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We are now almost two months into a season we’ve never seen in our lifetimes – the impact, fallout, and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve waited to say anything on this platform about the subject because sometimes I think in the heat of the moment, we rush to put a faith spin on crisis, or an end-of-the-world spin on it, and we often jump to conclusions and speak up without doing enough reflecting first.

COVID-19 has impacted people from every walk of life. It’s put an amazing amount of stress on leaders in the business and church worlds, as well as on our governmental leaders. It’s isolated many of us from friends, family, and our brothers/sisters in Christ.

So, I’d like to talk about it today. Especially about what we’ve learned so far. As with any uncomfortable season of life, I believe God wants us to internalize some takeaways and grow from them.

Here are four lessons that are really hitting home with me:

Lesson 1: God is not limited by venue

His workings are not confined to a building. We’ve said that for decades, but now we have been forced to live like it’s true. We’re hearing stories of healing, salvation, and breakthroughs happening online! God is not limited by venue. His repertoire goes beyond a physical building. His presence is not confined to any one place. It can be experienced wherever we are and enjoyed whenever our heart is hungry for Him.

Lesson 2: We are more creative than we give ourselves credit for

I’ve been blown away by how our clients have responded to being forced way outside of the box. They’ve been so creative, so energetic, so faith-filled in the face of daunting challenges. Live stream, video, YouTube, drive-in church; daily video chats, online prayer meetings . . . it’s been amazing to see the creative genius of God displayed through these leaders. This online communication in the absence of physical presence has been an absolute lifeline to me.

I can’t wait to get back to helping our clients with visioning, strategy, values, etc. But my hope is we’ll continue to be creative in how we connect with people long after we return to large public gatherings and dealing with our more normal leadership activities. May we continue encouraging each other daily (I think the Bible says that!) using the new tools in our kit.

Lesson 3: God is our source

This is a huge lesson for us self-sufficient Americans. Our provision doesn’t issue from the company we lead, or the church we serve; not our stock portfolio nor our bank account. In economically good times, the bedrock truth that God and God alone is our source is way too easy to forget.

As a collective nation, we have largely forgotten God. We’ve worshiped the idols of money, fame, success, at the expense of acknowledging we cannot do a single thing of eternal value without Him. Jesus put it this way in John 15: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Wow . . . there it is. It really is God alone who gives us the ability, the health, the ingenuity, and the opportunity to produce income. These four elements do not come from within ourselves, they’re gifts He gives to us.

When life returns to “normal” I am asking God to help us to internalize this third lesson—dependence on Him. To help us to live in the light of this truth: that He is our Source, our Provider.

Lesson 4: We need to care for ourselves in the middle of crisis

Somebody has said: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Bringing a healthier, less anxious, and more-aligned version of yourself to the people you’re leading and caring for is the most influential thing you can do in the weeks and months ahead. I detail how to do this in my book, Unshakable You: 5 Choices of Emotionally Healthy People Here’s a few pointers:

  1. Make room for daily times of meaningful connection with God – don’t skimp here. Crisis can drive you away from God or pull you closer to Him. Choose closer. Take time to worship, pray, read/study the word, and journal.
  2. Take care of your body – We can serve God and others better when we’re physically fit.
    1. Exercise – get out and walk. Keep proper social distancing of course.
    2. Nutrition – go easy on the comfort food.
    3. Sleep – 6-8 hours per night – Sleep is your cheat code in times of crisis.
  3. Nurture your relationships – Genesis 2:18 says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Nurturing our relationships is harder to do given the current social distancing restrictions . . . but get on the phone, or FaceTime, or Zoom with your friends. We need our vertical relationship with God and horizontal relationships with people to have a full emotional tank.  We need people we can pour our hearts out to; we need friends we can laugh with.

So, if you’re reading this post and feeling anxious, isolated, and concerned about the future, I get it. All of those emotions have hit me multiple times the past few weeks. I don’t know the details of how things will come out, but this I do know: God doesn’t waste anything. He will leverage the current crisis for good if we humble ourselves and cooperate with Him.

More than ever dear friends, I’m rooting and praying for you!

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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