Habit (noun): A regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
I found out recently that I had formed an unusual habit. Well, unusual for me, but a habit nevertheless. I now have a habit of having peace during stressful situations. Ok, I realize you are thinking that this sounds totally doubtful because most people know me to be a little high strung and anxious under stress. But I honestly can say in the last year I have truly adopted a “glass half full” attitude in my life. Now, this did not come easily or through some instant thought pattern. This was truly only possible through understanding who I am and who’s I am (God’s of course!). I understand I am part of a bigger picture and my piece does make a difference in God’s masterpiece or it can be a notch toward the enemy’s master plan. I had to make a choice to either serve my Savior or to continue to serve myself. Now let’s talk about habits.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
We all have habits right? Most of us have a habit of getting up every morning, same time, the same bathroom routine, the same breakfast, the same mode of transportation, the same work ritual, the same everything day in and day out. Wash, rinse, repeat! And many of us have the not so great habits such as bad eating habits, smoking habits, drinking habits, cursing habits, gossip habits, etc. habits. We all have habits and we all say to ourselves that as long as we are not bothering anyone then our habits are fine. But truly you must realize that in the end your habits will eventually affect someone else. That is the thing about habits, there is never just one.
From my earliest age I always had a few different habits, some good and some bad. The main one that stood out was the habit of thinking of the worst- case scenario for everything. I would always have a negative outlook for anything good to happen for me. I would not say anything out loud but while I was alone, the thoughts and feelings of negativity would nearly drive me crazy. I was the smile on the outside, and hell on the inside person. I became a slave to poor mental and spiritual health. I allowed so many outside forces to override the major source that I already had inside of myself. And like I said earlier, habits come in two’s, three’s or even ten’s. Habits can go either way. But in forming good or bad habits, they always begin with the internal habit of keeping our heads up despite what our world looks like or keeping our heads down and submitting ourselves to the junk food that the enemy feeds us. And you know when you are fed too much junk food, you start to feel a lot of pain!
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. …”Proverbs 4:20-27
In forming better habits for ourselves, it starts with understanding your source. Now, many of us have these temporary sources of “good” energy, that easily boost us then also drain us. For example, Mountain Dew is a very sugary and sweet soda that many people love to drink. Unfortunately, it does not satisfy your thirst, it heightens it. Have you ever had a long day of running errands and snagged a Mountain Dew from the store, drank it all, and then not even an hour later you are thirsty again. The Mountain Dew fulfilled you temporarily, but did not fill your tank. So, you find yourself buying more of something that is not helping you at all and has the potential to hurt you if consumed enough. Your pockets are not only being drained but also your natural energy. You have started a habit without even realizing how much of an affect it will have in the long run. And just like drinking sugary sodas daily, we tend to have habits of spending more time pleasing the outside of us instead of building up the inside of us. Thankfully bad habits can be broken.
Finally, I would like to challenge you this week, to take a close look at your habits. Not all habits are bad, but some habits may seem okay on the surface, but they may be having some negative effects in different areas of your life. If you have a habit of always saying yes to everything, and yet you find you cannot enjoy any of the occasions you have said yes to, then you may need to reevaluate that habit. If you have the habit of always going to a bar after work instead of going straight home to your family, then you may need to evaluate why you have formed that habit. Is that helping for the greater good of your relationships or harming them? If you have a habit of making a very concentrated effort to look better than you feel, all the time, then you may need to better understand why your inside is not matching your outside. Habits are not formed overnight and will not break overnight. I am still struggling to always stay positive, but I can say that 99.9% of the time, positivity outweighs the negativity for me. Take the time to form better habits and see how much more God will bless you. You know you got this!