Don’t just consumeLike I said, the temptation for all of us will be to passively digest entertainment until the quarantine is lifted and we can return to normal life. There is absolutely room to sit around and enjoy some films and series, but if that’s all we do, we will have wasted these days. Something to always keep in mind whenever you take in any media, not just in this season, but always: Consume media with your brain turned on. There is no such thing as mere entertainment. Every show, song, film, and YouTube series may be premised as just entertainment, but whatever we consume makes assumptions about the world and how ethics should function. We often digest these blindly and before we know it, we share the same moral ground as the rest of the world. For instance, most people my age believe sex outside of marriage is permissible. Did someone explicitly tell them this, or was it slowly absorbed from every movie and TV show out there today, until finally the ethic became a part of their mental fabric? Everyone on Friends, The Office, and Modern Family is sleeping together as if it’s no big deal, so why should we think it is? Just make sure to absorb all media with your brain on, or else it will slowly inform how you live your own life before you know it.
Keep in touchIf we’re honest, the biggest temptation for us single people will be to practice the fine art of babymaking, but without a partner. Porn and masturbation are already running rampant as (without going into too much detail) I’ve seen countless memes about the activities of lonely folks forced inside, and we can only expect it to get worse. I’m grateful I have great roommates to spend time with, and I’m hoping my time with them will make up for the lack of socializing I’d normally have. I’m also making an effort to keep texting and calling other friends and staying in this together, rather than isolating physically and digitally. We are blessed to live in an age of easy connection, so take advantage of that! Call an old friend you haven’t chatted with in a while. The human connection will reduce the compulsion to act out in sexually unhealthy ways.
Make or learn something newMaybe it’s because I’m naturally both curious and creative, but the itch to both learn and make new things comes readily amidst the boredom. Before resigning to ennui, I’m hoping to craft some new things. For instance, I have begun dabbling in new spooky, fictional podcast formats and the first one is already live. I’m also stocked up on paint, canvases, and sketchbooks, as well as guitars and cameras. In other words, if I make it out of this quarantine season without a boatload of new creations, I should just throw in the towel now. Creating is a way of making my little soul come alive, and when a soul feels alive, it doesn’t desire things that are hollow like porn or acting out. The feeling of accomplishment helps alleviate the allure of lust, so the more we can stay productive, creative, and curious in this time, the more full our souls will feel. It is empty ones that crave cheap satisfaction.
Set your space in orderEven more everyday things like cleaning the house can make you feel successful in something. Yesterday I spent 6 hours cleaning our house and by the end of the day, felt like a champion. The Jordan Peterson quote kept running through my mind: “Before you critique the world, set your home in order.” He’s saying, how can you expect the world to fall into place if you can’t even keep the little portion for which you are responsible in order? Take advantage of this time to get your home sorted.
MoveWhen my gym closed, I realized I would have to go into travel mode. This means my workouts are reduced to running, push-ups, pull-ups, and anything else I can do on the ground. Just because the doors of your fitness center are closed doesn’t mean your body should stop moving! Exercise produces endorphins and pumps lactic acid through our muscles, making us feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Sitting around sedentarily is guaranteed to make you feel depressed and act out. So move! If you need help coming up with exercises to do, let me know andI’d love to produce some home workout tips to keep us moving our bodies during the lockdown!
Embrace the solitudeLast but not least, remember that solitude is a spiritual discipline. It’s not only for monks, but for all Christians (or people). My friend Michael Cusick says, “When you’re empty being alone is torture. But when you’re full, being alone is like being with a good friend.” Take advantage of this time to both get acquainted with yourself and with God. Often the two go hand-in-hand. If you can sit in silence (not even worship music!) and spend some time alone with the Creator, you’ll leave this season feeling whole and satisfied. Alternatively, if you squander it just soaking in Disney+ and moping, you’ll feel drained and more tired by the end, regardless of how much sleep you get. We are all in this time together, and perhaps it is one of the rare times the entire world is united in a common cause. There is some beauty in that and I’m interested to see how it unfolds. In the meantime, let’s keep our energy up and keep in touch! If I missed anything, make sure to email or comment! Pax e The original version of this article appeared on Ethan’s Blog on March 20, 2020. Used by permission.
I’m Ethan & I love Jesus as much as my little heart allows. I’m an artist, traveler, and the Lord often speaks to me in poems. I’m a personal trainer, youth pastor and photographer. I graduated from Moody and now live in Colorado. Come check out my blog at www.ethanrenoe.com.