All of us have to deal with bad habits. Sometimes they are bad things we do habitually that we need to STOP doing, or they are good things we need to START doing but are neglecting.
The first step to ending a bad habit, or birthing a good habit, is to imagine! Imagine yourself NO LONGER stuck in your bad habit. Imagine yourself with new healthy habits as part of your life. In the fourth sermon of the CLC UN-STUCK series, we referred to this imagining as having a “vision” for who you can become as you apply yourself with God’s help.
After imagination comes awareness. In order to get un-stuck from a bad habit, you have to be aware that your habit is the “tip of the iceberg.” It may be a life-ruining habit like substance abuse, pornography, anger-addiction, or self-harm (e.g. cutting, eating disorders). There are also “life-annoying” habits like biting your nails, yelling at your kids and habits of neglect like not having a daily prayer/quiet time, not exercising, you name it.
During the sermon, we unpacked at least four underlying causes that contribute to bad habits:
- Emotional (I do this in reaction to difficult emotions…when I feel depressed, rejected, insecure, etc)
- Relational (I do this in response to relational dysfunction, or with certain people)
- Generational (I do this because it was “passed on” to me from my parents, grandparents, or some other extended-family relative)
- Spiritual (I do this because of spiritual “roots” that allow it to become a “stronghold” in my life)
Understanding the causes or “deep roots” of your habits makes it clear you need more than just some “willpower.” You need to combat it with prayer, fasting, Bible reading, and sharing your need with a trusted friend. The Un-Stuck book also provides additional insights into overcoming bad habits. You can pick a copy from the publisher (CreateSpace).
P.S. Looking for a good habit to START? Come check out the CLC Un-Stuck Roundtables on Wednesdays at 7:00pm in the West Auditorium of CLC.