By Josh Haycraft
Old Habits Surface
Habits receive a lot of attention. Some provide good results, while others can provide bad ones. As an example, a habit of daily prayer or studying the Bible has been proven to provide us with positive changes and an overall positive outlook on life. Others such as angry outbursts can provide negative changes in our lives. What about those old habits that can on occasion come back to the surface of our lives? The other day I had an old habit appear out of the blue that surprised me.
I was driving home from an afternoon of counseling and running errands. As I often do I was reflecting on the events of the day. It was a beautiful afternoon with clear skies and the temperature in the mid-50s. The sun was shining and the view of the Ross Barnett Reservoir was stunning. I rolled the windows down about halfway and enjoyed the light chill in the air, and heard the beginning of Jimmy Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” on the radio. I turned the radio up a little more and immersed myself in the moment. Everything was great!
As I continued down Spillway road, without being fully aware of it, I turned into my old neighborhood. What made this odd was that my family and I had moved out of the neighborhood four months earlier after living there for 12 years. This was the first time that without any purpose I reacted to this old habit. When I turned around to leave, my curiosity was piqued. I asked myself why did I do that, and then what other old habits have I fallen victim to? This is a small example of how an old habit can quickly resurface.
Our habits are powerful. They are a type of mental shortcut that we develop and are overall beneficial to us. Our habits, like everything else that we say and do communicate to others. As Christians, we are under a level of scrutiny from the World, and an easy thing for others to use to develop assumptions about us, and Christianity as a whole, are our habits. Since we are called to live within the teachings of Christ and to also; “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, NIV), isn’t it important for us to be aware of ourselves and our habits?
Our belief shows us that we can begin new. We have the support, love, and grace of Christ. We can move beyond our past, but that does not mean that our past will always leave us. Paul talked about his thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:7, as an object of torment. Even though he suffered from this he was also told that, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV). Your actions and habits I promise you are not larger than our God!
If all of our habits old and new are so powerful, what should I do with them?
- Don’t Become Stuck in the Past. Be aware that habits are normal and develop as a result of a repetitive action. We are human and are not perfect. Old habits, like thoughts, can and will resurface.
- Pray and Reflect. Set aside time in prayer for reflection of your habits. Ask yourself are my actions and habits in line with Christ?
- Create New Habits. Be thoughtful in your actions, and over time your new action will become a new habit!
- Take Comfort in the Grace of Christ. Remember that He is sufficient for all of us!
Josh Haycraft is a counseling intern at Summit Counseling. He lives in Brandon with his wife, Heather, their daughters, Christa and Jada.They are members of Pinelake Church.