Raising three teenage sons amongst other responsibilities and running from here to there had taken over walking or strolling. Even at the grocery store I raced up and down the aisles.

“What am I doing?” I asked myself as I came to a sudden halt.

Hadn’t I recently committed to a more reasonable pace?

So, I slowed down and actually enjoyed the shopping experience.

More recently, I came to learn about online shopping before the COVID-19 pandemic.

I overheard a mom extolling the benefits of online shopping. She would leave her job, pick up her groceries, her child at the caregivers, and head for home.

I could understand the benefit to this busy mom, but it still seemed foreign to me … even with more ads on TV offering food deliveries.

Still, I held out.

“I don’t think I would ever do online shopping,” I said to my husband. “I like to select my own produce, read labels, try new items I may discover and just enjoy the shopping experience.”

But store after store joined in to offer curbside pick-up or home delivery. As we shopped, we saw the clerks shopping for items customers had already ordered. And I wondered about it.

I’m wondering no more.

Enter the pandemic of COVID-19 and the shelter-at-home guidelines, and online shopping is suddenly a new part of our lives. Thankfully, since the stores had already implemented it, our experience has been smooth and efficient.

So, “add to the cart” is just a click away for us to restock our pantry.

However, these times have not just challenged preconceived ideas about shopping, entertainment, hospitality and other daily activities. They’ve awakened a sleepy, apathetic leaning toward spiritual things.

I miss church and gathering together for worship and teaching. I hope it will soon be part of our lives again. But that doesn’t mean I can’t worship and grow at home by reading the Bible, praying and worshiping daily. I can encourage others in the faith by note, email or phone.

In the words of Galatians 5:22 NLT when we rely upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to change our lives, we will be able to “add to our cart” … or shall I say ‘heart’ … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

However, like the grocery stores’ vision to offer online service before the need was so extraordinary, we, too, need to stay prepared and visionary.

No matter what circumstances may come upon us, our ‘heart’s cart’ will be full and ready. Selah

Jan Merop, a columnist with the Highlands News-Sun for 30 years, resided in Sebring for 28 years; now living in North Carolina. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan @ pauseandconsider.net.