Recovering Purpose in the Pandemic

Maintaining motivation is becoming an increasing challenge for many people slogging through life curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic,” observes Jane Brody in the New York Times.

Are you among the growing number of people who are just attempting to make it through each tough, new day? Are you among those struggling with difficult personal, family or financial pressures? Would you like to join those who are finding a new reason for being, in these daunting days, that calls us beyond ourselves?

Staying Motivated

Check out the article “How to Maintain Motivation During Dark Times”, the author introduces us to psychologist Victor Frankl. He survived an even more daunting time during the four brutal years he spent in a Jewish concentration camp with his parents and many others that did not survive. 

“Doing what is meaningful—acting on what really matters to a person—is the antidote to burnout.” Frankl insisted. What in fact enabled Frankl was not focusing on the very uncertain future facing him and his parents. What enabled him to survive was to focus on the needs of others in the concentration camp and ways he could enable them to make their lives better.

When he and his parents were liberated from the German concentration camp at the end of World War II, he continued to live a very purposeful life with his parents in Austria. As a professor, Frankl wrote a very influential book titled Man’s Search for Meaning. This book was translated into a number of different languages and became an essential resources in enabling millions of readers to recover from the horror and violence of that ward but to also enable them to discover a new reason for being as people slowly began to recover from the huge disruption of that horrific war.

Making the Shift

I encourage all of us who have chosen to be followers of Jesus to also join those that are choosing to shift their lives from the ongoing uncertainty of life to choose to live on purpose. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus called those first disciples, in another very disruptive time, to follow him by choosing to live a purpose-focused way of life. He challenged them, and all of us as disciples today, “to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

Before the pandemic ever engulfed our troubled world, Dwight Friesen and I point out in 2020s Foresight that our churches in the United States are facing two very contenting areas of decline. In recent years, research reveals we have less daily time to be present to our God in prayer and biblical reflection. The research also reveals that Christians have less time to join those reaching out to empower their neighbors in times like these. One of the surprising impacts of the pandemic is that even those outside of religious groups are turning to God in prayer.

I urge you, whether you are religious or not, to start every day in prayer and join those who are deeply loved by the creator God.

I would also urge you to take time every week to start reaching out to those who are worse off than you are by phone or email. I suspect it will enable you to discover, with many others, the good life of God is indeed the life given away; reaching out to others in need.

In Your Neighborhood

Speaking of reaching out in the neighborhoods, the Parish Collective is showing churches how to not only provide food to those in need but also how to help neighbors plant gardens and fruit trees as well, plus other community empowerment projects.

We are living in a very daunting and disruptive time in which thousands of our neighbors are not just having to contend with the disruptions but also the untimely death of family and friends. Instead of allowing ourselves to be pre-occupied with daily disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, why not join those that are choosing as followers of Jesus to live on purpose?

How about choosing every day to be present to our God in prayer and biblical reflection? How about also carving out some time every week to join those reaching out to our struggling neighbors? 

We would love to hear about how you have chosen to live on purpose and the difference it makes in your life and the lives of others.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be pre-occupied with daily disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, why not join those that are choosing as followers of Jesus to live on purpose? ~ Tom Sine Click To Tweet

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About the Author

Tom Sine


As we race into a future of accelerating change and uncertainty leaders in the church, and those they work with, are looking for new ways to live, keep their noses above water and make a difference. 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change is a new book published by Fortress Press that Tom Sine has written with his friend Dwight Friesen who teaches theology at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and is a leader in the Parish Collective. Tom and Dwight offer 2020s Foresight Webinars in which they describe practical ways Christian leaders and educators can enable those they work with to: 1. Anticipate incoming waves of change so they have lead time to create new ways to respond 2. Innovate by learning to research a broad array of creative responses 3. Reflect on how to select innovative responses that both engage the new challenges and that reflect the way of Jesus. If you are interested, contact Tom. Check out his website on Innovation: Tom Sine holds a Ph.D. in history with a minor in strategic foresight. He has worked for three decades with a broad range of churches, non-profits like Habitat for Humanity and Tear Fund UK as well as college students and recent grads to create new ways to live and join those making a difference in these increasingly turbulent times. Tom and Christine Sine, and their pup, Goldie, live in an intergenerational community in Seattle where they seek to model a new way of living for the 2020s called the Mustard Seed House. They and their six other residents share a weekly meal and liturgy, monthly gardening and generous hospitality when social distancing is reduced. Christine has a very active blog on creative spiritual practices for times like these: Check out her newest book: The Gift of Wonder by IVP. Christine also hosts webinars on spirituality and gardening.

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