In listening to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, social distancing is staying at least 6’ away from others. A quick internet search indicates other examples as:

  • Working from home instead of at the office
  • Closing schools or switching to online classes
  • Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
  • Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings

It turns out that social distancing wasn’t developed specific to Coronavirus, but instead has been a public health practice for years, for highly contagious diseases. A potential silver lining in the current health crisis is that people may gain positive habits, i.e. better hygiene, that prevent the spread of disease. This could help in relation to the flu and the common cold. We can hope.

Photo by Bongkarn Thanyakij from Pexels

Cyndi, my wife, and I have been taking all of this seriously. With the exception of our Sunday drives and occasional walks outside, we’ve now not left the house for 17 days. As empty-nesters, we don’t have the challenge of occupying the attention of or educating our kids. Both accustomed to working from home, we continue with our regular activities. And to be honest, being stuck together has helped us grow in our relationship (not that we were having issues…at least I don’t think so…I’ll have to ask her).

Speaking of relationships, I’ve come to say that with the advent of smart phones, although we’ve never been more connected, we’ve never been more isolated. Statistically very true, while we have fewer friends today than we did years ago, a number of stats are up, including those who are lonely, depressed, addicted, suicidal…and the list goes on. An interesting insight is that with so many people looking at their screens all the time, even in the presence of other people, you could argue that social distancing has been being practiced well in advance of COVID-19.

To me, there are three benefits to social distancing. Let’s see what they are.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Relationship Intentionality
Not only are Cyndi and I spending more time talking, but we’re being more intentional with talking to our kids, our mothers, and others. One example is my brothers and me talking and texting more often, not only about the crisis, but checking in on one another and our families. In addition to checking in with and having lengthier conversations with each of our kids, we did a 4-way FaceTime the other night, for an hour. We laughed with and at each other….just like being in the same room.

Time for Prayer
Although most people reading this blog understand the importance of their relationship with God, some (maybe a majority) struggle with prayer, including me. Always faithful to my rote prayer, it’s my quiet time with the Lord which is off and on. Starting a week ago this past Sunday, given the 1/2-hour commute to work I’m not making, I’ve forced myself to spend that 1/2-hour with God. It looks like this:

  • Rote Prayer – 5 minutes
  • Read and meditate on Scripture – 5 minutes
  • Thinking and praying for people in my life – 5 minutes
  • Thinking and praying about a current challenge – 10 minutes
  • Thinking and praying about my schedule for the day – 5 minutes

With the times above varying from day to day, my time with Jesus has been very meaningful and a great way to start each day. Assuming Coronavirus lasts long enough, I may just create a habit here.

Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

Discipline to Exercise
Although I’ve always been an avid exerciser, I’ve stepped up my game during this time, as have many that I’ve spoken to. Being home all day, not having the opportunity to be out or walk around, is a real incentive. If you don’t have equipment in your house, a quick internet search can provide plenty of guidance (email me if you need some help). Taking a nicely paced walk can be good exercise too…good for the relationship too, just maintain your social distancing.

Doing the above is taking care of yourself the way God intended, all things that will make you healthier, including the spiritual, and happier.

As always, feel free to get back to me with questions, comments, or concerns at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

P.S. For resources that can help you on your faith journey, while practicing social distancing, you can go to The Upper Room.

P.P.S. While waiting for the crisis to end, you can pick what conference you want to go to this summer on the Steubenville Conferences page.

P.P.S. And if you’re looking to participate in a “virtual” small group so as to maintain your social distancing, check out Discipleship Quads.

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