Now Is the Time for New Quarantine Habits

Now Is the Time for New Quarantine Habits

Now Is the Time for New Quarantine Habits

I don't know what our world is going to look like when we come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are definitely going to be changed by this experience. But what if we could be changed for the better? What if we could come out of this crisis looking more like Jesus?

I don't know what our world is going to look like when we come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are definitely going to be changed by this experience. But what if we could be changed for the better? What if we could come out of this crisis looking more like Jesus?

With that intention I'm hoping to use this season of stay-at-home as a time to cultivate habits that will help me to keep first things first.

The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). By living out this verse in our daily habits and practices, it’s my prayer that we can emerge from the quarantine stronger and better for having lived in alignment with God’s will and having loved God more fully.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

All Your Heart: Cultivate New Desires

What are the desires of your heart? What things light you up? I think American culture would probably call these desires our dreams, but I like to think of it as our purpose and our passion. A passion that makes us feel alive and fuels us forward. A purpose that brings meaning and fulfillment.

God wants to be the King of our hearts. As our King and Creator, He has given us passions, talents, and gifts that we can use to serve others and glorify Him.

Get Creative with Your Creator: For many of us, the daily grind of our routines hasn’t allowed space or time for us to do the things we are passionate about, or at least not on the scale that we would like. So, this season of quarantine could be an opportunity to bring your passion back into your life in a big way.

There are different kinds of gifts. But it is the same Holy Spirit Who gives them. There are different kinds of work to be done for Him. But the work is for the same Lord. There are different ways of doing His work. But it is the same God who uses all these ways in all people. The Holy Spirit works in each person in one way or another for the good of all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NLV)

In this season of quarantine, I’m setting aside intentional time to write and be creative every day. It’s such a life-giving and joyful experience any time I can express creativity.

Don’t think you have to be an artist or a professional creative for this, either! To the contrary, anytime you make things or express your feelings in some way, you are being creative. That includes cooking a new recipe (or making one up with whatever food you have on hand), building or repairing something, singing your favorite song loudly in the shower (even though the other people stuck in your home will probably hear you), getting your hands dirty in your backyard garden, coloring in a coloring book (with or without kids), dancing, or writing a note to a friend.

So, take this opportunity to make things with your Maker! Dive back into that hobby you’ve been keeping on the fringes of your life and connect with a passion that makes you feel like you’re living the abundant life Jesus came to give you.

Live Your Purpose: Similarly, this is a season in which we can reconnect with our God-given purpose.

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT)

For those of us who know our God assignments, now is a time to be intentional to take one step every day in walking that out.

For those of us who don’t have a clear assignment that God has placed on our hearts, now is a time to be intentional to pray each day to be a vessel for the Lord and offer ourselves to serve Him however He leads us to that day.

Let us do one thing each day that serves our purpose and points others to Jesus.

Pray: Lord God, let each act of creativity draw my heart back to You, the ultimate Creator. I invite You into my creative process and pray that you will use my abilities and gifts, great and small, for Your glory. Father, thank you for the passions you've planted in my heart and the guiding purpose you have for my life. May the greatest desire of my heart always be to glorify and enjoy you.

All Your Soul: Cultivate New Habits of Faith

Loving God with all your soul is about growing in your faith and worshipping God.

Journal to Cultivate Faith: One of the most powerful practices that’s helped me to grow in my faith is journaling. Whether you want to put pen to paper or keep a running note on your phone, the act of writing your God story as it is unfolding is a powerful way to cultivate faith.

There’s no right way to do it. It can be as simple as setting aside 10 minutes each day to reflect on what God is doing in your life and what He has been showing you lately. By reflecting on these things our faith and trust in the Lord deepens.

I love to go back and re-read journal entries to see evidence of how God has been at work in my own life. Inevitably, I will find an answered prayer or a lesson that I need to learn again that He actually already taught me. This reminds me of His character and of what a patient and loving Father He is.

Taking time to write down and remember what He’s already done for you makes it so much easier to trust He can do it again.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Plus, for me, the act of writing out my struggles and emotions in a journal is like praying on paper. I can pour everything out to the Lord, actually releasing it in words, and leave it there on the page knowing that it’s in His capable hands.

Worship from Home: Now more than ever we need to shake the idea that worship has to look a certain way or be at a church service to “count.” While many of us have adapted easily to streaming sermons from the comfort of our couches, what this offers us in convenience it lacks in connection.

I’ve accepted that right now I will have to miss the music and community portions of worshipping at my local church, but I don’t have to miss the act of worship.

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all Gods. (Psalm 95:1-3 NLT)

Let’s use this opportunity to find ways to worship at home and not stop doing it even when in-person church services resume.

For me, right now this looks like listening to instrumental piano hymns while I work from home and learning to play some of my favorite worship songs on the piano. I might not be ready to join the praise band anytime soon, but it sure feels good to offer up my own personal worship music for an audience of One.

So, go on and blast those worship songs and sing along! No musical abilities required, only a love for the Lord. This is worth doing every single day, not just Sunday.

Pray: Lord, Thank you for the gift of my faith! Please help me to grow in faith as I learn to trust you more in difficult circumstances. Please teach me to worship joyfully no matter what crisis I face. Stir my soul with songs of praise, Lord, so that I may delight in singing them to you.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/pamelad

All Your Mind: New Mental Habits

Loving God with all your mind is about focusing your mind on God and filling your mind with Scripture.

Focus Your Mind with Christian Meditation: If you’re stuck at home and filled with anxiety, focusing your mind on God through Christian meditation is exactly what you need right now.

Leave behind what you think you know about meditation and any misconceptions you might have about it being an Eastern or New Age thing. Christian meditation is as simple as this: setting aside time to be still and silent before the Lord and focusing your thoughts on God.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NIV)

If you don't already have a meditation practice, an easy way to get started is by using guided meditations available online. But all you really need is a quiet place to sit, a verse or attribute of God that you want to focus on, and about 10 minutes of time to breathe deeply while inhaling God's peace and love and exhaling your stress and fear.

I open each session of my meditation practice with a brief personal prayer: Lord I give you this time, I give you my mind, may I rest in you as you make me new.

I like to begin by breathing slowly and deeply to get calm and settled. Then I just focus all my attention on my meditation verse. Whenever I notice my mind starting to wander, I silently repeat the verse to re-center myself and re-focus on the Lord.

Even on days when my mind is especially active and I have trouble focusing on the Lord, I get up from my meditation feeling a lot more clarity and peace between my ears.

Memorize Verses to Fill Your Mind with Truth: What are you filling your mind with these days? If it's the never-ending Coronavirus news cycle or sensational social media posts about COVID-19 then you're setting yourself up for mental chaos. Now more than ever we will benefit from filling our minds with truth.

By methodically memorizing Scripture verses, one at a time (choose verses that speak to the needed areas of your life) we can fill our minds with the word of God. When we fill our minds this way, the Holy Spirit can call those Scriptures forth in the moments when we need them most.

There's no one right way to do memorization. You can use whatever technique works best for you. I find it's easiest for me to memorize verses if they are on a note card placed where I can see them throughout my day. My desk in my home office and my bathroom mirror are prime spots where I can pause and interact with the verse each time it catches my eye. I like to read it aloud and then close my eyes and try to repeat it.

Prayer: Lord thank you for renewing my mind with Your Word. Help me to hunger to fill my mind up with biblical truth and focus my mind on who You are and what You say.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

All Your Strength: New Habits of the Body

In the season where everybody seems to be a little bit more focused on physical health, let's take this opportunity to reframe our physical health through a biblical lens.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV)

Our physical health is a gift, regardless of what state it is in by worldly standards. Our bodies are gifts given by God, to be stewarded well and offered back to Him.

So, let's use this season of COVID-19 to thank God for the health we have, place our physical health back into His hands and trust Him with it. While we do that, let’s honor Him with how we approach food and movement.

Remember Food is a Gift: Food is a gift from God meant to point us to the heart of the giver. Whether we are eating our normal meals or cobbling together dishes out of pantry staple items, let's get back to making our dining experiences a time for gratitude, prayer, and enjoyment.

This is a great season to deepen your practice of praying before you eat. It's an opportunity to pause, breathe deeply, look at your plate, ground yourself in the present moment, and eat mindfully with full awareness that God is providing for you and will continue to provide for you.

This quarantine season is also a great opportunity to give yourself a break from the food and diet rules of the world. Maybe in the light of this global pandemic we can begin to see how pointless it is to stress over trying to stick to a meal plan or eating perfectly. Let's leave our usual judgments about food behind us and come out the other side remembering that food is a gift and viewing it through the eyes of a grateful child being provided for by their Heavenly Father.

Move with Joy: Just as we can release worldly wisdom about food rules let's also release worldly wisdom about what counts as exercise. If being stuck at home has disrupted your usual workout routine, know that that is okay.

It’s also okay to ditch those diet culture labels about how workouts are supposed to look and instead use this time to explore what feels good to your body. Maybe it's as simple as taking a walk in the morning or getting down on the floor and playing with your kids, or some gentle stretching after you've been working from home in front of the computer all day.

When you move your body joyfully in a way that feels good to you, it's a beautiful way to connect with God and connect with gratitude for the body He made for you and offer it back to Him. A short prayer before your joyful movement practice for the day can turn a simple act of self-care into an act of worship.

Prayer: God, thank you for my physical body. Help me to care for it and steward it well. Help me remember my body is a vessel to be used for Your glory, not my own. Help me connect with you more deeply every time I enjoy your gift of food and every time I get up and move my body.

I really look forward to seizing this stay-at-home season as an opportunity to cultivate healthy habits that will help me love God more deeply with my whole being: heart, soul, mind and strength.

It's my prayer that these simple daily habits will not only carry us through the crisis of the Coronavirus, but they will help us come out on the other side as stronger and better Christians with a renewed focus on the greatest commandment.

Prayer: Lord, here I am, ready to love you more. I want to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me to cultivate healthy habits that will enable me to love you more fully and keep you at the center of my life during this crisis. May the daily practices that I begin in this season draw me closer to You and make me more like Jesus.


Erin L. Todd is a wife, dog mom, attorney-by-day and writer-by-night living in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a redhead who battled insecurity and body image issues for over 30 years, she now claims the concept of being both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. Her blog "Ginger In Progress" was born from a spiritual awakening where Jesus set her free from diet prison. Now she is on a mission to empower and equip women to Follow Jesus Not Diets. Find out more about Erin and grab your free Intuitive Eating Starter Kit for Christian Women HERE.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/jacoblun

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