I am available most evenings and would be happy to set up a Zoom call for us to connect, talk and pray.
Take care of yourself, for yourself, your family, and your students.