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The power of habits

Have you ever had the experience where you jump in the car to go to the shops and then you find yourself automatically turning to go to work/school rather than the shops?  That automatic pilot experience is the power of habits.  Habits form when you do things over and over again enough times that you don't have to consciously choose to do them, they become part of who you are. 

Habits are vital otherwise we would quickly exhaust ourselves every day by all the deliberate decisions we would have to make and all the self control we would have to exert.  At some point all of us experience decision fatigue!

Much of the rhythms of our weeks are habitual:
  • we wake up and have breakfast, pause in the middle of the day for lunch, and have dinner in the early evening
  • we watch certain tv shows at certain times
  • we turn on the radio to listen to the football/focus on the family/ .... 
  • we arrive at the office and go straight to the coffee machine
  • ......
You could even say we do some of these things 'religiously'!

So how are you harnessing the power of habits as a follow of Jesus?

What things have you chosen to do so regularly that they become an automatic part of who you are and don't require additional decisions?
  • gathering weekly with other Christians to worship
  • working on your discipleship
  • praying at different times through the day
  • giving to various organisations
  • praying a blessing on the driver of each car that cuts in front of you
We all have habits that either nurture or undermine our walk with Jesus - habits are not optional.  However we do have a choice about the habits we will form.

I encourage you to prayerfully think about one new habit that you would like to form that will be beneficial for your walk with Jesus.  Then think about what you are going to use to remind you to do it until it becomes automatic - a reminder on your phone/computer, a sign on the back of the toilet door, an alarm clock setting, getting a friend to remind you ...

David Wanstall, 04/05/2010