Friday, March 6, 2015

New Habits

This was written for a group I am a part of and have been asked to write for. The group of women are striving to better their bodies, souls, and minds. We've not all known each other for a long time, but they seem like lovely women.

Taking on new habits is hard. We think that if we can just make a schedule and stick to it that we will force a new and better habit on ourselves. Is that always the case? No. Should that be the case? No. 

Sometimes the best habit is letting go. It’s releasing us from a bondage or restraint we’ve put on ourselves.
For some, it’s something tangible, physical. We strictly adhere to our gym schedule because it helps us keep our physical bodies in the shape that we like, the right number on the scale, the right measurements with a tape measure. We like how we look, how we feel, how others respond to those things.  

This is a double edged sword because sure, obviously working out, running, yoga, physical activity, those are good right? Right? When we get our priorities out of order in order to fit a trip to the gym into our already teeming schedule, we’ve lost the good habit in the situation. We’ve twisted the good into something vain.

For others, it’s the idea, or the principle behind something. Same example but with the mental aspect. When we take something seemingly healthy, like going to the gym and put it above all else, we’ve changed the idea of a healthy, strong body into an idol. We’ve taken our bodies, the very temples of the Holy Spirit, living breathing statues made in the very image of the Creator himself, and twisted that idea into something we can shape and mold and change every little aspect of on a whim of our vanity. We beat ourselves up over missing one session or one class, we get mad and frustrated at ourselves when we are injured or can’t perform at the level we feel we deserve. We lose respect for ourselves and others when there’s some slacking going on.

There are so many things this restraint can be. I’ve just used the gym as an example because it’s one I struggle with over and over. I make a commitment. I struggle through with the commitment until it’s wavering on the unhealthy side of things, then I back up, releasing myself from the strict constraint, and start again. For me, I need to make sure that the gym is not interfering with the absolute most important things to me, growing with God and in my faith walk and my family. That’s certainly not easy and I’m not great at it. I’m learning and changing it as I go. I’m trying to be intentional about the time I carve out for these things.

So be careful, mindful, of the habits you are forming. Know what they are; know the limits you’d like to have on these habits. Make them good habits; make them habits worthy of you and your larger ultimate goals.

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