Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

November 8, 2013

This weekly photo challenge on habit resulted in a quick inner voice speaking of a habit of mine which literally has saved me.  The cross!  No, my faith is more than a habit, but the challenges and hurts in life cause me to sometimes lose focus for a time so I have crosses everywhere both on display or in a pocket.  My habit is to have one where I can grab hold of it at any time.  This reminder returns my thoughts to Him and His love and nearness in great and dreadful times and comforts me in the knowledge that for all eternity, there is nothing He and I can’t handle TOGETHER.

My habit?  To the cross I cling!

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Sushi’s NOT Disgusting – The Truth About Habits

September 21, 2012

I was driving home from lunch with Mom a few minutes ago.  As we pulled up to the traffic light and intersection the light turned red.  I stopped.  Mom grew quickly angry and complained about the light (assume language used) and followed that with “I hate this place.”  I can’t think of anywhere in my adult life which hasn’t found her “hating” it, but when she moved to the next place, suddenly the last was a dream come true.  It annoys me partly because she lives in my home and I love it here.  As to traffic lights I have come to love the “extra” time to sip my water, say a quick prayer, adjust the radio, check email . . . if I’m running late, it’s my own fault, right?  Can’t blame the light.  So, Mom’s bad reaction added to the “why does she always complain.”  Now, the rest of the story . . . .

It is true, MOm does complain a lot.  It is a habit that she’s had long as I can remember.  She is so quick to say “I hate this rotten place” that if the sun shines too bright or the sky is too blue, it’ll prompt that phrase to be spoken.  Habits.  The bad news?  Habits are hard to break.  But, there is good news!  Habits are hard to break!!!  Does this surprise you?  Both statements are true.  I promise.

You see, those habits become instinctive and reflex/response to any stimuli whether remotely appropriate or not.  BUT they can be broken if we are stubborn and willing.  Stubborn minds got us into the bad habit, why can’t it make us break the old bad habits and instill new ones?  Okay, confession time.

I used to hate red lights.  I’d waste gas driving the long way to avoid them.  At some point I had little money (like now) and so gambled that I’d hit a few green lights and thus maybe the short way could work?  I am by nature an early bird, so the timing wasn’t critical.  I trained myself to use my quiet time in the car for prayer, breathing exercises, listening to MY MUSIC and the like.  It made me like red lights and like driving (which I’d hated) and during times of concern praying while driving is HUGELY comforting.  During times of elation, praying while driving is ALSO hugely comforting.  Win win, win!

The rest of the story.  Mom’s quick “I hate this place” about everywhere is a habit and this one comes so quickly I’m not sure she even knows where she is when she declares it.  But, as I sat at the light, I was thinking of lunch.  I had gone to a buffet place which she likes.  I’m gotten away from a diet of nothing but fried, salty, fat filled, and starchie foods which I used to load up on even though I felt sick later and gained weight . . . I “loved” them.  I’ve come to eat a diet filled with fruit, veggies, sushi, water . . . don’t care for meat much . . . I’m healthier, lost weight, and it looks and tastes really good.  Oh, but the rest of the story?  Most of that stuff . . . my new diet?  It is all stuff I always turned up my nose on.  Yuck, I don’t like veggies.  I hate fruit.  Suchi?  Icky . . . raw fish?  Just thinking about it made me . . . you know.  At some point, my God Daughter, whom I can deny nothing, stuck a piece of sushi on my plate and in a comando voice told me to eat it.  She sternly glared and said “all sushi is NOT raw fish.  Hardly any is raw fish.”  I ate it.  I then stole another off her plate.  I then began to gingerly taste fruit and veggies.  Do you know how amazing they are?  Yum.  How is it that I didn’t know this?  Oh, and when did Alice become the adult and me the foolish child?  (She was born AMAZING) LOL

Know what?  When I eat hamburgers, deep-fried food, etc., now?  I don’t like it much.  Sometimes not at all.  Spinach?  Yum!  I eat a lot and I look better all the time.  Good habits are as hard to break as bad ones.  Try it!

 


It Only Takes 21 Days . . . Hidden Blessings

July 31, 2012

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!


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