Bad Habits never Die!
It is so weird to think that all the good habits take so long to acquire but then can be forgotten so quickly! I have often quoted the statistic that it takes 21 days to make a new habit and then 6 weeks to solidify that into routine. And yet, if I miss one day on a diet, it seems to take forever to get back on track. When the kids were little their preschool teacher asked for juice can lids and Campbell soup labels so I started collecting them for her, and it took many years to break that habit and start throwing them out! At the same time, I followed habits and routines around the lives of my kids’ schedules and now I can barely even remember what those routines included! Why is it that some habits are so hard to break and others that have been repeated so faithfully for years just stop without a second thought?! It is interesting to consider how life shifts and memories ebb and flow.
I can remember the discipline of practicing the clarinet or of learning passages of Scripture by heart; things I highly valued and knew so well, but have seemingly been shoved to the attic of my mind. Practice makes progress People take that kind of time for granted. “They” say that habits are like riding a bike; once you learn how, you don’t forget. That is also true of knowing how to do lots of things, without thinking about them, like swimming or driving a stick shift car. It might be rusty at first but eventually it comes back and you get the hang of it again and it becomes automatic….so that the mind is free to think and plan and solve problems.
I have several habits that I wish I didn’t have and some of those I even tried to break. I know there are studies out there that have discovered that once something has been a habit, it cannot be unlearned! That is a bit of a monkey wrench with bad habits like over-eating, not biting my tongue, and procrastinating. But, in spite of that depressing fact, they can be ignored and new ones can override them. It is just work to avoid giving in to instant gratification and to overcome being a creature of habit!
Paul talked about it in Romans 6 and 7 when he said he does what he does not want to do and forgets to do the good thing he wants. I guess I am in like company and the good news is that Jesus came to defeat that old nature and make all things new. Yes!