Pause and Focus
Updated: Sep 2
In a movie, there is a moment where a character must make a crucial decision. The character goes into an pregnant pause before delivering a line or doing something.
That scene usually leaves us at the edge of our seats - whatever is said or done after that pause will take all the players’ fate into either a turn for the worse or for the better.
We are in the midst of that kind of a pause “pregnant” with a lot of hope, aspirations, dread, worry – a lot of emotion and meaning – all of which affects the steps we’re taking while living in the time of COVID19. While in this pause what are we pregnant with? What have we allowed our thoughts to dwell on? What kind of talk has filled our conversations? What is motivating us? Or has the pandemic driven us into a state of paralyzing anxiety?
In a tight spot
One of the most difficult things that people are encountering during this time is staying home. Many people openly violated government restrictions to stay home during the first few weeks of the quarantine period. It was no surprise then that many took to the streets and public places the minute restrictions were eased a little after a few months.
It is hard to keep physically still or stay in one place for a long period of time. It is even harder when you don’t have a choice in the matter.
We’re just not used to being cooped up in a place too long. Our patience runs thin when we have to wait longer than we are used to. Before the virus outbreak, we led a fast-paced life able to go anywhere with everything we needed within our reach at any time we wanted it.
People in our city were already in semi isolation a couple of months before the stay-at-home orders by the government. A volcano about 45 minutes away erupted at the beginning of the year forcing us indoors. It spewed ash for several weeks so we closed our windows and doors and limited trips outside the house. We had to wear masks whenever we went out because you could literally feel breathing in tiny particles in the air.
With the onset of COVID19, we settled into a new routine. Like most people, I used ZOOM, Messenger, Viber, and GoogleChat for business and personal meetings. I also did my share of catching up on all the series and movies on Netflix and kept up with what’s going on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. At some point though video fatigue kicked in.
GIGO – garbage in garbage out - we know that. We’ve seen it happen even to our bodies as a result of what we eat. A regular or above normal consumption of sweets, soda, ice cream, snacks, chips, and other junk food manifests itself in spare tires around the waist, or worse, health issues.
It’s not much different with what we listen to or watch. When we focus our attention to broadcast and social media, which are filled with massive amounts of negative news and information, we may end up disheartened or angry. It requires much effort to sift through them and find positive and uplifting stories.
As I was weaning out of binging on movies and TV series, I found my love for baking again. Hunting for vegan recipes became enjoyable. Conversation with family and friends were more appreciated. I also started learning a language. Music set the tone as I worked while exercise helped my body stretch a little. Bible reading, prayer, and meditation made all the difference to how I would respond as events (mostly predictable) unfolded during the day.
Things were good. I was making the best of an unusual situation. Being confined in one place and doing the same things over and over again for a long period of time, however, can make one, well, uninspired. Work around the house had to be done because chores won't do themselves. Leisure walks or trips were not permitted, so there was nowhere to go except the supermarket and the drugstore.
I felt like a hamster running endlessly in a limbo. The saving grace in that however is each time I thought I would lose it, I was reminded to give thanks. That simple act immediately brings the attention away from me and puts all the focus on the Solid Rock that I rest on every day of my life.
It's incredible how we can make ourselves anxious and stressed out when we dwell too much on ourselves, our problems, and the uncertainty of our future.
God knew that we'll have no problem freaking ourselves out that He already prepared responses to each of our fears. He shows us through His word how to endure in any kind of situation. Check these out:
Because he has set his love on me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him, and honor him. - Psalm 91:14-15
Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. -Romans 12:2
But seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:33
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. - Colossians 3:2
so as to turn your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures: then you will understand the fear of Yahweh, and find the knowledge of God. - Proverbs 2:2-5
As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving. Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ. - Colossians 2:6-8
These are God's life-giving instructions that spoke to me. He has more for you to discover in His Bible. As we make our way through this pandemic, I truly pray that you will look beyond your situation and focus on God because He is the only one who can anchor you in these challenging times.