it’s hard forming new habits
I married a flosser.
Actually, until we were married I didn’t even know that flossers were real people. I had seen them on TV, but never in real life. So, I watched in admiration as my man faithfully and diligently flossed his teeth.
Over the next several years I aspired to floss too. I would try for a while, never really succeeding. My dentist would plead with me to floss, “Even if it’s just a couple of times a week, even once a week, that would be great.”
The thing that I’ve noticed with forming new habits though is that you just can’t do it unless you believe in it and you stick at it every day.
I would start really well. “Floss every Tuesday and Saturday,” I would say. It would happen for a few weeks and then on Tuesday I would forget and figure I could do it on Wednesday, on Wednesday I would think that Thursday looked good, and then maybe Friday and the next thing I knew it was Saturday again, so maybe Sunday…
So I’ve had years of on again, off again flossing. That is, until August 2013.
I finally decided that I really had to beat this. I needed to put effort into forming this new habit. It’s not that it was a hard habit to do – it probably only takes 1 minute . Maybe that’s why I couldn’t really stick at it, because it was so small and I didn’t actually believe it really mattered?
However, four children in quick succession took its toll on my teeth and the need to take care for them as best as I can is becoming more evident. I needed to form this habit.
I started thinking properly about new habits and noticed the only way they succeed is when you do them every time, no exceptions. If you want to stop slouching, you sit straight every time you realise you’re slouching. If you want to read the bible more, you have to start by doing it every day, every day. If you want to eat breakfast, you do it every day whether you feel like it or not.
So, for the last 365 days I have flossed 360 of them! I didn’t make every single night, but I strove to get all of them. The thing is, I honestly thought that by now the new habit would have formed. 360 days of flossing out of the last 365 is a lot of flossing, but I still have to make a choice every night and last night was one of those 5 days I missed.
You might laugh about my semi ridiculous flossing story, but God has been teaching me so very much about being deliberate in the choices we make. It’s easy to just do whatever. It’s not easy to be deliberate. As Christians though we have to make conscious choices not to live the way the world does and to just take the easy route. Instead we are made to glorify God.
Every night now, while I make the choice to floss I am reminded to make other choices in my life, choices that honour the Lord of my heart. I spend that minute thinking about other ways I need to honour Him. What new habits or new choices do you need to be deliberate about?
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 (MSG)