Someone recently asked, "Things just haven't felt right since COVID. Do you think we are all different now?" I had to sit and think about this for a while. The bottom line answer is yes. I do think we are all different and things will never be like they were before 2020. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is our experiences that shape us. However, we must be honest about where we are so we know how to make a better tomorrow. In the video below, I talk more extensively about this.
3 Reasons why are things different-
1. Mental health issues.
Mental health was already something to be concerned about before COVID. The isolation and fear the pandemic created only made things worse. For many, it became much worse. The result has been people dealing with severe anxiety and depression. This also causes people to have a general mistrust of others and an inability to handle difficult situations that are part of the rough-and-tumble world we live in.
2. Social skills have gone backward.
At first, I heard many teachers talking about this. One teacher said it was like she was teaching a whole grade younger than she was used to. Her student's social cues and emotional intelligence had reverted and she had trouble with basic classroom discipline. This was odd because I was noticing the same thing with adults. Part of my vocation as a pastor is to meet with people. I started noticing people not knowing how to greet one another, how to carry on a normal conversation, feeling uncomfortable in social settings, and not understanding the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Even though we were isolated for a few months, it seemed like people went back in time by 5 years.
3. More easily offended.
Just like the first two, this is not new. I believe this is part of what comes with social media. People have a difficult time separating their opinions from their identities. The result is people become very easily offended and struggle to not feel personally attacked unless someone agrees with them completely.
There are likely many more symptoms that have created the world we now live in. The real place to focus our attention is where we go from here. There are also many different steps to finding your footing in this new world.
Here are three foundational ideas to get you started.
1- Live by principle, not by pressure.
It seems like we slowed down for a little while with COVID lockdowns. However, once we all got back out 'in the wild' we went into hyperdrive. We have to be careful to not live by the pressure all around us. Take time to sit and figure out what principles are worth living for. What do you value? What is most important? What is worth your time? Then, live according to those principles and not by the loudest voices in your life. When you live by principles, you'll likely find that many questions are made for you by default.
2- Take your faith seriously.
If you have been a Christian for a while, you likely take for granted that people around you are also Christian. This is not as true as it once was. Of those who are still Christians, they may not hold to the same essential beliefs as you. Of those who do, they may believe them but not be practicing them. It can become complicated. Therefore, you must take your walk with God seriously. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Spend time with the Lord every day and gain your strength and courage from Him. That's much of what this whole website is about. I hope to slowly create a "field guide for Christian life."
3- Develop deeper relationships.
We need each other more than ever. However, it is more easy than every to have shallow, superficial relationships. Ask yourself this question, "If you lost everything in one night, who would you call for help." Those you would call are your true friends. You don't many but you do need some. If you don't have anyone you would call, make your goal to work toward some healthy, deep relationships. Don't look to just find a friend. Work to being the type of friend others would like to call as well.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/zjNw-u5MuBw