How To Reopen Well

Travis Clark

“I realized how insanely busy I was.”

“I’ve loved being able to spend more time with my family.”

“The simplicity has been good for my soul.”

Chances are that you, or someone you know, said things like this since March when our lives were interrupted by the pandemic.

Like, for the first couple of months when everything was locked down, was it just me, or was your Instagram feed full of Tiger King, workout routines, and homemade bread? #CovidHobbies

For the first time, much of the complexities of our lives were replaced with a season of forced simplicity, and we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t go back to our old, tired, non-stop hustling ways again.

But now the restrictions are lifting, and it seems that we are already starting to forget that promise we made to ourselves.

“Busy” is starting to make its way back into our everyday vernacular.

Our calendars are filling up with trip-after-trip-after-trip.

The fatigue is starting to reappear in the eyes of the people I talk to. (To be fair, I pay a lot more attention to people's eyes since the other half of their face is still covered with a mask)

But life as we knew it seems to be coming back.

Don’t get me wrong; work, traveling, and activities are not wrong. Nor did I believe the version of life we lived during COVID would or should last forever (thank God).

But I have been thinking about a few things:

  1. Is there anything about life before COVID that we learned was toxic that we are already drifting towards again? I don’t think people are intentionally planning on going back to the way things were. But I’m not sure that people are planning how not to go back to the way things were.
  2. Have we taken the time to lament properly and heal from a year+ of loss, death, injustice, and division in our world, country, and even our own family and friendships? What will happen if we move forward while still having wounds that need to be acknowledged and mended?
  3. Did this forced “pause” reveal any idols in our life that, if are not repented of and surrendered, may very well take hold of our hearts once again?

I think about Israel’s story in the Hebrew scriptures. Again and again, they would experience something that would shake them to their core to only momentarily take heed and then return to their old broken and rebellious ways. If you’ve ever read the story of Israel, chances are that you’ve thought to yourself on a few occasions, “When will Israel finally get it and change?!”

But I fear that I am more like Israel than I care to admit.

Perhaps a lot of us are.

June 15th is just days away, and our state will reopen. This is (and should be) an exciting day for all of us Californians. But before we start planning everything we’re going to do, and before we start hustling, I want to invite you to pause and reflect on these few questions:

Question 1: What has COVID shown me I need to hold onto?

Question 2: What has COVID shown me has been holding onto me that I need to let go of?

Question 3: Are there any losses, hurts, or disappointments that I need to grieve? What pain do I need to acknowledge, allow myself to truly feel, and reveal to begin to heal?

Question 4: In what way(s) do you need God to shape you to step into this new season healthier and more at peace?

Question 5: What first steps can you begin to take on that journey?

As our state “reopens,” I pray that we would reopen our hearts to step into what God wants to do. I pray that we wouldn’t reopen a hollow, unhealthy, and harmful version of life. Let’s let that version of life stay closed because it is beneath who you were created to be. Instead, may we reopen our hearts and receive the fullness of life that Jesus offers.