Last week my brain lived in a fog. Then I wrote last week’s blog post, Choice Taken Away Because of COVID19, and the fog cleared somewhat. I realized that the choices taken away by COVID19 reminded me of when my choices were taken away while I was in eating disorder treatment. The first day in treatment felt like the end of my life, like I was being forced to give up the freedoms I was entitled to as a 39 year old.
Now COVID19. My husband read a meme last night that said something to the effect – Anyone have any good Netflix suggestions since we’re all being grounded? Benj and I both laughed because, really, isn’t that the truth? We feel grounded. We’re adults who have been able to decide where to go, when to go, with who to go. We are a society screaming for our freedom of rights.
And now they feel taken from us. So we fill punished rather than feeling like we can embrace intentional living during COVID19.
The government tells us where not to go, when not to go, and with who not to go. We feel grounded. And feeling like a child as an adult is no fun. We don’t want to live dependent on anyone else to make our decisions for us.
But . . .
Joy During Treatment
I remember the fear of that first day of treatment vividly, but the lasting emotion I took home with me was joy. The initial loss of freedom sucked, but in its place, I felt joy. The joy came from living each moment intentionally dependent on God.
Joy came from living without knowing what tomorrow would bring. Joy came from making intentional decisions for my next right thing. It was truly the life of a child dependent on her Father for her daily needs and trusting wholy that he would meet those needs without fail.
And in treatment, he did just that. Because God taught me that if I looked too far into the future, panic and fear would take over. Only God in the moment gave me peace and joy.
Joy During COVID19
Now, during COVID19, I am finding that joy again. Some may want to slap me upside the head for saying this, but I am finding joy in the restrictions. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have the freedom again to go where I want, when I want, and with whom I want, but in this moment, right now, I’m finding joy in intentional living during COVID19. I’m living intentionally dependent on God in the moment. Because if I look too far into the future, panic and fear take over. I want joy in the here and now. And I’ve found it in unexpected ways.
Remade Home Schooling Mom
Teaching my boys has been fun (astonished gasp from me). I feel connected to them in a new way. I know exactly what they are learning, I get to help them when they are stuck, and I get to see what their teachers meant during parent teacher conferences when they said my boys rush through their work. Yep, a couple of them do. I get to applaud them when they get work done well.
I get to be an intentional part of their day instead of just asking, “How was school today?” I get to be right here with my boys in a way I never thought I wanted. It is a source of joy I didn’t know until now as we practice intentional living during COVID19.
Last week I said how the closing of Snap Fitness was my low point. I was talking to my mom on the phone about Snap closing, and in the background I heard my dad yell, “Hey, you can always use my treadmill!” It’s an old treadmill, but I knew my dad got on it faithfully to walk every night. So every morning since then, I drive to my parents’ house, run on their treadmill, and then I go upstairs and hang with my parents while they drink their coffee and I do some sit-ups.
It has become one of my favorite parts of my new routine. Not only because I still get my sweat on for the day, but because I get to chat with my mom and dad like I haven’t done since probably high school. How sad to realize that life has been too busy to be intentional in finding time to sit down and chat. To see them in their retired life in ways I haven’t been able to by only dropping over for Sunday dinner has been a blessing.
I feel like a 16 year old again, hanging with Mom and Dad. (I was a teenager who liked my parents.) My parents are a source of joy that I didn’t know I needed until intentional living during COVID19.
Teaching online is new. I’ve been a social media user for a long time. I finished my masters program in a totally online program. I work an online network marketing business. I write on this blog weekly. I know online pretty well. But this teaching online is a new gig – one that’s actually been good for me.
It makes me think more intentionally about my students – their needs, their situations, their learning styles. This has made me intentional in ways that I haven’t been as a teacher before.
I have to think intentionally about what I want my students to truly learn and how I can get them there when we can’t be in a classroom together. And I realize how much seeing them each day feeds my love of teaching. So I think of ways to connect when we can’t be face to face, teacher to student. Teaching online has given me a new joy for being a teacher through intentional living during COVID19.
We can’t go anywhere. We are in the house as a family. We have to make our own entertainment. We have to be okay with not being entertained sometimes. We have to learn how to not get on each other’s nerves. We have to realize that the six of us living together in this house are all we have for awhile. Fights need to be worked out. Quiet space needs to be given. Laughter needs to be readily available for everyone.
We are a family, and that has taken on a deeper meaning than it ever has before. Family is not a given; it’s intentional love even when we don’t feel like it. My family has become joy at a deeper level then before COVID19 because we are living intentionally.
Intentionally Living Dependent on God
God is right here. I didn’t know how I’d make it through the next hour in treatment without God. I depended on him for the power to fight the next ED battle until life became “recovered”. And now I don’t know when our lives will be “recovered” from COVID19 again. We aren’t used to not being in charge of our own lives.
But joy comes from trusting God to handle the future. Joy comes from living in the moment, letting God handle the details so that we can focus on how we will depend on him for today. We pray “give us this day our daily bread”. He did not teach us to pray saying, “Help me to stockpile based on panic and fear.” God centers my heart in this pandemic not on fear, but on his control. Depending on God in this moment gives me joy beyond human measure.
This is joy that doesn’t make sense. This is intentional living dependent on him.
It’s looking at our budget and asking ourselves where we’ve become indulgent when we don’t have to be. It’s cooking with what I have in the house. It’s baking snacks more often than buying them.
It’s playing outside on days that before would have seemed too cold. It’s realizing when we need to play together and when we need to find our own corners of the house for awhile.
It’s consciously using social media to connect with others rather than scrolling mindlessly. It’s digging below the top rated shows on Netflix to find the educational documentaries about the cutest animals on the planet or our country’s national parks.
It’s looking up from making supper to see my husband’s face when he walks in the door to see if a hug is in order because work has been hard.
It’s noticing how much toilet paper we use and realizing maybe a few squares less will work just fine.
This is intentional living during COVID19 that I pray remains intentional long after this pandemic ends. It brings joy in the simplicity of boiling our days down to the parts that truly matter. Intentionality breeds joy by not looking to the future, but looking to God for how we can live in the moment.
Just like in treatment when I learned that intentionally trusting God for my next step saved me, I’m realizing that the quarantine of COVID19 is bringing me back to this simple day by day trust. I see what’s important in the now.
God in control, not me – that’s what matters. Intentionally trusting him – that’s the decision that causes panic and fear to flee and joy to grab hold of my hand as we run toward God.