Habits are an interesting part of being human.
More than 100 years ago, the American Journal of Psychology described habits as a “more or less fixed way of thinking, willing or feeling acquired through previous repetition.”
Some habits are good – like brushing your teeth daily. And some habits are bad – like biting your fingernails. How many times did you mother warn you not to repeat something or you’d form a bad habit?
One habit, a pretty bad one that many of us fall into, is how we view ourselves and our lives.
How many times have you told yourself that you’re fat, or unsuccessful, or that your life is out of control? If you’re like me, you’ve probably done it so much that the habit of negative thinking invades the rest of your life making you feel lost, incomplete and perhaps unlovable.
I tried to run from my negative thoughts, but the harder I tried to get away from them, the more they seemed to pop up.
Honestly, it was pretty awful.
And even though I have a great husband, wonderful children, lots of friends, and really a pretty good life, I kept thinking there was something missing. Something so integral to my being – and as I discovered later – to my well-being – that I was constantly frustrated by not being able to find it. And that just fed my habit of negative thoughts. A vicious cycle.
Then I found the answer. And you can, too.
Here’s what I did: I decided to read the Bible.
So I picked up a really good study Bible (the easy part); then I had to decide to spend time reading it (the harder part). And I had to make it a . . . well . . . a habit.
A habit takes 21 days to form and a full 6 months to become a real part of you. So I jumped in and determined that I’d give it just 20 minutes a day for a few weeks and see what would happen. At the very least I figured I was worth a little positive affirmation each day.
The first few days were tough — I easily found distractions, but I stuck to it. Twenty minutes a day for a few days, turned to a few weeks, and before I knew it, a few months had passed. And, wow, the experiences of those 20 minutes each day changed my life in ways I never thought possible. Negative thoughts began to drift away. I started to find new energy. The world started to look different to me. Hey, I’m not going to say all of life’s issues went away. There are still kids to raise, a house to clean, and having to deal with the Angry Moms of School Drop Off – but my outlook changed. The world really is full of love, and joy, and compassion, when you know how to look.
My new habit taught me how to look – and find!
So if you’ve felt confused, a bit despaired or maybe a bit lonely, I challenge you to form a new habit in your life. A habit from which you will find a loving God and Father. You will find His holy son Jesus. And you will find the Holy Spirit. And by making a habit of reading the Word every day, you will find forgiveness, compassion, and healing.
I sure did.
A highly favored Bible is the NLT Life Application Study Bible; you may choose a different version or you can visit a websites like BibleGateway or BibleHub and download their apps. Choose a reading plan that combines reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day. The version I suggested above is great because it puts things into context and may make the words feel more personal and relevant to you.
Whichever version of the Bible of method of reading is up to you (and if you pray about it, God will guide you to what works for you). I simply ask that you be open to receive the healing love and forgiveness that will come your way.
So is that it? Am I going to leave you with that? No. Of course not. That’s just the beginning. But it’s the best place to start, and I look forward to this walk together.
Start the habit of getting to know Him by reading the Bible daily. You are worth taking the time to do this. Make the time. There are 24 hours in a day and I know you can carve out 20 minutes a day to devote to knowing Him, and yourself, better. Commit. This is the beginning of learning to Live the Calling.