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Leave Lockdown without Leaving What You’ve Learned

Doug Bender

June 22, 2021 | 2 minute read

Things are going back to normal in states and cities all over the country. But while I’m excited to get back to some of the activities I’ve missed over the past year, I’m holding onto some of the changes and lessons I’ve learned in 2020. I’m going back to normal, but it will be a new kind of normal. Here are just a few of the lessons and habits I’m keeping:

Appreciate More People

While some were able to “shelter in place” and stay safe during the pandemic, there were countless others who were deemed essential workers. They kept fuel in our cars, food in our stores, and power in the grid. But how often have I stopped to thank and appreciate the checkout attendant at the grocery store? How often have I thanked a gas station worker for making so much in my life possible? What would the world be like if nobody was working these jobs? Let’s not go back to a life where we forget and overlook these people for the service they provide. 

Keep Family a Priority

One of those side benefits of the pandemic was extra time at home for many people. If you can’t go out to eat, you’re eating more at home. If you’re not working at the office, you’re probably working at home. These things come with their own set of stressors, but they’ve given us more time with our spouses and children. Make sure that as the calendars fill back up, family doesn’t get crowded out.


Slower Pace Can Mean Greater Peace

I’m certainly one that likes to keep a full schedule. I keep my work schedule full and my personal schedule full. That is until the pandemic, when all of our calendars got thrown out the window. While I’m looking forward to rescheduling many of my favorite projects and activities again, I’ve also learned the value of unscheduled leisure. There’s a peace that comes with having empty spots on the calendar. It gives time to have some of those unhurried conversations with loved ones, to daydream, and even to talk with God. I’m making an effort to keep a slower pace as the country opens back up and so hold onto some of those peaceful spots on the calendar. You should, too.


Look Out for the Vulnerable

As the lockdowns hit across the country last year and periodically returned with that wave or the other, I quickly became aware of the more vulnerable people in my life. I saw my mother-in-law struggling to get groceries on her own. I saw elderly neighbors not be able to hire the help around the house or yard that they were used to having. I suddenly saw all the people who needed help. I wish I had seen these people sooner. But as we go back to “normal,” I’m going to make sure the vulnerable in my life are not forgotten again.


Education is a Community Project

Likely the most disruptive happenings of 2020 was education being moved online or into the home entirely. I’ve always been thankful for those who help educate my kids, but the pandemic made me even more grateful for educators. What is more, I got to see all the many people that are needed to educate a child. When suddenly all of us parents were more responsible for educating our children, it was overwhelming. But my heart also went out to those who don’t have that home support. As I go back to normal, I am going to keep a better eye out for those parents and children that need support.


More Time To Tend to Spiritual Things

While going to church became immediately more difficult with the pandemic, other aspects of my spiritual life became easier and more natural. I had more time in the morning to open my Bible or go for a walk to talk with God. I didn’t need to rush out of the house to get to appointments or hurry to get the kids anywhere. Everything slowed down and that really opened up my schedule for spiritual things. I’m grateful for having had that time, but I’m also going to make sure that I don’t just schedule myself out of morning God-time as things start to get back to normal. 

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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