I don’t remember the context, but my dear priest and friend spoke of training his dog not to do “mischief” on the carpet and reminded me that habits only take 21 days to “stick” and thus be a part of us. I know, when you see a commercial and remember it but not the product, perhaps they missed the opportunity to make a sale. However, my priest “sold me” on this concept even if I can’t remember the specific “thing” he may have been pointing to at that very moment.
A recent devotional reading spoke the same message without any puppy puddles in the equation. I “got it” quickly because of the puppy illustration, perhaps. Anyway . . . think about the rough time when we first try to change our diet. Oh, the difficulties as well when we try to add daily exercise to our routine. How easily we can get out of step with our daily “rule of life” or our commitment to spending daily quiet time with the Lord. Gosh, the scientific fact of a habit becoming part of us in 21 days has actually been proven. Funny thing is that length of time seems so LONG. I could say “three weeks” or “less than a month” or . . . but when we are talking about a life changing opportunity and growing in our relationship with the Lord, 21 days isn’t that much to ask is it? Okay, I’m making a face as I say this, but my instinctive response to my rhetorical question is “sort of.”
We are a society of “instant gratification” seekers. So, the point made in my recent devotional reading which brought me back to my priest’s puppy puddles . . . was that we should find a reason to give thanks and praise in everything we face every day. Admit it, that sounds like a simple “yes, of course – what’s your point here?” We “get it” but speaking for myself I know I don’t always “do it.” Know what though? If we work at it, we will find His blessings in each of our days. On a bad day it’ll be a challenge. I know. THEY ARE REAL AND THEY ARE THERE. Blessings – how much better is it at the end of a long “I can’t take another day of this” sort of day to think back on it over a cool drink on the porch at night, reflecting on finding those unseen blessings which were right there with us in the distress of the rest of it? I can tell you that it’s much more likely that if I don’t remind myself, I’ll sit on the porch and whine over all the crap in my day, my life, and then wonder why it’s all I seem to see? Why am I in a bad mood? Why does my head ache? Why can’t I sleep?
Take a deep breath . . . in . . . out . . . in . . . out . . . now, ignore the phone, forget the honking car horn down the street, the barking dog, the loud music, and take a minute and find a way to release all that and FIND blessings. It will only take 21 days to change a habit . . . I think when it comes to blessings, you’re probably gonna realize they begin to be very clearly present in your life much sooner than that. Try it. Baby steps . . . think of just one. Say “thank you.” Feel the Lord’s presence . . . try to go for a second “found” blessing . . . He was with us in the mess. He didn’t have to get His hands dirty. It was our mess, but He seeks to be “in it” with us and blessing us. We love Him, but He first loved us. FIRST. Not “if you’re good” or “if you listen” or “if you could just get what I’m trying to teach you” but FIRST.
Really, 21 days is just a small portion of a lifetime. Try it. You’ll be blessed. You already are!