Old Habits: Do they (N)ever die?

Everyone has one.

Most of us have more than one.

You know what I’m talking about.  That sneaky, often dark, quiet habit that lurks around you, waiting for the opportune moment.

Everyone’s got their own special brand of a habit they wish they didn’t have.  No one talks about it: mostly because we wish we didn’t have to.

Sometimes you can go for months without it even crossing your mind.  Then, out of the blue, it consumes you.  You succumb.  You enjoy it,  You are relieved…until you’re not.  You come out of the reverie incredulous.  Again?! Where did that come from?  You waffle between resignation, frustration, guilt, and apathy.

Whatever.  This is normal…normal for me.  Ain’t nothin’ new.
Are you listening to yourself?  Self, don’t resign to this.  You’re better than this, and you know it.

3 years ago, I wrote about this.  Present day…yes, I still feel these things.  And yet, I still struggle.

Philippians 4:8-9:”Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Well, that’s easier quoted than lived.

I can hear protests to this–in fact, I have protested this–saying: eh, it’s just your thing.  Everyone’s got one, it’s human nature.  *Shrug*

SO?!  One of my favorite sayings from my dad is: “should be and is be are two different things.
Just because something is, doesn’t mean it should be.  Just because this is normal, doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to it.  Surely we can break these habits.

Romans 7:21-25: “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger o Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

So this is a good thing for me?

I get it when Paul says they keep him humble, he was doing all sorts of incredible things.  I’m a fairly normal graduate student: I’m not healing people.  I’m not doing anything fancy to bloat my ego (in fact I regularly need a boost in that department).

Again and again I am confronted with the thought that this is an opportunity.  What?  An opportunity for what?  To fall into an old crutch?  To resign myself to the same old, same old?

No.  It’s an opportunity to ask for help.  It’s an opportunity to step back and realize: hey, maybe this is happening because I’m trying to do something right.  Maybe this is a sign of other things in my life that are working.

Maybe, I need to recognize that side of things, meet the challenge head on, and be better than I have been.

The minute you resign yourself to not being better, to falling back into old habits, to not taking a step forward towards truth and a better self…that’s the minute life wins.  Luckily, our lives are made up of lots of minutes…because life has beaten me for a lot of those.

But.  The next minute…that’s a whole new battle, one that I haven’t lost yet.


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