During the current pandemic, when someone on the phone asks me the question “How are you handling things?”, I immediately go to how I and my family are holding up under the COVID-19 ‘shelter-in-place’ circumstances.
I list what we’re doing, our emotional state, and then make jokes about snacks and Netflix. You probably do the same thing.
But “How are you handling things?” could mean something entirely different.
The question could actually be asking how I am stewarding things.
Like when your boss asks you, “How are you handling the ACME account?”
Or your teacher asks you, “How are you handling your coursework?”
Stewardship (defined in my quick Google search: the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property) is all about how we handle what is in our care.
There are 3 categories that we steward, generally:
- Our health
- Our relationships
- Our resources
Nearly everything – and I only say “nearly” because my 10th grade civics teacher always told me not to use “unprovable absolutes” – falls into these three categories.
Regardless of our circumstances, we are always navigating our handling of these three areas in our life. How well we steward each, affects the others and while I list them in a heirarchical way (health then relationships then resources), we all know that relationships can screw with our health and how we handle our resources can sink relationships.
Right now, most of us have an amazing opportunity to focus in on stewarding the most important of each of these areas. Some of us are actually being forced to steward each in ways we’ve never dreamed of. Some of us are being lazy and not stewarding them at all – despite the fact we have this amazing opportunity
Many of us have more time than ever to focus on our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. We have time to exercise (even without a gym), time to read, time to pray, and time to study. We have an excuse to cook more in the house (which I’m discovering isn’t always the key to weight loss!).
I realize some are in isolation, but most of us have unprecedented time to spend with our families. Even if you are in isolation, you have time to reach out to, call, Zoom/Facetime with, and write letters to (a lost art) people you care about. In some ways, it might even be an easier time to lean in since you’re not running hither and thither, wearing yourself out.
I’ll tread lightly. I have no clue where you might be financially. You might be stewarding hardcore right now because you have no choice. You lost a job and you have to make every nickel stretch. You’re struggling and this is affecting everything else (from your relationships to your health).
For others, the shelter-in-place time can be a wonderful opportunity to save and develop a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility. Many are seeing this as an opportunity to tackle long-awaited projects, stewarding their homes and cars and yards.
Use the Circumstances You’re In
Ultimately, you cannot completely control the circumstances you find yourself in. There’s no reason not to steward as well as you can what you have at your disposal right now. You have the choice either to lean in and do the best job you can or you can use the circumstances as an excuse. And every circumstance comes with an excuse.
May you and may I come out of this situation better than when we went in. If you’re reading this some time in the future when the circumstances are completely different, use them – whatever they are – to steward well your health, your relationships, and your resources.
In the end, you only have all three for a short while. Make the most of it.
Currently Reading: Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons From the Great Antarctic Explorer (affiliate link – i.e. if you buy this book or perhaps anything else when you click it, I will get a really tiny commission. Thanks for the support).