On the thirteenth day of his quarantine, Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life.Church shared some thoughts for those who might feel “a bit discouraged” or “a little bit alone” from being quarantined because of the coronavirus.
“Today is number 13 of 14 days I’ve been completely isolated in a quarantine,” said Groeschel, whose quarantine is now over. “We were not created to be alone. In fact, isolation is a form of punishment or torture. This is not something that’s easy.”
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To anyone who might think his experience in quarantine was a restful, relaxing break from work, Groeschel said, “You’ve never been quarantined before.”
Life.Church Pastor’s Advice for Those in Isolation
Being isolated for days on end is difficult and not what God intended for people. Groeschel said that a major key to rising above the discouragement that comes with unwanted solitude is to redirect what our minds are focusing on. “What you’re going to find is that no matter what you’re going through, most of life’s battles are won or lost in the mind,” said the Life.Church pastor. “The mind is so important. And so when I feel alone, when I feel discouraged, I redirect my mind toward truth.”
Groeschel referenced Philippians 4:8, which says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
“If you find yourself quarantined or discouraged,” he said, “let me just remind you: Think on things that are pure and lovely and excellent. Think about what you do have, don’t think about what you’ve lost.”
The pastor said that even though he did not then have the freedom to interact with other people, he reminded himself that many people throughout the world are in much worse situations and he has much to be thankful for.
Other Practical Advice for Those in Isolation
Groeschel encouraged people in quarantine to be proactive with their time. Start the day off, he advised, by getting up early: “Don’t sleep in, don’t feel lazy.” Get ready for your day like you normally would by taking a shower and putting on some “good clothes.” Said Groeschel, “Tell yourself, ‘I’m healthy, I’m whole.’ Then make some goals. Be productive. Don’t just be a bump on a log. You’ll feel depressed.” It’s also a good idea to exercise and eat well, even if you don’t feel motivated to do so. Instead of watching a lot of TV (which will also depress you), Groeschel recommended reading a book.
“Stretch your mind,” said the Life.Church pastor, circling back to his initial ideas about the war in the mind and the importance of thankfulness. As believers, we have much to be grateful for, not least of which is the comfort of our relationship with God. “You have the presence of God,” said Groeschel. “You have the power of his Word. You have his Holy Spirit dwelling within you.”
Groeschel’s advice is timely as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, and many people, including other ministers, are being quarantined. For example, Reverend Timothy Cole tested positive for the coronavirus after returning to D.C. from the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes conference in Louisville, Kentucky, at the end of February. Even though Cole displayed no symptoms of the virus while at the conference (attended by over 500 people), authorities have recommended that anyone who came into contact with him self-quarantine.
Other ministers who attended the conference have since tested positive for the coronavirus, including Father Robert Pace of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth and Reverend Janet Broderick with All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.
ChurchLeaders has developed a comprehensive church guide to coronavirus for congregations seeking to help their communities navigate the outbreak. Pastors and church leaders should also be aware of this free online streaming service that will soon be available to help churches move their worship services online.