Every weekday morning, our alarm goes off at 5:30am. After getting up, getting moving, tending to the dog and the cat, I head to the gym. I step onto the treadmill and look at my watch. It is almost always 6:01am as I press the “Start” button. (Or, 6:02am if I’m moving slowly.)
I do 30 minutes on the treadmill and head for home. It’s usually 6:35am when I leave the gym. On the way home, just about every day, I drive past Braeden Meier, who is out on Rose Street, near its intersection with Cedar, running. (I should note, he is moving much faster than I was on the treadmill).
At least a couple of days each week, there is a semi-truck unloading a delivery to The Kitchen as I drive by. I wave at the driver. He waves at me.
I get home, make a cup of coffee for Lori and one for myself. Usually within 5 minutes she comes out of the bedroom and we eat breakfast, compare notes about her day and she heads to the office. I get ready and then go to work.
Like clockwork. It’s the same basic routine each morning. And if I am not finished making coffee by the time Lori comes out for breakfast, then I know that either I’m running behind, or she’s running ahead.
Our activities become practices. Our practices become patterns. And our patterns become habits.
What are the habits that define your day?
I talk to people fairly often who are not happy with how their life is. They come in to see me to talk about some level of unhappiness, or disappointment, or frustration about how things are for them. Sometimes the problem centers around their work, or their relationships, or anger over something that has happened.
As they describe their life situation to me, sometimes I wonder about their habits. Often they describe how they would like their life to be…but they cannot identify the steps it takes to get from here, to there. And I wonder with them, do they need to try new things…that might become practices…that might become patterns, and that might become habits…leading to a different result?
“he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”Revelation 21:4-5
The work of change is the work of God. We become new people when we trust God to work within us. It is God who makes all things new within us.
At the same time, God gives us the power and the freedom to determine how we spend our time and what we do. We have the ability to make decisions.
Faith is a gift, and a way of trusting something greater than ourselves. Faith is also a habit. We practice our faith.
In the world of the church, we talk about practices of faith: Worship, service, encourage, give, pray, invite and study.
I wonder what the world would be like if we could make these things more than words. If we really practiced these things, individually and as a community, could we make them a habit? And if they were a habit, how might that change our lives and the world around us? Would we become who we think we are intended to become?
I believe so. I believe that God gave us these practices that they might become habits, and that as we do these things, we might affect the world around us, making it more like God hopes.
Pick one. Just one. And do it. If it is prayer, then pick a time to pray every week. If it’s worship, then make a point of worshiping with the community every week. Do this, and watch and see what happens.
Do it like clockwork. And when it’s a habit, maybe pick another one and make that a habit. Allow your life to align with God’s will, and watch the world change around you!