How Do We Change?: Harnessing the Power of Habits and Routines
I meet many people who are like me. We sincerely desire to live for Christ. We earnestly seek Him in the Word and prayer.
But then…there’s reality.
We walk out the door of our prayer closet and yell at our kids.
(I won’t ask you to raise your hand.)
As I noticed this discouraging trend in myself, I began to wonder how God actually changes us in the everyday.
I long for integrity in my life. I want my words and walk to match, to live out what I believe.
But sweeping initiatives or worn out resolutions every January don’t work. What does?
Over the past few posts, I have shared a bit of my own process on how God’s overarching mission touches down in my own life.
2. Clear the weeds.
3. Sow good seed.
Basically, it is about learning how to put off the old and put on the new (Check out Eph. 4:22-24!).
Over the years, I’ve noticed two key ways to make this transition.
First are projects. These are one-time deals. They have a start and end date.
Second are habits. These are ongoing disciplines or responses I want to train into myself until it’s a no-brainer. Until then, there is no end date.
Needless to say, it’s the latter that is harder to stick with.
And yet, it is these habits—big or small—that have made the biggest difference.
Habits are often what make the hard choices sustainable. In my own life, these are habits like a regular quiet time, learning to budget, or making time to read.
I add only one habit at a time. Trust me, you don’t want to try ten new habits at once.
The nice thing about habits is you can also string thing together to create a routine. Just like you can string notes together to make a tune (remember Do-Re-Mi?) you can string habits together to create a pattern of change.
Sometimes, these are things I choose for myself. Sometimes they are developed as an extension of the roles we play—spouse, children, boss, etc.
We cannot always choose our situation or circumstance.
But instead of falling victim to it, projects and habits are a way I can be proactive under God’s sovereign direction. They are things I can do so I don’t flounder. It allows me to make the most of the opportunities given me. (Gandalf says this, but you can also find it in Eph. 5:16.)
As I am learning to adjust to our life with Anah, realizing I have a choice to face the realities but design a way to thrive within it has breathed new hope.
It doesn’t just have to be dealing with a special needs child. It can simply be the struggles of having a newborn, a new job, or a new health condition.
He can help us live out His mission wherever we are.
Habits and routines help us do just that.