So often during this season of quarantine we have talked about the things that we have lost. Professional sports, social gatherings, graduations, proms, handshakes and hugs. And there’s no getting around that: COVID stinks. But in the midst of suffocating quarantine, near endless boredom and isolation, and more Netflix than we are proud of, there is an opportunity for spiritual growth. So with that I want to present you with the 5 ways you can grow closer to Jesus in quarantine.
This might feel obvious but other than simply the spiritual, prayer has unbelievable benefits to our mental health, anxiety, and decision making. Prayer offers us an opportunity to bring that which is beyond our control to a higher power. And not all prayer is created equal either. It is not only that quarantine has given us ample time to pray, it has also provided us with ample things to pray about. It is undoubtably true that prayer is most beneficial to our health when we have sincere things to pray about.
2) Go for a walk-in nature.
Hey you know what’s not closed? The environment. In fact, with all the commuter cars off the road, factories shut down, and other carbon emissions lowered, there has never been a better time to get out and enjoy the clear air of the outdoors. Why is this good for your spiritual life? We find it all over scripture that humans connect with the divine through the natural. Scripture begins with creation and from the climax of the Book of Job, through the first chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and even the final chapters of Revelation the need for connection with the physical to experience the spiritual is evident. So go take a hike.
3) Spend time in silence.
You know who spent a lot of time in isolated silence? Jesus. If you want to know Jesus, do what Jesus did. Spend time listening to the utter stillness of a world that has slowed down. This one will be the toughest because the quieter it gets the more you begin to realize that our world is anything but quiet. HVAC systems, passing cars or emergency vehicles at all hours, even the hum of electronics on but not in use disrupts the most pure silence (nearly unobtainable these days); but hey, if you can even just turn off Tiger King for long enough to hear yourself think, you might get somewhere.
4) Serve someone.
So you can’t touch people. That’s a bummer but it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to love your neighbor. Why not bake a plate of cookies and leave them on a friend’s doorstep with a note? Send a card to someone else who’s in quarantine at a retirement facility or in prison. Send an encouraging text to your mother or your children or even your quirky neighbor. Give those old toys in your basement to the kids down the street who are probably pretty sick of their own stuff by this point. Why? Because Jesus says (poetic license), “If you want me, be with them; if you want to love me, love them first.”
5) Study your Bible.
Now it might be easy to say “oh sure I’ll read my Bible for three minutes a day.” That’s not what I’m implying. Pretend your study of scripture will yield a grade. There will be a midterm and a final; you better prepare. Is this healthy to do all the time? Absolutely not. Is this essential to do now and again because your interested in knowing a historical figure who lived over two millennia ago in a world you can’t begin to imagine, with none of the same preconceptions of the world you have, and who didn’t even speak the same languages as you? You bet your butt. So use quarantine as your intensive; who knows you might even like it.