rebelling against low expectations

Has Quarantine Stolen Your Purpose?


I had big plans for my high school years. I was going to lead Bible studies and disciple younger girls and volunteer and get involved in local ministry. I was determined to use those years of flexibility and energy well for God’s glory. I was going to do hard things.

Well, God had other plans. I spent the majority of my high school years bedridden and housebound. I got sick—really sick—and I wasn’t able to do anything the way I had pictured it.

And I struggled. What was my purpose? I had plans for how I wanted to make an impact on the world and how I wanted to serve God, but those things were taken away from me. What was the point of laying in bed day after day? How was that helping anybody or serving God?

What To Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do

You may not have a chronic illness like me, but COVID-19 has forced many of us to be housebound at the moment. All of your dreams and plans and ways you were serving God are most likely canceled. And that can be so frustrating. Do you, like I did, wonder what your purpose is during this time? It feels like we’ve lost our ability to make a difference in the world, and we feel hopeless.

Well, I want to share something I learned the hard way while I was bedridden. Our purpose does not rest in what we can do. I know, I know, it sounds cliche. But I wish I could look you in the eyes and speak this directly to you. Your purpose is simply to glorify God and delight in him.

Guess what? You can do that housebound. You can still make an incredible impact while quarantined from everyone you usually try to serve. I had to learn that even if all I could do was pray, that was enough. In fact, that was more than just ‘enough’, it was making a difference. I had to learn that if all I could do was work up the energy to smile and say “thank you” when my mom helped me eat and carried me to the bathroom since I was too weak to move, that was still glorifying God.

Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is not do things.Your purpose is simply to glorify God and delight in him. Guess what? You can do that housebound. Share on X

Purpose Wherever we are

There’s a guy in the Bible who got this. Paul was under house arrest for several years, and he spent a lot of time in prison. He went from traveling the world proclaiming the gospel to hundreds of people at a time to being stuck, unable to serve in that way.

So you know what he did? Four things. He prayed. He worshiped. He wrote letters. And he preached the gospel to the people stuck guarding him.

Why can’t we do the same things? We can fight for the people God has called us to serve in prayer. We can spend time worshiping and taking this opportunity to refocus our hearts on God. We can write emails, texts, and letters to encourage people and help them as many battle loneliness and worry. And we can invest in our relationships with the people under house arrest with us—our families.

All of those things make a huge difference. Maybe we can’t be involved in the hard things we usually are but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our purpose. Our purpose is to be found in God, nothing and no one else.

I know that easy to say and I know it’s easy to feel frustrated and discouraged right now. I’m right there with you. I’m struggling to figure out how to love and serve my Young Life girls. I miss getting to have fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was excited to pursue ministry things God was calling me to. But now it’s changed, and I’m scrambling to figure out how to best use this time to serve God.

I’m feeling lost, confused, and like I’m not serving God to the best of my ability. However, quarantine doesn’t mean you have to give up on the ministry and hard things you were already doing. There are so many ways we can still invest in the same people through technology.

But we must remember that our purpose isn’t in doing those things. Whether we get to keep doing those things or not, we can still glorify and serve God.

Even when quarantined.

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About the author

Sara Willoughby

is the 20-year-old author of He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. She loves to read, write, and have adventures, be it off to Narnia one more time, wading through mud chasing the family dog, or playing a new board game with her two younger siblings. Sara is also a Lymie, TCK, and Bright Lights leader. You can find her at

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →