When Life Requires a Pivot

By Matt Charbonneau


If one were to consider the more popular words of the last year, you would have to figure “pivot” would be near or at the top of the list. 

Up until about a year ago, I used the term to encourage my high school basketball players. I would remind them to keep a foot planted on the court in order to allow themselves an opportunity to rotate their bodies while remaining in position when possessing the ball. 

Nowadays, the only time I hear or speak the word is when in reference to COVID-19. 

As we hit the one-year mark of the coronavirus in North America, people are increasingly feeling the need to pivot, finding themselves having to make various life adjustments in efforts to succeed or merely survive. In one sense or another, it appears practically everyone has had to employ different strategies from what they are accustomed to, taking strides to adapt to society’s new normal

Individuals and families, businesses and governments, churches and schools—no matter who you are, our continued challenges have brought with them realities previously unimagined that, today, call for action. 

My wife and I were talking about this exact point recently one evening. We remarked how our world community seemingly has to alter our visions and strategies in so many ways if we wish to emerge from the pandemic successfully. Anyone not doing this may very well suffer an unpleasant fate spoken through the adage, adapt or die

We have come to see essentially all institutions accepting this requisite to display the act of pivoting in clever and skillful fashion. 

Families and friends have kept in contact virtually through video chat formats. Loved ones have gotten creative with driveway-style visits and birthday celebrations in order to follow physical distancing guidelines. Schools have transitioned to remote learning for students to follow classes from home. Companies have been conducting their meetings via conferencing methods using telephone, video, and Internet means. Churches and social groups have also had to be innovative, endeavoring to maintain their schedules via online services and events. Exercise instructors have retooled their programs so their workouts can be viewed with a computer, removing the need to head to a local gym. Restaurants have revamped their menus and distribution structures to ensure they are compatible with take-out and online orders. Retail outlets have examined how to stay relevant and competitive by beefing up their online stores. 

Clearly, we’ve all had to modify our social and professional expectations to one extent or another, and we will need to continue to do this as society further evolves with COVID-19 and its variants. 

Yet, through this journey and the trials that come with it, we can rest firmly planted in our faith that God is with us through it all. (Matthew 28:20)

In times such as these, we can learn more about ourselves and discover how God wants us to live when we are open to receiving His direction. 

In fact, Biblical history shows us it is often through difficulties and struggles that God reveals His great plans for His people. For instance:

  • I suppose Noah had a little reservation, despite his strong loyalty to God when told to build an ark and stay sheltered from rain lasting 40 days and nights. 
  • I would figure, too, that Abraham would raise an eyebrow or blurt out “Huh?” when receiving God’s command to leave his family for a new land, or when his faith was later tested by God’s call to sacrifice his son Isaac. 
  • After encountering God in the burning bush, Moses, surely, learned a lot upon his appointment as leader of the Israelites. 
  • Naomi undoubtedly had to pivot in her life after losing her husband and two sons, returning to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth. 
  • As reluctant as she may initially have been to speak to King Xerxes, Esther bravely decided to follow God’s plan despite her uncertainty of what lay ahead. 
  • Jonah most definitely had to re-evaluate his personal agenda of avoiding Nineveh after being in the belly of the great fish for three days. 
  • An unlikely candidate for God’s choosing, Saul of Tarsus, showed a tremendous pivot when he converted to a disciple of Jesus on his road to Damascus.
  • The most notable example of pivots in our Scripture would have to be Mary and Joseph. After all, the proclamation from the archangel Gabriel that they would welcome into the world our Savior and Messiah had to be a bit of a shock, to say the least. 

All of these figures made huge adjustments in their lives, and yet the Lord guided them unfailingly, as we believe He will do for us today. 

So as we navigate through this pandemic, let us feel God’s call to keep one foot firmly planted in Him as we pivot, and remain trusting that He will lead us to better days. (John 16:33 & 2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Our children need to see us keep one foot planted in the love of God as we adjust through this season. For no matter the challenges facing us, our faith reminds us God will replenish and reward those loyal to Him, regardless of how tough these days may be.