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For a normal, healthy and hardworking individual, being locked inside for many days will at first be very welcome and interesting. The reason is not far-fetched, REST! But do not be deceived, boredom will soon set in if this lockdown exceeds this initial two weeks. So, for me I shall vary my response to the sit-at-home order as the days progress.

I shall take this global shutdown to ‘slow-down’ the ageing of my body.
It has been indisputably established that the biggest health challenge to us as the modern day city dweller is STRESS! And we ministers, missionaries and church leaders/workers are not an exception. Even for us who do not dwell in mega cities like Lagos, Abuja & Port Harcourt (to use NIgerian examples) who set out at 5am to return at 11pm daily; the average modern day worker, student, entrepreneur, market woman, Pastor etc are all fighting a running battle with Stress. I have lost count of hearing fellow ministers say to ourselves over and over that revival labours are tasking and hardly ever leaves any room for rest.

Stress weakens virtually every of the systems in our body, especially the immune system, the skeletal system and even the digestive system. This is the simple reason for the high prevalence of Hypertension, Arthritis and Ulcer among us.
But truth is, when this body breaks down and either dies or even merely becomes sickly, the volume of work, ministry or labour must necessarily reduce to a slow ebb and eventually grind to a halt. And no matter our anointing, once body resources finish, opportunity to serve the Lord concludes. A dead man cannot serve at the altar upon the earth; and very few of us will be an Elisha to raise the dead while lying in the grave. {2Kings 13:20-21 (KJV)}

I shall therefore take this shutdown to SLEEP and REST so I can break the vicious cycle of Stress . . . and give my body time to retune itself. I will sleep more. I will sleep outside my normal sleeping rhythms. I will “see-esther”, I will “sleep-extra”. Sleep is God’s own free, daily body servicing provision. Since I am officially instructed to move around less, I will hopefully overcome the guilt arising from “not working hard enough” while I take ample time to relax my body and sleep during the next two weeks at least. And for me, I will empower my wife to help me see to it.

31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Mark 6:31 (KJV)

I will take this time of stepping aside to step inside, turn inward and look upward.
Man is a tripartite being; He is a spirit, he has a soul and he only lives in the body. (1Thess. 5:23). The outward man we see and touch is driven by the man on the inside, the ‘innerman’. The real condition of a man is the condition of his innerman. A man is no stronger, greater, richer and more spiritual or productive than how he really measures on this scale in his/her innermost being.
Much of our prayer lives has become dry and difficult because we have not had ample time to think and release our thoughts to the Holy Spirit to pour into. I will therefore take ample time to turn inward . . . to reflect and meditate as a means of rejuvenating my innerman and enable him gain control of my life afresh.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not . . .
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalms 1:1-3 (KJV)

The mind is the middle ground; the mind is the battle ground!
The mind, the chamber that houses our thoughts is the ‘processing factory’ of all information we get either from the Spirit or from the outside world. And whoever controls the mind controls the man; whatever fills the mind, colours the man!
A man is only as spiritual as he has thoughts to process the inputs from whatever his spirit can glean from the Holy Spirit. And he is only as resourceful as he has thoughts to process the inputs from the trainings and exposures which his body can capture from the outside world.

7 For as (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

‘Busyness’ has hardly allowed us to think. All the hustle and bustle to do the work of the Lord, go about our ‘business’ or meet departmental deadlines has hardly left us any time to see our babies take their first ginger steps or see the birds expertly suck nectar from a flower while keeping her wings flying to keep airborne. Like my now aged father, when he was about my age now, used to quote his old school rhyme by W.H. Davies . . . (Take special note of the first and the last two lines).

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

We have created impossible schedules to run around and keep, all in the bid to create wealth, material wealth; but we have unwittingly turn our backs on the richness of nature’s wealth and lost a complete chapter of the true riches! You cannot run and think at the same level, you must slow one down for the other to reach its ultimum. Yet, no one can truly run well and achieve much, if he does not periodically slow everything down in order to think and see the issues of life in their true perspective.

I will therefore take this shutdown time to think; to think deep; and to think long. I will take leisure moments to stand and stare. I shall take the evening stroll, hand in hand with my sibling or my wife, even if only to reflect on the “sweet nothings” of our relationship. I will take time to play and relate with my offsprings now grown, in order to rediscover them in their fledging maturity. I will allow my thoughts regenerate with fresh ideas as I focus on other things apart from work. Life is more than work. Life is also people and places and purviews!

Yet, I shall NOT ALLOW SATAN ENGAGE MY THOUGHTS. I will not be engrossed on the internet watching useless films. God forbid that I wander to damnable websites. My mind will not be idle; It shall only be more engaged productively and spiritually for the growth of my innerman and for the widening of my spiritual horizon.

I will take the time to READ and enrich my thoughts. Many books I have always wanted to read, many messages I had wanted to listen to again . . . and many of my own spiritual Notes in my spiritual Journals I have not had a chance to review . . . to see how I have grown and enjoyed God’s goodness over the years; now, Heaven has made space for them. I shall take the cue and prosper by them.
And let me not forget to state that if this shutdown lasts longer than expected, I will go far in reading through my bible again. (Many of us used to do this every year when we were much younger; . . . can we repent if backslidden?).

I shall aim at achieving what I otherwise could not have done.

All work and no play,
makes Jack a dull boy
But all play and no work,
will only make Lanre
a debtor to his generation;
And I dare not!

Since most of my work is possible anywhere with my computer, I shall keep a sufficient working schedule. But I shall aim at doing things that my normal running schedule have not allowed, even though I have always known I ought to do them.

I remember a story I heard about how a man became the author of a Christian fiction bestseller. He was only able to write it because he was suddenly, unexpectedly thrown out of job. As the story goes, he came home dejectedly and began to moan around complaining. But he had a great wife. Few mornings after, she went into the study, took a new notepad, a fountain pen and a bottle of ink (those were the writing materials of those days) and placed them on a table, dragged the small table before her moaning husband and said . . .
“You have always told me you wanted to write a book but work will not allow you. Now you have the chance. Write!” He did and the book sold millions. It made him not only forget his previous meagre salary but made him become a useful author contributing to the thoughts of humanity.

I am praying and setting about ensuring that something so useful to God’s kingdom will come out of this shutdown, that satan would wish it never happened. I will not bemoan what I wish I can do but cannot do because of present circumstances. I will set about to do those things I can now do, because I cannot do the other things I used to do.

There are things I can do in the house. There are things I can now do to and with the children. There are things I can now impart to coming generations. There are new skills I can pick up, old attitudes I can now change and innate capabilities I can give space to develop.
Now is the time to pray for the number of hours you have always only dreamt about. Now is time to write a new book, develop a new album, write a new script. Now is the time to bring forth and sprout and birth new things into the Earth.

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