Weekly Devotional

Five Habits That Must Go During This Pandemic

How to live in hope instead of in defeat.

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 02/02/2021

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 46:1-2

Finally, a visit to the park. But as my husband, grandkids and I entered, the picnic tables were blocked off. Rope also surrounded the playground. What to do?

But a distance away, across the green grass, under a tree, a bench waited for us. We settled in and a soft breeze caressed our face.

“This is the life,” my granddaughter said.

I agreed. Before the quarantine, we took so much for granted and now, this visit in the warm sunshine became a new-found treasure.

Suddenly, the sun went behind the clouds, the breeze turned to wind. Then something brushed my arm.

“Something fell on me,” I said to my husband.

“It’s a leaf. Remember, we’re under a big tree.”

As the wind shook its branches, one by one, a few leaves landed on me.

I tried to ignore them. But each time a leaf tickled my skin, I lifted it and put it between my fingers. I noticed their texture and shape — some firm and perfectly formed, others bigger, dry and withered.

The leaves were a reminder

Those fluttering leaves reminded me of all that fell in my life — trials, pain, then joy, peace and contentment — each with its own texture and shape to impact my world.

The same thing has happened to many during this pandemic. Leaves of adversity have fallen. Although unexpected, they don’t discriminate. They land on all — rich, poor, black, white, good, not so good. All are affected in some way.

But not all sink in defeat 

Those who thrive, persevere, and end up better than before do so not because of what they do, but because they avoid these five habits that turn to dangerous traps:

Trap No 1: Waking up with thoughts of what’s wrong, what they’ve lost or what they might lose.

Trap No. 2: Counting on government to be the provider.

Trap No. 3. Pondering about what life was like before the virus, lamenting their broken plans.

Trap No. 4. Agreeing with social media posts that emphasize the gloom and repeat the pessimistic view.

Trap No. 5. Entering into the habit of listening to the nightly news and taking to bed what they just heard.

These snares have carried many to anxiety, worry, depression and some, as statistics indicate, to suicidal tendencies.

There’s a better way

Conversely, those who are riding this pandemic on the vehicle of hope, with optimism and expectation, have developed a healthier spiritual immune system and become stronger.

We can all do the same by learning to read, believe, internalize and trust in these four truths:

When feeling alone with our problems, uncertainty and insecurities, God turns it to confidence: “'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

In the midst of a crisis, pandemic or diseases, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

I will not be discouraged and will have restful sleep because as I go day by day, God made this promise, "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

No matter what destruction may threaten me and my family, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

Our faith has to equal God’s help, ever-present and unwavering. And with full trust in Him, we declare the best will come, His shield will stand and His faithfulness will never end.

Used with permission by Global Media Outreach from Janet Perez Eckels. This article was first published on June 5, 2020 at janetperezeckles.com.

Pray this week:

Lord, how often I let the world dictate my view, my thinking, and my attitude. I will change my habits and will embrace a solid belief in what You say rather than the gloom that echoes in the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.   

What habits do you need to change these days?

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