I have been learning a lot about habits lately. Some of them that I didn't know I had, some that were born of past relationships, some that were developed as coping skills, and some just because I am a big mess. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 6 years old. I hadn't picked up many bad habits at that point in my life. And, because I am human and full of sin, I have definitely developed some unhealthy habits in my lifetime. I love to be reminded of that verse though...with Christ living in me, when I confess my sins, the old dies, and the new comes! I am thankful that is an ongoing process in my heart and mind.
Currently, I have been analyzing my life. I am in counseling and I have been blessed with honest, faithful friends who are helping me uncover hurtful habits that I have hung on to. The habits that I want to break are those which I have put in place to guard my heart against pain. I have built up walls of distrust, suspicion, and doubt. I have let my stubbornness and pride take over parts of my heart. I have been almost obsessed with wanting to prove myself to others...that I can handle whatever life throws at me. Oh my goodness, how completely wrong is that? I am constantly having to ask forgiveness for my stubborn heart. God has so greatly blessed me with people to walk along this journey of life with...I don't have to handle problems on my own. And while I struggle to understand the why and how people people care about me, God knows their hearts as He does mine. I believe He has placed people in my life intentionally to help me break out of the bondage these habits have held on my heart and mind.
It is no easy task to change the way I have thought for years. I am having to be constantly reminded of what is real and what is now versus what was in the past. Anytime change happens, good or bad, it is extremely difficult. At the same time, it is purifying. God does not want me to stay complacent, to get stuck in a negative behavior and stay with it because it's "safe" for me. God wants to shape me and mold me through the changes. He's taking away the old self and equipping me with a new self...and if I follow His lead, I will be more like Jesus and less like Amber. Wow! He loves me that much. He loves you that much. So, take an inventory of the habits in your life. Don't try to justify why you have them (believe me, I spend a LOT of time doing that). Let go of those bad habits...give them to the Lord. Take on some new habits. Find an accountability partner, someone you can pray with. Get involved in a local congregation. Spend time in worship and reflection. Be honest about your struggles and get some help for them.
(We all have hurts and habits...if you need help with yours, see a counselor, or find a church that has Celebrate Recovery! It's an awesome program to help anyone with hurts, habits, and hang ups!!! http://www.celebraterecovery.com/)