I have some bad habits.
There’s a long list.
I’ve thought long and hard about sharing but decided against it. Here are some of the reasons why:
- You might not think they’re “bad” habits at all.
- You might think they’re “really, really bad” habits and decide I’m an awful person.
- It matters very little what you think about me or my habits. I wrote a lot about that here.
- Now that I think about it, you’ve probably never thought about my habits (good or bad) until I brought it up.
So I won’t be breaking any of my bad habits this year.
I have another plan.
Start new ones. Good habits, that is.
It seems so obvious why didn’t I think of it? Instead, I tend to focus on getting rid of the bad. And you know the more you try to stop doing something, the more you think about doing it. Like worry, for example. I try not to worry, but then I worry that I’m not worried. (Thank you pastor.) The more I try not to eat junk food the more I want it. Is it just me?
My husband, the counselor, has been re-reading this book recently, The Inner Game of Tennis, by W. Timothy Gallwey. It’s about tennis but it’s also about the mental side of peak performance. He read this part aloud to me the other night:
It is a painful process to fight one’s way out of deep mental grooves. It’s like digging yourself out of a trench. But there is a natural and more childlike method. A child doesn’t dig his way out of his old grooves; he simply starts new ones! The groove may be there, but you’re not in it unless you put yourself there. If you think you are controlled by a bad habit, then you will feel you have to try to break it. A child doesn’t have to break the habit of crawling, because he doesn’t think he has a habit. He simply leaves it as he finds walking an easier way to get around.
I believe there’s an easier of way of getting around in this life because these Spirit inspired words written down by the Apostle Paul reminded me:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 The Message)
So I came up with a list of new, good habits through the nonjudgmental observation of what I considered to be my bad habits. More specifically, by thinking about the consequences of several of my bad habits–how those bad habits hurt me and others—I decided on new good habits I want to develop. Funny thing is, it takes just a few good habits to cover the consequences of a bunch of bad habits. In other words, starting new habits is easier than breaking old ones.
In one of my favorite movies Katherine says to Frances: “Listen, when I was a little girl I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally, I’d just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me.”
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. (Philippians 3: 13-15 The Message)
I’m gonna fall asleep in the grass this year. In other words, I’m gonna take my everyday, ordinary life and lay it before God as an offering; fix my eyes on Him and let Him change me from the inside out. He always brings out the best in me.