When you’re a leader of many, but alone in your home – how do you lead effectively?

Dr Bong Dela Fuente shares his experience.

For a period of 45 days, our government has imposed what is termed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in our city. Some parts of the Philippines are still in ECQ up to now. ECQ was a time when everything shut down, and one can only go out for essential purposes (to buy food, medicine, to work). At first it was a bewildering experience. For those of us who are not used to a life of stillness and solitude. The silence and isolation was disorienting at first. Old routines have been erased, and whatever schedules and programs were cancelled.  Talking with some of my colleagues, some felt the gnawing of loneliness as well as dread.  There was a deep desire for communion and companionship in quarantined spaces and lonely places. How did I cope? What did friends who were active in ministries and leadership roles adapt?

What helped was to see this isolation not as a cessation of activities per se but a time to reflect, and to rest, and reconnect.  Sometimes this sense of bewilderment is actually a symptom of spiritual restlessness – of a disconnection.  We have gotten used to busyness, and activities. Our calendars are filled with must-dos, and deadlines to meet, people to see, projects to get to. But bereft of those, we discover the true condition of our hearts, and spirits. We hunger for connections, yes – but we must realize that it is not just social connections that we must cultivate.

If we are not careful, we can easily find replacement for these outward activities in our desire to find fellowship and attachments. Instead of using this unique time for a spiritual replenishment in order to connect with the deeper aspects of who we are, and whose we are, we can easily manufacture a counterpart of everything we have usually done. In fact we can be wildly social in the midst of social distancing. Just Zoom your birthday party, Zoom your hobbies, Zoom your prayers and the list goes on. This helps us maintain a sense of connectivity and a sense of community. But how about our hearts? Our spirits? Can they be virtually enlivened?  Let us not forget that there is a point of connection that we must heed.

We have this deep longing for the Holy that no virtual activities can satisfy. Let us tap into that sometimes neglected part of our spirits. He is longing for a communion with us.  C.S Lewis insightfully reminds us we were made for another world. We were made for Him. In deep communion with him. As we make sense of this new normal, a closer communion with Jesus will help us to navigate a life of isolation. Let’s make Him our portion. He wants us to make him our portion. His open invitation for our weary soul, for our tired and anxious heart is ‘Come to Me…I will give you rest.’

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30  The Message (MSG)

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