In Luke 4:23 Jesus references this proverb: “Physician heal thyself.” The proverb means to do for yourself what you do for others. In this particular passage with Jesus, (also in Matthew 13 and Mark 6), Jesus is unable to do miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because people see him as no more than a hometown dude. It’s the notion that familiarity breeds contempt.
In a time when we’re social distancing from others and sheltering in place, both familiarity and contempt are high probabilities. As a certified family and relationship coaching specialist (RCS), I’ve been using my professional tools to “heal thyself” with my own family. In particular Proverbs 12 offers us great guidance on how to manage while sheltering in place. I encourage you to read all of chapter 12 but here are a few highlights.
Watch What You Say (Proverbs 12:6,18)
“The words of wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” We’re a few weeks in now. Tempers and tongues are getting shorter. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
Be Honest With Each Other (Proverbs 12:17)
“An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies.” Talk about how you’re feeling and let everyone express their needs honestly. If you need quiet time, say so. If you desire some fun time together, say so. Let’s respect the needs of our families while honestly caring for ourselves.
Be Encouraging (Proverbs 12:25)
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” Make sure your words about COVID-19 are helpful and encouraging, rather than negative and divisive. Not only does receiving encouragement make you feel better, but offering it to others also has a positive effect on your mood.
Listen to Your Children (Proverbs 12:15)
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Times of stress can turn our parenting skills back to the days when children were to be seen and not heard. These are 21st century children who have access to information. Check in on how they feel about this COVID-19 experience. Ask them what they know and correct any misperceptions.
Spend Time With Pets (Proverbs 12:10)
“The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.” We have a 7-year old Havanese who thinks she’s human. We’re including her in our family time, as well. Studies have shown that pets bring calm and joy to our lives. Playing with our pets can help alleviate any building tension or anxiety during this time– for us and for our pets.
Stay Productive (Proverbs 12:27)
“Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.” Let’s make good use of this time. Okay, we’re all binge watching our shows, but let’s also try to make this time productive. Work on the business plan for a new business. Start writing a book. Take an online course. Start a new (indoor) hobby.
Stick with God (Proverbs 12:28)
“The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death.” Being in a COVID-19 timeout gives us more time to spend with God. Don’t just rearrange closets and clean out drawers. Stay productive, but also make time each day to connect with God, as a family and individually.