I think we can all agree that life is weird right now.

Words like “quarantine”, “social distancing”, and “unprecedented” are being thrown around a lot lately.

While most of us don’t actually have COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus, we’re all being impacted by it in some way.

Numerous businesses are closed temporarily; many people are working from home; events (such as sports games, church services, etc.) are canceled; travel bans are in effect in certain parts of the world; it’s nearly impossible to find toilet paper or hand sanitizer…the list goes on.

All kinds of things are shut down right now and the entire world seems to be freaking out about this pandemic.

Here are some lessons I’m learning right now during this bizarre time in our world.

The Little Things Matter

How many little things do I take for granted every day?  A hug from a friend, a walk around the mall when it’s 15 degrees outside, a massage to alleviate my tight neck muscles, a dinner out with my husband, a relaxing yoga class, a beautiful service at my amazing church…

I can’t really do any of these things right now.

Stores, salons, gyms, and many restaurants are closed.  My church has canceled all in-person services for the next few weeks (at least).

We’re all being instructed to practice “social distancing”, and my husband and I are both being required by our employers to work from home for the time being.

So, for now, we’re spending most of our time at home and we’re all going a little stir crazy.

This has been a good reminder to appreciate the small, seemingly insignificant things that we take for granted every day.

It’s Time to Slow Down

Let me be clear: I know that some people are insanely busy right now.  If you work for FedEx or a toilet paper company, you might be working three times as much as you normally do.

Others are juggling providing care for their children (due to schools being closed) with work and other responsibilities.

But for some of us, this is not a busy time at all.  For many of us, it’s a good time to slow down.  With events, travel plans, social commitments, and other activities being canceled, you might find yourself with a lot more free time than you’re used to having.

I have a Type A personality – I love to be productive and get stuff done.  This isn’t always a bad thing, but it often leads to me overwhelming myself (which is completely unnecessary).

I’m going to use this extra free time to listen to more podcasts, go for more walks, write more blog posts, have more quiet times, and just relax with my husband and our pugs.

Perspective is Crucial

Our circumstances do not cause our feelings.  If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or worried, it’s not because of the Coronavirus or the stock market.  It’s because of the thoughts you’re having about these things.

(Side note: If you’re struggling with anxiety, worry, stress, frustration, or other negative emotions during this chaotic time, listen to Brooke Castillo’s Life Coach School podcast.  She has several recent episodes addressing many common issues her listeners are struggling with right now related to COVID-19).

Instead of fixating on whatever terrifying statistic the news is reporting now, why don’t we try to find a silver lining wherever we can?

The stock market always has ups and downs, and it will recover.  Although we may be telling ourselves that the economy is in shambles and that no one is going to spend any money anymore, this simply isn’t true.

Some businesses are booming right now.  WebEx, Zoom, FedEx, Domino’s, Netflix, DocuSign, and Amazon are a few examples.  There’s a huge demand for certain services right now…like life coaching, home schooling resources, and video conferencing tools, to name a few.

Another silver lining is that many of us have extra time on our hands…time we can use to relax, slow down, reflect, spend more time with our families, work on projects we’ve been putting off, or pursue our goals.

I’m thankful that this is happening during a time when so much can be done online.  We can work from home, take classes online, listen to podcasts, work out at home, shop online… It’s truly amazing what technology can do these days.

Circumstances are Fleeting

Things can change in an instant.  We can save money, fill our schedules, and make all the plans we want, but there’s no guarantee that our plans will actually happen.

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9, NLT

Once in a blue moon, a virus might come around and bring everything to a screeching halt.

My husband and I had planned to go to an event in May (that we were really excited about) that will likely be canceled.  We were also considering driving to Canada this fall, but since the border to Canada is currently closed (and we don’t know when it’ll re-open), we decided not to (potentially) waste money on a trip that may not even be possible.

This is a good reminder that there is very little that we can control in this world.  We can control how we react to circumstances and what we do, but that’s about it. As much as I’d like to control the external world sometimes, I can’t.

When I try to put my faith in myself (or my money, or my ability to plan ahead), it’s inevitable that I’ll be disappointed sometimes.  Instead, my faith should be in God – the only one who is truly in control.

“When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.” – Charles R. Swindoll