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As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.

1. Our idols are being revealed

“If you own something you can't depart with, you probably don’t own it, it owns you” —Andy Mineo

We have been ushered into a time of #socialdistancing and #quarantine from our gyms, jobs, general and travel plans, and people. In all of this, God is revealing that even in good things idolization can be apparent. The security we find in that job, the self-confidence we find from working out, the satisfaction we find in our own plans are all idols we claim.

Personally, I saw this COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to work on things I have been procrastinating on for my photography business. It was a chance to put the finishing touches on ideas and concepts that I had not completed yet. Overall, I was trying to be productive with the time I’d been given regardless of the circumstances. In all of this, I realized I had allowed my ambition, excitement, and desires to be productive, though all good things, to cause me to completely neglect my time with the Lord. God was revealing to me that I was allowing my heart to worship and idolize his beautiful creation and not him, the source of it all.

2. Churches are being forced to be creative and innovative

Many of our churches are being confronted with the reality that they have been one-dimensional. They have relied on certain ways of doing ministry, and because of this virus outbreak they’re coming face-to-face with that. Pastoral care teams and reaching-out ministries are being tested. This also has presented an opportunity for many churches to remind themselves and others that the church is the people and not the building. Ministry don’t cease because we can’t use our buildings. This has reminded me just how important my daily devotion is. My personal commitment to Christ isn't only a Sunday commitment, but a lifestyle that must be a daily dedication.

3. We are meant to be in community

We have seen a huge spike in video chats and zooms calls, mainly because of the cancelations and restrictions. I’ve also noticed a spike in Facebook and Instagram live videos. Even though we’re being restricted to our homes, we're seeking community not only because we have to but because we need it!

Also, it’s been encouraging to see how our community has come together helping and aiding those in need in this time. I hope that mentality continues after the virus. I’ve been working from home the past 2.5 years, so being at home isn’t new for me. But having my roommates home, who normally aren’t home during the day, is something I'm definitely cherishing.

4. Deprivation can lead to education.

Many of us are going to come out of this crisis empowered and capable of doing things we would have never thought we could do. I can imagine the amount of parents who will gain educating skills, the entrepreneurs and business owners who will master new skills and tools that will aid in the success of their businesses and companies. I can imagine the amount of people who are going to learn skills such as cooking, budgeting, entrepreneurship, and more that will help them in days to come. I've seen this play out in my life as well. I've taken this opportunity to work on other aspects of my business I’ve been putting off. I’m also planning to educate myself on things such as search engine optimization and graphic design basics.

5. Deprivation can lead to gratitude

Many of us during this crisis are becoming much more appreciative of things and people we’ve taken for granted. People like health care professionals, grocery store workers, educators, and our own friends and family members. We’re being reminded of the essential role they all play in our lives.

We’re also being reminded of our own mortality and humanity. Living in the western world can often shield us from the reality of rapid death. This virus has killed thousands of people and has spread throughout the United States. For a lot of us, though we may not die from it, the reality that death is still inevitable is a reality check and avenue for gratitude to enter.

This has been a reminder of just how grateful I am for my upbringing and life experiences. They have allowed me the perspective to be content in these times. I’m originally from Liberia, West Africa, which experienced a civil war in the 1990s. My mother and I were refugees in Sierra Leone while my father came ahead to the States to get things situated for us. Even though I was too young to remember the war, I’ve heard plenty of stories from my parents. It reminds you that your life can be gone, just like that.

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