How to Waste Your Quarantine

We find ourselves in uncertain times. The news is confusing at best and fear-inducing at worst. We can’t find toilet paper and we can’t see our friends, and I hear that even the introverts are getting tired of having plans cancelled. We didn’t ask for a global pandemic and accompanying quarantine, (okay, maybe quarantine isn’t the most precise term, but since it’s less clunky than “social distancing,” I’m going to use it), but we can’t deny that it is also an opportunity. Like all opportunities, we have the choice to seize it or waste it. And from the looks of things, many Americans would like to waste it. So if you’re looking for a good way to waste your quarantine, I’m here to help! I have two excellent although somewhat opposite ways to go about it. Never fear, though. If you can’t choose just one, feel free to vacillate between both!

The first method is probably the more fun: Sloth. Begin by disregarding verses like 1 Corinthians 15:58 which reminds us, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Rather, view this time as a sort of extended paid vacation (or unpaid…whatever). You didn’t choose this, so you’re entitled to relax as much as possible! Settle onto the couch to watch Netflix, eat Cheetos, and let your obligations slide. Let the house become a pigsty and your children begin to resemble feral monkeys from lack of bathing and nutritious meals. Get petty with your husband about whose turn it is to wash the dishes or put the kids to bed. Max out the credit cards with online shopping. Get involved in some pointless Internet bickering. Never let your phone out of your hand. Glue yourself to social media and plant your kids in front of screens as much as possible. Forget about showering.

Yes, slothfulness is certainly a viable—not to mention obvious—way to waste your quarantine. But maybe you’re looking for a subtler, more reputable method. In that case, let me suggest another option that has been quite popular this season: Panic. Panicking is equally wasteful, but will give you that nice, satisfied feeling that you care. Start by ignoring 1 Peter 5:7, which tells believers, “Cast all your anxiety on him, for he cares for you.” Instead, frantically refresh news sites, send hysterical texts to family and friends with lots of exclamation points, and share all the dire links on social media. Don’t open your door without a Lysol wipe in hand. Better yet, don’t open your door at all! Turn to Google immediately with your fears, especially the extra ridiculous ones that assail you in the middle of the night. Make your anxiety your whole family’s problem by subjecting them to daily monologues about your fears and enforcing draconian restrictions that go beyond CDC recommendations and government mandates.

Both these ideas are wonderful options for wasting your quarantine. Both will ensure that you come out of quarantine a person who has in no way grown in her faith or strength of character. If you want to avoid your home being improved, your relationship with your spouse being deepened, and your children learning things you previously didn’t have time to teach them, then by all means, choose sloth or panic. Don’t carry on calmly, using your quarantine to pray, study and memorize Scripture, exercise, learn to sew, read a book, or take time to talk with your spouse. Say no to your kids when they ask if you can finally teach them how to bake cookies. Don’t take on a project you’ve been putting off, plant a garden, or take walks around the neighborhood. Forget about calling lonely loved ones to check in. Certainly don’t look for ways to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ or share the Gospel with unbelievers. None of these strategies is helpful for the person who wishes to squander her quarantine.

In summary, if you really want to waste your quarantine, be sure to focus only on yourself. You can do this equally well with anxiety or laziness. After all, if you start trusting the Lord, caring for others, or being productive, you may just find that you have allowed your quarantine to grow you as an individual and sanctify you as a Christian. And we wouldn’t want that, now, would we?

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