Dear Adelaide Friends
Dear Adelaide Friends,
I write to you as someone who knows a little how you might be feeling today. I work for City Bible Forum in Melbourne and my heart goes out to you as you face the threat of a second wave of COVID-19, and have now begun a very strict lockdown. As I watched the news yesterday afternoon, and the announcement from your Premier Steven Marshall about what the restrictions would involve, it brought flooding back to me all the memories of when we were glued to our screens in Melbourne watching a similar press conference from our Premier. So, what I offer here are four simple suggestions that might help you through this time. Pick and choose the ones that work for you - I know, it can get a little trying when everyone from interstate is telling you how you should feel and what you should do! But know that whatever else, we at City Bible Forum are praying for you and South Australia.
1. Be kind to yourself…and others
Know that such a strict lockdown is not normal. It's not normal to be isolated in our homes with little to no human contact. God made us for relationships, and not just Zoom relationships, but physical in person relationships! So lockdown can do funny things to us (make us unsettled or anxious or short-tempered about things that ordinarily wouldn't worry us in the slightest). Know that is perhaps happening to you even if you don't realise it, and so be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to take a longer lunch break if you need it. Give yourself permission to cry if you feel like it. Give yourself permission to feel disappointment about the things you might have to miss out on because of this lockdown - all of that is ok! Disappointment was one of the biggest emotions I personally had to regularly deal with during lockdown.
But in being kind to yourself in these ways, be kind to others also. If someone is short-tempered or seems unnecessarily irritable towards you remember that's probably the challenge of this lockdown spilling over in ways that they normally wouldn't behave. Be patient and kind to them. Remember "a gentle answer turns away wrath" (Proverbs 15:1) - maybe your kind words will be the only ones anyone offers them today.
2. Admit if you’re not coping
If you do find the lockdown a struggle (and there are many things which can indicate that you're beginning to not cope - a reliance on alcohol, irritability, not sleeping as well) don't wait until it is too late. Reach out for help and admit to others that you're not coping. Whether that's a good friend, a church pastor, a professional counsellor or mental health service, or one of us at City Bible Forum - we're more than happy to jump on the phone to listen and pray with you.
3. Ask RUOK…and offer to pray
Following on from that, be the person in your community and workplace who is asking others how they are going. RUOK Day is a well-known day many workplaces embrace. But let's not ask our colleagues only on that day. Especially in this lockdown be quick to ask your colleagues and friends "RUOK"? And once you've asked that, why not offer to pray for them? I personally found during our lockdown many non-Christian friends, contacts (even my local cafe manager!) were very receptive to me offering to pray for them after I asked how they were going. So ask RUOK and offer to pray.
4. Stick close to God
Finally, maintain good daily devotions with God. In lockdown time begins to blur. Every day starts to feel like Groundhog Day. Routines can easily slip. So, let me encourage you to keep up the routine of reading God's word and spending time in prayer with him throughout the lockdown. And if you feel too tired to have the motivation or energy to do it on your own, why not find a Christian friend and agree on a time each day that you can get on the phone with one another to read God's word and pray together.
Most of all, be assured of the support and prayers of your brothers and sisters at City Bible Forum. Don't hesitate to contact us - we're just an email, phone call, (or even Zoom!) away. May God sustain you, and even deepen your love and dependence upon Him during this lockdown.
Life@Work National Manager