Sometimes we don’t think we have habits because we can’t see them…
I have a friend who says, “You know what I mean?” after every sentence. She doesn’t recognize it until one of us tells her. Then she says, “I didn’t even know I was doing it. You know what I mean?”
I have friends who chew their fingernails but when you say, “Hey, you’re chewing your fingernails” they say, “No I’m not” while their hand is still moving away from their mouth!
I have friends who pick their nose
I have friends who pick their friend’s…nose. That’s not true, I’m making that up.
My wife has a wonderful habit. Every time we have a conversation by text, phone or in person she finishes with the same thing, “I love you.” It’s a habit she’s developed over the years that has created the same habit in me. It may not seem like much but every time we finish a conversation and she says, “I love you” it turns us toward each other, even if for just a moment.
Here’s the good news – When you start enough good habits you don’t have time or room in your life for the bad ones.
What is a habit? A habit is a consistently repeated pattern or behavior.
You might be thinking well this won’t work for me because; the only thing I’m consistent about is being inconsistent. I’m guessing you’re wrong about that. Think about it. You brush your teeth everyday. And if you don’t, don’t talk to me. But I’m guessing pretty much everyday you brush those pearly whites and everyday you get dressed. I’m speculating you’ve never left the house one single time without some clothes on. If you drive, I bet you drive on the right side of the road every single time you get in the car. We are consistent about what we want to be consistent about.
Habits are life altering because they determine who we become. In other words my character is built on the consistency of my habits.
If I’m habitually kind I have the character of kindness
If I’m habitually abusive (physically, verbally, or emotionally), I develop the character of an abuser
If I habitually forgive, I become a gracious person
If I habitually allow myself to lose my temper, I become known as an angry person
If I habitually speak life-giving words to others, I develop the character of an encourager
If I habitually drink alcohol, I become a drunk
If I habitually misuse drugs, I become an addict
If I habitually choose my way, I become characterized by selfishness
If I habitually spend time with Jesus, I become more like Jesus
Here’s a prayer that might help you…
Jesus, I recognize my character is built on the habits I choose. Please help me to lean into the habits that are vital to keep me growing into the person you and I want me to be; the version of me that looks most like you.
By Keith Spurgin • Lead pastor of New Hope Christian Church