2016-11-03 - Habits
Since I was about fifteen years old my hair length, for the most part, has been at least a little below my shoulders. For quite a long time it was about half way down my back and so it was much easier when I showered to have a second towel just for drying it off. After being in the habit of having and using a second towel it was just part of my routine and I didn’t give it a second thought. More recently, however, I decided to go a little shorter especially on the top. I also began going to the gym to the pool as well and so just using one towel made more sense packing my bag for it, yet I was still using those two towels at home. One day when I was hanging the second one over the shower bar to dry I started thinking about it. This phrase went through my mind: “why exactly are you still using two towels when you only need one on days you go to the gym?” So I decided I should stop the extra time and work of doing something that had become unnecessary. It just seemed like a better idea and it only took me a year or so for it to occur to me!
Have you ever continued a habit in your daily routine that you couldn’t explain any specific benefit? I’m not talking about those to do with basic Biblical truth, but those in everyday life that can sometimes be thought of as traditions, chores, and others as simply desires. Many things can be what you might call “under review” after a period of time, to see if we need to adjust them based on how life has changed for us. Also, how we have grown emotionally and spiritually, or changed physically can determine the habit is or isn’t causing us harm or keeping us from another positive activity.
The whole hair towel example is just to explain how there are many small things that can wear me down physically in the course of any given day, if I don’t streamline my daily routine. When I am careful with those activities, my effectiveness spiritually with others will always be better, and I have to be aware of how my body affects my mind. When I am up and filled spiritually, I can feel it flow out of me and into whatever I am doing or with whom I am sharing time. When I am low, I can feel things like anger rising in me or frustration at any little thing, so I need to stop and regroup. I either am in need of some physical rest or nourishment, a heart refreshed with some music, a mind renewed with some reading or study, physical release with a swim or walking, or to shoot some photos and focus outside of myself on Him again. On any given day, the order or amount of what we need can change, and we all need a good balance of physical and spiritual and emotional renewal, and then our cups can overflow outward again. I realized about eight to ten years ago that I now have to be intentional about the balance - and willing to change my habits, even good ones - if they are affecting my overall results. And if I don’t ever change, how can I say He has changed me?
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:8-9 NIV)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted