I’m a seeker of good habits.
Not resolutions, mind you. Those ubiquitous mainstays of News Years’ self-reinvention frustrate me no end. They taunt me with their lack of long-lasting results.
Habits, however, are activities I choose to do that become a regular tendency, a practice that’s hard to give up. Doing things the same way for a certain period of time, say six weeks of constant repetition, will create a habit.
I’ve developed some really good habits. I had a dentist ask if I flossed. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I admitted I didn’t. He nodded and told me it was no big deal. I only needed to floss the teeth I wanted to keep for life.
I made that a habit rather quickly. Can’t go to bed now without cleaning between my teeth.
Not all habits are good. I have a habit of “fixing” people with my great ideas and words of wisdom. Always interrupting. Annoying for me and them. I too often excuse my wordiness when I need to apologize for not listening better.
I’ve developed a sugar habit. Mom was a sugar-sneaker, hiding candy in various places in the house. Places she firmly believed her four kids couldn’t find. It raised the value of candy for all of us. The forbidden always tastes sweeter.
Especially if it’s covered in chocolate.
While John and I have been on our vacation, we’ve sought to establish good habits together. I’ve cooked healthy meals–no sugar. (Yes, it’s been painful.) After two weeks, I’m not craving it as much. (We’ll see how long that lasts.)
A health benefit.
We’ve taken walks every morning together, something that is truly miserable to do in Florida now with the heat and humidity. We engage in more conversation when we’re moving in tandem than when we’re couched in front of the TV.
A relational benefit
We’ve watched very little television, mostly because there’s no cable or WiFi where we’re staying. We’ve finagled the World Cup, but not much more.
A time benefit.
Not all of these will translate well once we get back home. Our schedules–and the weather–will make daily walks together difficult. With grands around, the absence of sugar won’t be tolerated well. Spoiling them is an art form.
We’ve got cable and WiFi.
One habit I’ve developed that offers constant encouragement–a habit I protect–is time alone with Jesus each day. It began years ago, with a challenge to read the Bible for thirty days straight and journal what I’d read.
It took me forever to accomplish thirty days in a row. Once I did, I realized how much I benefitted from the time. Real soul care. I didn’t always come away with memorable nuggets. To be honest, some days I read my Bible merely out of habit. Not from closeness with God.
Even those times would produce divine heart nudges. The more I read about God, the better I got to know Him and how much He loves me. What began as a challenge became a deep and loving relationship.
That’s the kind of habit I can live with.