We are all trying to figure this out, without a doubt. This is uncharted territory. You can think of this as an unfamiliar wilderness. We don’t know which way to go. It’s helpful if you have a compass when you’re out in the middle of the wilderness. I want to share with you some navigation points on this compass to help us navigate these uncharted waters.
Let’s just start by acknowledging that we’re anxious. Adults are anxious, kids are anxious. We’re restless and preoccupied, we’re on that rollercoaster of emotions. We’re distracted, a little bored, and feeling out of control. We’re doubting things, people, systems, government, politicians, and leaders.
First of all, True North. True North is very important and it’s the first point on the compass because everything else is based upon that. We’ve got to remember who God is. We realize how inadequate the “artificial anchors” are, as I’ve come to call them. These are things that we hold onto in life: our routines, our structure, our power, our ability to get things done, the work world, the economy, and the money we have in the bank. And you realize that those anchors aren’t really anchors at all. They were artificial at best.
So what is the real anchor? Well, it’s God. It’s knowing where True North is. By the way, I think sometimes we fight this recalibration that’s going on. Internally I don’t want those things to be true again. If I fight this recalibration, that means I’m fighting against leaning back into God in ways that it was always meant to be. So don’t fight it. Relax into where True North is.
How do we get there? Well, I think we meditate. I’ll tell you what to meditate on: meditate on Psalm 23. Meditate on the Scriptures of God who talks to us, who helps us to understand True North.
Second thing we need to do is sort through our fear and pain so things don’t go south in our home. We also have to wrestle with our fear, our grief, our pain, the things that we don’t understand. It’s amazing: fear and pain are uncannily self-centered. When something traumatic happens to us, we just begin to think for ourselves and react only for ourselves. In times like this, self-control is really important.
One of the things we do is lower our expectations for ourselves during times when we’re anxious. We all need to just take a break and understand that our efficiency is not going to be as great. That’s part of the way that we help to calm fear and anxiety going on inside us.
Point number three on the compass: East. The E stands for “establishing new rhythms in your home.” Hey, you could be a couch potato for a little while – and some of us probably were – but after a week or so of this, it’s over. We’ve got to decide if we’re going to be a productive member of society and consider how we’re going to get back to that and mange life at home as a family, including work and school and all the things that are tied into that. I think this navigating is really about negotiating. I think it’s mostly about conversations with the people you live with about the boundaries of change for how we do life. Our rhythms and schedules have changed, so we’ve got to re-negotiate all of that together and figure out how we move through the day.
I think another part of this rhythm is about negotiating exposure to the virus. Do you talk with the neighbor on the front yard? What if one of your children wants to get together with another friend? What if you want to? Do you have somebody over? Under what conditions? Sometimes one of you has to leave the home for work and that brings exposure to you. You’re exposing others to any other person you’ve been with. Obviously, we’re all calculating what the risks are and how we reduce the exposure to ourselves and to others that we care for. And you have to make hard decisions and decide what risk you can live with, and then go forward with that.
We’ve got one more compass point and that’s West. The W stands for “walk in love.” This means to look for good opportunities to be salt and light in the world. Looking North gets us outside of ourselves, which is good for our own mental health because we’re trusting in God and we’re not trying to hold the world in our own hands. But serving other people also gets us outside of ourselves and I think this really, really good ministry. We become part of the mission of God even in times like this.
We have an opportunity to show love that points to the God of love. We have an opportunity to show people how faith in God brings calm in the midst of the unknown. When we walk that out and share that with others and let them see that, we are salt and light. We are pointing them towards True North.
Four navigation points: remember where True North is and remind your kids. Sort through your fear and your pain or things will go South in your home. Establish new rhythms for daily life – negotiate how you’re going to do school and work and live together 24/7. And then walk in love. Look for opportunities to be salt and light in your home and in your neighborhood.
Watch the full video: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-znpTql1fr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
RON L. DEAL is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, Director of FamilyLife Blended® for Family Life®, the author of numerous videos and books on stepfamily living including the bestselling The Smart Stepfamily, and is consulting editor for the Smart Stepfamily Series of books. Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, popular speaker, and host of the podcast FamilyLife Blended. He and his wife, Nan, have three sons and live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Find events and resources at RonDeal.org.
This content originally appeared at www.moodypublishers.com/help for the Moody Publishers Rethink Rhythms. Find Joy. campaign. Used by permission.