By Annie Lavi
My husband and I swore to each other that we would never watch as much TV as we did last year ever again.
I laughed out loud at my friend on the other end of the phone line. Her humor was a breath of fresh air in our candid discussion of what COVID-19 did to us and our country.
My family crawled towards my son’s first birthday this month, making him my personal mile-marker of a full calendar year since the world first shut down. In 2021, I am as grateful as anyone that the world seems to be slowly returning to a sense of normal. Yet in some parts of my life I can’t shake the feeling that “normal” might not have been serving me or others well. Although this unique season is coming to an end, I realize that COVID presented me with a few perspectives that I hope to bring with me into the next one.
In some parts of my life I can’t shake the feeling that “normal” might not have been serving me or others well.
1. Reworked Hospitality
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers. (Hebrews 13:2)
I wrote this article in August 2020, explaining that when I couldn’t have people over for dinner, I derailed. What did hospitality look like during a pandemic? Last year, the people I saw most were my neighbors, the five houses nearest to mine on our tree-lined street. Now that I return to seeing friends at a regular rate, I interact less with the people who live yards away. I need to fight against returning to the same pattern as before, when I called a quick wave walking in from the car being “neighborly.” Biblical hospitality is set on serving strangers, not only church friends who are easy and familiar. As the world returns to normal, I want to remember my call to my neighborhood, the people God puts near me to love on and witness to.
2. Thinking Smaller
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
This past year, my focus on family sharpened as my world was made significantly smaller. With all the extra time at home, I naturally gave my husband and my son the very best of my time and attention. As opportunities for activities once again expand, I need to be cautious of what I let back into our lives. My husband and I have increased the standard for what makes a date on the calendar. We need to sift through all the full schedules that we operated so normally on before, committed to choosing what serves the Lord and our family best. In the next year, we want to be intentional about what we let back into our lives, keeping our eyes on our small family as priority.
We want to be intentional about what we let back into our lives.
3. Remembering the Real Story
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
In COVID-19, Christians had an opportunity to be people who represented something greater than their circumstance. Living with eternity in mind marks us as having a peace above understanding, and this was a day-to-day way of living that most non-believers lacked during this crisis. Regardless of politics or sickness, I am called to the same standard of holiness, which is designed to set me apart to bring glory to God. While the country shows signs of relaxing once more, I am convicted that I need to take this eternal mindset with me into each conversation. I must continue to remember to see the real story of humanity amidst all the distractions.
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As I review what I learned this past year, I find myself grateful that the Lord allows me to be a work in progress. Although COVID-19 taught me much, I know I have not mastered the lessons on the syllabus. But God graciously continues to teach me, and I will endeavor to be a willing student, bringing these tutorials into the next season.