Since my last topic was about New Year’s resolutions, I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately just thinking about why people make resolutions in the first place. Judging by the types of resolutions that people usually make, it would appear that a lot of us are just trying to lose a bunch of bad habits and are trying to gain a few good ones while we’re at it. Well, at least that’s what MY resolutions are all about. I don’t know about yours.
It looks simple enough until you realize just how easy it is to gain a truck-load of bad habits and how difficult it is to even maintain the few good ones you already have, never mind learning some new ones!
There is a wise saying that goes :
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
The crazy thing about the crazy thoughts that sometimes cross our minds is that they might seem harmless and private if they stay in our imaginations, but even the most shocking thought becomes okay to entertain once you’ve thought about it enough times and it becomes remarkably easier to verbalize too!
Once it becomes easy to talk about it openly with a close friend or something, it becomes that much easier to try it out with the rationale that “it’s just this once!” Right…
Once you’ve done it before, that becomes your reason to do it again because you did it before and you realized that guilt wears off after a while and it’s not the end of the world.
Once you’ve done it enough times, you don’t even need to think about it anymore, it becomes a part of you and you become an expert at it too, because practice makes perfect!
Scientists estimate that out of every 11, 000 signals we receive from our senses, our brains only consciously process about 40. Simply put, we do a lot of things without even rationalizing it any more because they have become such deeply entrenched habits. I could name a couple of people right now whose brains are permanently on cruise control!
In order to change a habit, you need to bring the action from a place where it is an involuntary response and drag it into the realm of consciousness.
Instead of just being vaguely aware that you’re always late or you exaggerate the truth a lot or you turn to certain things for relief in stressful situations, begin to ask yourself why and you’re going to discover a need. Begin to ask yourself how you’re going to change this and you discover a need for God.
One reason amongst many that makes me believe that prayer is really for our own good than it is a religious practice is that in prayer, we begin to verbalize exactly where we fall short and verbalize what should be the case instead and all these things are brought not only from the “spiritual realm” into the right here and right now, but also from the subconscious into the conscious mind where real steps towards change can and should be taken.
I’ve also realized that in prayer, we’re less likely to walk away with a temporary relief to the problem. God doesn’t put plasters on wounds that need surgery or a straight up amputation in some cases!
For every habit, there was a need that presented itself and the right way to fulfill that particular need was somehow disregarded most likely as a result of frustration or impatience and the temporary relief was chosen instead.
That’s all it is.
Think about it.
Temptations aren’t tempting where there is no deep-rooted need or desire and you’ll keep falling into the same sin and face the same guilt and condemnation over and over until you hand over even your innermost needs and desires to the Lord and trust Him to be your Jehovah Jireh at that exact moment in that exact area of your life.
Its not easy, but I’m really trusting God to get me to a point where serial dating is a thing of the past for me and I have handed over my need to be constantly swept off my feet and high on butterflies and sweet nothings over to Him, because only He knows what my need is really about, and when and how it should be fulfilled in such a way that He is glorified and I don’t end up looking for a new love interest as soon as the high has worn off and I need a new fix.
What about you? Do you have a recurring habit that you need to ditch?