Decade of destiny: Healthy choices
So much fear. So much worry. So much information to absorb and assess. “I hear the whispering of many, ‘Terror on every side!…’” (Psalm 31:13 ESV). During the Coronavirus it is easy to identify with the psalmist. And for those of us who tend toward excess worry and anxiety anyway, news of the coronavirus pandemic seems like piling on after Hurricane Michael. You’re doing the best you can to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community by making wise, healthy, considered choices, starting with your physical health. And yet you’re still a nervous wreck.
Bottom Line: How can I break free from the stress and constraints of COVID-19?
Something To Talk About:
Life is full of choices. The Bible is full of people making choices. People make bad choices. People make good choices. God uses both. God puts choices in front of you every day. What you do with your choices will determine the person you become.
So how do we make healthy choices during the Coronavirus pandemic that help alleviate our stress and worry and bring us closer to God at the same time?
Healthy choices help me encounter God: What if your choices would challenge you to grow in your relationship with the Lord while enhancing your personal moments with God each day by being reminded of vital biblical truths that can be found embedded in our everyday experiences? What if your choices help you encounter God?
- Go outside: One way to de-stress during this uncertain time is by going outside, but do so safely and responsibly. The universe and the sounds of nature are His creations and proclaim His majesty. The best way to hear God speak is to get alone and listen–especially in nature–basking in God’s creation.
- Focus your thoughts: Take the time to focus your mind on God. Be still and focus on the majesty, grace, and glory of God. Spending time with God in silence and solitude is not only going to make you physically healthier, but it’s going to also enhance your relationship with God and create more peace, joy, and contentment in your life. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”
- Meditate on scripture: The most compelling reason for Biblical meditation is the Bible itself. The scriptures that tell us that great success comes from meditating on Christ (Joshua 1:8) or Psalms 46:10 that declares it is through stillness that we come to know God.
- Read some Christian biographies: On cold nights, I can’t help but recall Louis Zamperini’s harrowing account of shivering on the brink of death during winter in an atrocious POW camp. Or when we are confined at home I think of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, as written in his international bestseller “Tortured for Christ” spending 14 years in a Romanian prison. Their lives continually push me onward and have shaped my attitude toward hardship, fairness, and perseverance.
- Begin your day with God: A good way to start the day every day is to declare the Word of God and thank Him for it. Every morning, focus on God first to bring clarity to your life and to give you peace in stressful times.
Healthy choices help me make an impact: Anyone who loves Jesus loves the church, and loves the lost and wants to make his or her life count for Christ. It starts by making healthy choices.
- Drink more water: Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day. If you want to be healthy, drink more water.
- Eating reasonably: I don’t think that God wants food to divide us or disconnect our hearts from each other – and food surely isn’t supposed to siphon away our desire to focus wholly on God. We need to be reasonable and make a healthy decision to eat reasonably.
- Get active: One of the ways we train for godliness is by maintaining our physical health. The truth is, your body was not designed for inactivity. God created you to be active. Even a daily walk will make a difference in your physical and spiritual well-being.
- Have more fun: You may be under a lot of stress right now because of the pandemic, but God still wants you to enjoy life. You can enjoy life because you are secure within God’s love. You can have fun and laugh in church. Having fun is a wonderful stress reducer.
- Sleep well: “Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV). One of the hidden triggers for stress is a lack of rest.
- As you reflect on Sunday’s message, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp?
- How can we cope with stress? How can we rebound from failure? How can we be confident in a crisis?
- What different ways have you tried to intentionally connect with God? Were some more meaningful or impactful than others? Why do you think that might be?
- How are worry and meditating on Scripture similar? What positive results come from meditating on God’s Word?
- When people talk about quiet times, they are usually referring to two things: prayer and Bible study. Of those two, which seems to be the most important? Why? Which of these two seem to be the most difficult for you? Why?
- What are the biggest obstacles keeping you from praying and studying the Bible on a daily basis?
- What are some reasons to read Christian biographies?
- How can you eat more reasonably?
- How might giving yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep help you meet your healthy lifestyle goals? What do you need to change about your schedule and priorities so that you can make more time for rest?
- What are some ways you and your family can stay active together?
- Why would God want you to enjoy life?
- What are some ways you and your family can stay active together?
- If God is the owner of our bodies and they are a gift on loan from God, why do you think it is important for believers to be good stewards of their health?
- What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it? Who will hold you to it? Write down your next step to becoming the person God wants you to be.
Take one thing home with you:
Reading Christian biographies is good for the soul. Reading Christian biographies is not just about having a greater knowledge of Christian history or studying all the heroes of the faith as in-depth as possible. It’s about seeing God at work through the lives of others. There is such an incredible opportunity for blessing and growth that comes from learning through the experiences of others. Reading about the lives of other believers can encourage you in ways you weren’t even aware you needed to be encouraged. But God knows, and He often uses the lessons learned through other people’s lives to bring about transformation in our own.
When we read someone else’s story we’re given the perspective of hindsight, and we are able to see with greater clarity the full impact the little things had on their life. Seeing the fruit produced in others through their faithful obedience, even in the small things, helps us to press on in joyful obedience throughout our own lives, with the confidence that God can use our small acts of obedience in significant ways.