Old Habits Die Hard
Old habits die hard. That is the truth. It doesn't take long to form habits but it takes a lot longer to break them. Habits can be anything from physical (yes, I bite my nails and it's deplorable!) to spiritual. As I have reached a place where some old wounds in my heart have finally truly healed, I find myself content, but at the same time, I see so much more work to be done! Now that I see myself clearer than I ever have, I find myself questioning "the way I am" in certain areas of my life. Hopefully, as I have blogged over the past year, you have seen a progression of God's work in me. I have dealt with, I feel like, every emotion possible. Anger, grief, shame and the list goes on. God has healed those places in me and given me a healthy perspective. It is from that healthy perspective that I now have the power to observe my own behavior and thoughts.
Most people live life as reactors. Do you know what I mean by that? I mean, most of us live in a cycle of just reacting to things in life instead of responding. I guess that's what I'm trying to say is different about me. I find myself wanting to respond in life instead of react. When I say or do something I actually have the power to stop and ask myself why I felt that way or acted that way. It's such a great place to be! Of course with this great comes the agonizing reality that I have a long way to go. I see so many things about Jesus that I want to be and I wonder how in the world I will ever be it! I still find myself slipping at times into that habit of reacting instead of thinking, listening, responding. Jesus always responded, never reacted. I am fascinated by how he was able to conquer the human nature every time a crisis arose in his ministry. I mean, he could have freaked out when 5000 men plus all the women and children needed something to eat and he didn't have any food for them. I would have freaked out! Nope, not Jesus. He just looks for that little boy with a couple fish and a little bread and he performs a jaw dropping miracle...and he want's me to do that too. He wants me to always walk in faith, offering grace, loving no matter what. Oh, that is hard! The temptation is always there to go back to "the way I used to be". To just build a wall and shut someone out, or pretend I don't even care, to forget my faith in the midst of a fight. Yes, old habits do die hard but I have come to a refreshing conclusion. Hard can be done. Hard is not impossible and even if it was, I serve the God of impossible. So, I can walk in a whole lot of grace, believing that in every moment Jesus has an answer.
January has most of us thinking about habits we want to break and goals we want to set. Some of us want to break life long habits. Some of us want to break spiritual habits that cripple us. Whatever the habit, yes, it will die hard but it can die. We have a wellspring of grace to pull from every minute of every day of our life and we are not defeated! My list is long this year, and none of it is really physical but emotional and spiritual. I want to be one that encourages others this year. I want to be gentle in the way I deal with people. I want to choose love over judgement every single time. I want to be patient! Yikes! When I see it on paper it all sounds a bit overwhelming but I wouldn't ask for it if I didn't believe my God can do it in me. Maybe it will take all year for just one of those things to grow in me, but I'm okay with that. I see all those old habits as potholes in the road. Lucky for me, I'm not walking down that road alone. Lucky for me Jesus is holding my hand and he gently guides me around them and when I let my stubborn pride take over and I fall right into one of those holes, well, he just picks me up, dusts me off, and we keep walking, hand in hand.
So, you want to break habits this year? Just take hold of Jesus's hand and don't let go! He will never let go and he will never fail you. He is made perfect in you through your weakness. He chooses to use the messy habits of our lives to reveal who he is. Remember, hard is hard, but it's not impossible. There is nothing our God cannot do...nothing.
The Lord said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardship, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10