Sometimes we trade one issue, temptation, weakness, bad habit for another. Many times, we don’t just trade, we braid one into the other.
In order to leave one behind, we need to untwist it. We need to get to the core of the path it takes through our lives, the meaning we’ve given it, the way we lean into it. We need to see patterns and emotions of comfort, hurt, bitterness, or grief we infuse into it. We need to be intentional as we move forward. We rarely step into a new routine, especially a healthier one, without much effort. I’m not just referring to the obvious habits and routines we think of—eating, drinking, exercise.
What about the spiritual habits? When we consider negative spiritual habits, it is usually in the context of the lack of positive spiritual habits. We strive for healthy prayer lives, regular reading and studying of Scripture, gathering with others, worshipping in our everyday lives. The negative? When we don’t do those things as much as we think we should. But there are reasons that hold us back from healthy spiritual habits. Sometimes it’s the patterns of emotions, such as, hurt, bitterness, insecurities, grief—something that we let get in the way. That’s okay for a brief season; some things in life make it difficult to focus, yet we still learn through those times as well if we’re leaning toward the next step toward healthy habits. Other times, we choose other things—some good and some not-so-good—and push some of those healthy habits away. Sometimes we feel weird doing them. They’re uncomfortable, either because we’ve never dug in deep enough or long enough to see how such habits impact us or because we have thought it looked weird when others did it, and we don’t want to be weird.
I don’t know where you are right now, but I know this: the next choices—big and small—you make are important. The direction you’re heading is important. What you’re leaving behind and why is important. Your motivations and perspectives are important. Your degree of willingness to grow is important, including setting aside what you think that growth process is going to look like and yielding to the prospective of what God can creatively purpose it to look like.
He knows which issues, temptations, weaknesses, and bad habits we have. He knows the timing on growing through them. He knows our potential. And he knows how to provide. Now, we simply have to trust him.