“Your character is the harvest of your habits.” Adrian Rogers
What kind of habits do you have? Someone with habits rooted in addiction might be labeled an “addict”, but it’s actually deeper than that. An addict’s character is marked by a lack of self control. Do you have a habit of showing up to work late? If someone is consistently late, this reveals a character flaw or flaws within that person—a lack of consideration for others, a lack of discipline, or even a lack of respect for authority. Maybe your habits are good— you take good care of your hygiene, and you keep your home clean. This would entail you have self respect, to a degree at least.
The best thing anyone can do for themself as a Christian is to make a daily habit of being in the presence of God. Pray every single day, even if only for two minutes. Two minutes a day is better than twenty minutes once a week! Try to make it a habit to open your Bible everyday. I know it can be overwhelming, but even a chapter or a page a day is still meaningful! Find a church you can stand in agreement with, and pour into it. Attend regularly. Godly character is a harvest of good, Godly habits. Imagine if you turned off your car radio for two minutes a day on your way to work and two minutes on your way home. That’s four minutes a day of time reserved just for you and the Lord. It may not sound like much, but it’s the consistency that’s the key.
When I wake up in the morning, before I love on Sassy, before I touch my phone, before I even open my eyes; I pray. This is a habit I’ve practiced for years, a habit firmly rooted in time. It’s a part of me at this point. This habit signifies that God comes first.
The thing about good habits is they don’t always feel good. Think of your good habits like a relationship, a commitment of a sort. Feelings come, and they go; but choosing to show up for yourself, your partner, your friend, or God, is love. Good habits are a product of love—whether it be love for yourself or someone else. Take note of the things you know are good but don’t feel good. These are the things that hold the most potential to contribute to your spiritual growth. “Die to the flesh” is what the Bible tells us to do. So, what does that mean exactly? Master self control. Don’t be a slave to your feelings. Be led by what you know is good as opposed to what feels good. Romans 5:3-4 reads— We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.
Sometimes, habits do feel good. Honor those habits, too! Self care habits are a great way to show yourself love. I love to go on nature walks, explore, and find quiet, beautiful places that inspire me. I’ll find a spot and stay there for hours—reading, praying, writing. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a day. Last weekend, I sat down on a log and opened up the book my small group at church is reading. I underlined a quote that caught my eye.
“Habits, like trees, are strengthened by age. A boy may bend an oak when it is a sapling—a hundred men cannot root it up when it is a full-grown tree.” J.C Ryle
Going to church a handful of times a year, sitting down with your Bible for a couple of hours when the mood strikes, praying every once in a while when you are feeling low and need to vent—this isn’t enough. It’s not rooted in consistency. If you don’t have roots, then the wind—the heartbreak, the loss, the crisis that strikes— can really shake you. It can even bend you so far that you break and go into depression, addiction, or in some cases, even suicide.
I felt the log beneath me. The log that had once been an upright tree had fallen over—either due to strong winds, soggy soil, a compromised root system, or maybe even a combination of those things. If you are not firmly planted in time—in your habits—then your roots will remain weak and fragile. Self care habits are great; feel-good habits are great. However, they should be thought of like rain. It helps things grow, but too much rain will make the ground soggy. We must balance out the rain with sunlight. Think of your not so feel-good habits as sunlight. You need the proper balance of the two. If you only toil, you’ll dry out and eventually die. If you only do what feels good, you’ll become soggy, mushy. You need a proper balance of work and play, logic and feeling, sunlight and rain, in order to grow.
That particular quote really spoke to me. It made me grateful for my good habits, but it also inspired me to be even better. I long to be that little old woman with an old, worn Bible, a Bible that’s been used consistently all her life. I want to be someone that takes pride in my work—as a nurse, I want to have a “signature”, a unique touch to the work I do and the way I care for my patients. If the Lord makes me a wife, I want to be so rooted in consistency that I become a safe place for my husband. I want to be a wife with my own interests, hobbies, and passions that I pour into consistently, that I had poured into consistently long before he ever came along, and that I can retreat to when he needs his space and I need my space.
A wise person once said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become your actions. Watch your actions, for they become your habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Where are your habits leading you?