There, I said it. I’m tired of Zoom. Yet, at the same time, I am very grateful for it. Can you resonate? A fatigue has set in around the isolation and loneliness many of us are experiencing. Christians love to be together. There is nothing sweeter than singing with the church, praying for each other, hearing friends say, “Amen” as the Word is preached, or being unified through the Lord’s Supper. That’s what we want. Even advanced technology is no substitute for being together. What I am afraid will happen, though, is we will be frustrated by the imperfections of online meetings, discouraged that it’s not the way we want it to be, and give up. We won’t say we’re giving up, but we will make it less and less a priority to video chat, call, and text our brothers and sisters in Christ. If that is happening, we need to fight against it. Here are four simple ways to push back against the fatigue of isolation.
Encourage Another Member of the Church Daily
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. -Hebrews 3:13
This comes directly after Hebrews 3:12 where the writer warns us against developing an unbelieving heart. What’s remarkable is the way we are told to guard against that is not by doing more Bible study, meditation, or private prayer, it is by encouraging someone else. Intentionally ministering to someone else has an extraordinary effect on our own spiritual upbuilding. Try texting a verse from your morning Bible reading to a friend. Give a compliment to someone you don’t normally talk with. Write a note to someone and mail it—mail is a big deal right now!
Commit to At Least One Midweek Spiritual Conversation
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. -Ephesians 4:15-16
Christian growth happens in and through the body of Christ. Sunday services play a part in that, but small group meetings, one-on-one Bible studies, and conversations between friends are a great incubator for spiritual maturity. Committing to at least one every week is life-giving, committing to too many becomes a chore. A few weeks ago, between my wife and I, we had online meetings every night of the week. By Friday, we were burned out. Make one a priority, even if you do not like Zoom calls, but don’t feel like you need to be a part of every meeting out there.
Prioritize the Sunday Worship Stream
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. -Romans 10:17
Hearing the Gospel preached and proclaimed is vital to our faith. The best delivery system we have right now is an online stream. Watch it every week and join the conversation. It is surprisingly fun to see all the greetings and comments that go back and forth on the chat window. Discipline yourself to log in on time and stay engaged with the service. That’s harder now because your coffee pot is only a few feet away and it’s sunny outside. Finally, long for a more connected corporate worship time. At some point, it will be good for many of us to worship in the same place again. Lamenting the inadequacy of what we have now will help us not to grow complacent in thinking this is almost as good as the real thing. It’s not, but it is a gracious gift from God for the time being.
Walk and Pray Outside
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. -Romans 12:12
This is a three-for-one. Prayer declares the supremacy of God, because through it we acknowledge he has more power than we do. You cannot have a vibrant spiritual life without prayer. Walking is good exercise for people of all ages and levels of physical fitness. Healthy bodies can contribute to healthy spiritual lives. Going outside for fresh air, sunshine, and seeing the world around us reminds us that God is a loving, benevolent Creator.
Take a prayer walk. I could have similarly said go for a bike ride or run. Those are great too. However, it’s tougher to have a conversation while running and nearly impossible while biking. Walking can be done together at a pace that allows us to talk at the same time. Whether you are alone or with others in your family, pray that God would use you to bless others, pray for our church, pray for conviction to share the Gospel with your neighbors, and pray for the wellbeing of your community.