Friday - April 30th
Scripture to Read Today: Proverbs 4:20-27
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
After being cooped up through much of 2020 because of COVID lockdowns, many of us have reacted rather poorly. Some healthy habits like working out, eating nutritional meals, and getting plenty of sleep slipped from our focus.
A study of behaviors by Blue Cross Blue Shield showed that, since the outbreak began, there was a 23% increase in alcohol consumption at home, a 19% increase in smoking, a 15% increase in vaping, and a 13% increase in non-medical drug use.
With the rollout of coronavirus vaccines at full steam, there's a lot of talk about returning to our pre-pandemic lives. Although many of us may look forward to such a return, we may have made changes over the past year we would like to carry forward — such as prioritizing our health, creating new family traditions, and learning new skills.
The last year of COVID impacted our spiritual lives too. Bible reading and church attendance (even online) decreased in Christian lives throughout 2020. Small groups, Bible studies, and prayer gatherings struggled to continue as usual with all of the restrictions. Several surveys indicate that the majority of Christians say their spiritual life suffered during the pandemic.
We need to recognize the healthy habits that emerged or deepened throughout the pandemic year and build on them. We also need to notice the unhealthy habits that we continued or started and find ways to eliminate them from our lives. Habits often have deep-seated holds in our minds and hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." We must understand why our emotions or thoughts manifest in certain habits. Sometimes fear, uncertainty, or anxiety cause us to drift into patterns of behavior that damage us rather than build us. As people of faith, we do not have to be controlled by destructive thinking or harmful emotions. God wants us to develop healthy habits in our walk with Him so that every area of our lives might be healthier.
What healthy habits were in your life before COVID or have emerged during the COVID crisis? List them. Be intentional about practicing those behaviors. What damaging habits were a part of your life before COVID or arose during the COVID crisis? List them. Make deliberate choices to eliminate those behaviors. If specific unhealthy patterns have become addictions, you need to reach out to a Christian friend or a pastor. Recovery programs can help us a lot.
After the pandemic, we need to evaluate our habits and seek to build healthy patterns as we move forward!