Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone and realized it was headed to a familiar place, one that never seems resolved or ever has a good ending? A place that nags you when the conversation is over, with shoulda, coulda, woulda and ‘next time’ I’ll…One that really isn’t working for you or those around you? You may even be aware that it is an area of concern or weakness but it still seems surprisingly easy to fall into. Almost as if you are on autopilot. It crops up during a conversation or an interaction with a relative, your spouse or one of the kids.
Maybe it’s gossip, an emotional pattern you long to break or a family member who knows just the right thing to say that sucks you in. Time after time, you find yourself responding the wrong way, in the same tone or thinking the same cycle of negative thoughts and getting nowhere fast. The good news is, there is a choice! We’ve all experienced this in one form or another. Habits in our lives can produce big rewards or they can bring us to new lows. We can put them to work for us if we are willing to make the effort to establish them in any area of life.
The word habit is defined in many ways. This one describes it well, “an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.” The key word here being ‘acquired.’ Meaning at some point in our lives we allowed it, practiced it and it became our involuntary response under pressure. Paul describes the process when he wrote:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15
Ever been there? Changing and challenging old ingrained habits is hard work and a renewed mindset is necessary when you set out to tackle them.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
We are made free in Christ. Whether it be an emotional, physical or mental addiction or habit, we are meant for freedom. We are created to experience freedom in Christ. As areas of bondage are revealed, He provides us the resolve, strength and grace to overcome. When you step out in faith, making a quality decision to move in the direction of a new habit, He is in your corner. Grace for yourself in the process is the key. Giving yourself room to practice a new habit and grace to step back up to the plate when the old habit pops up. Your determination and His ability to assist you in establishing it will bring about the change you wish to see!