We each have them. Most of us have a whole list: The things in our lives that we want to change.
But most of them aren’t that big of a deal. They’re little things like biting our finger nails, spending too much time on facebook, or complaining too much about work.
These things are annoying and, sure, we’d like to change them, but we can live with them. They’re manageable so we go along on our merry way and try to focus on the big issues.
The only problem is, big issues are made up of little issues.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.”
Don’t believe him? Here’s some food for thought: If you fold a piece of tissue paper in half 25 times, it will be almost as tall as the Empire State Building. If you fold it in half 45 times, you can reach from the earth to the moon. 46 times and you’re back to the earth again. If you were to fold it just 103 times, it will be thicker than the observable universe, 93 billion light years.
That blew my mind. I used to think the little habits in my life, my ‘quirks’ and ‘isms,’ weren’t that big a deal. Sure, I have room to grow, but how much damage could the little things really do?
Then I listened to this sermon series.
The message is about habits; the good, the bad, and the ugly. The pastor emphasizes the importance of living purposefully, and realizing that it’s the little decisions we make every day, consciously or otherwise, that will direct the course of our lives.
Well, twenty minutes in, I was ready to put out the ‘Caution: Under Conviction’ sign.
But I’ve tried to change before and it’s never worked. Why would this time be any different? Why should I even bother? Isn’t it too late for me to change?
Well, the best time to plant a tree was 20yrs ago. The second best time is now.
Sure I wish I had conquered bad habits and developed good habits ten years ago. But do I really want to have that same regret ten years from now? If I’m going to be 37yrs old regardless, wouldn’t I rather be a 37yr old who’s fluent in ASL, even if it’s too late to be fluent at 27?
And if I don’t change, how bad will these little ‘Leah quirks’ be in ten years?
In the first sermon of the aforementioned series, the pastor recommends writing a list of your good habits, your bad ones, and the ones you want to cultivate. So I did. Let me tell you, the first column was a short one and the second was far too long. So I chose to focus on the third column, the list of habits I want to cultivate.
I chose four items on which to focus:
Spending time in the Bible before I check my computer (so I can better focus on the Lord before I get distracted with the goings-on of the world)
Kneeling to give thanks three times a day (to adopt a posture of purposeful prayer, like Daniel did, and cultivate an attitude of gratitude)
Learning ASL (don’t ask me why, I don’t know yet. I’ve just always wanted to)
Stopping my snacking every night by 7pm (because I keep hearing it’s healthy to do so and helps you lose weight)
With these desired habits before me, I did what any good ex-nanny would do and I made myself a chore chart. I have a points system in place to track my progress and rewards that will keep me motivated and focused. Here I am four weeks later and I love it!
The difference of living intentionally in these smaller areas has already bled over into other areas of my life. I’ve been praying more, I’ve been happier and felt more peace, I’ve been working out regularly, I’ve been more focused on my writing…etc. It’s brought a real sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Now I know the danger here is straying into work-based religion and turning time with the Lord into an item on the to-do list. But honestly, I firmly believe that the peace and satisfaction I’ve been experiencing is from the knowledge that I’m obeying God.
The enemy wants me to be lazy, to give up, to wallow in complacency… he doesn’t want me to cultivate Godly habits.
But the Lord has cautioned me to redeem the time for the days are evil. He has called me to live a Godly life and I want to make honoring Him habitual. I want to make a habit out of righteousness.
So, why don’t you join me? I highly recommend you watch the sermon series (I’m not being paid or even asked to endorse it; I was honestly blessed by it and want to pass that blessing along). Write out your own list of habits and, with the Lord’s help, start living on purpose.