Friday, September 18, 2009

The Slavery of Ingrained Habits

I am always amazed when I go back to unproductive and unfulfilling living.  I have a tendency to put things off, and I know that only makes life difficult.  But I go back.  I get depressed when I feel like I have put the last ounce of my energy into something, and people act as though that is the least I can do.  But I go back.  I get frustrated with my son, start the fight, and regret the cost.  But I go back.

Ingrained habits are hard to deal with and rarely effectively dealt with by our will.  I have counselled so many people who have "decided" to stop this or that only to find themselves doing this or that within the next few hours.  I have also failed with my heartfelt decisions more times than I can count.

I believe in transformational moments.  Critical moments (good and bad) when the timing is just right for us to make caterpillar-like transformations.  I am experiencing one in my personal life.  Paula and I are discovering a new way to live with and love each other.  The old ways seem so close and familiar and new ways still awkward and unsure, but I know that we have faced our transforming moment and have headed off into the wonderous unknown.  In one blinding moment of clarity, I received words of life my wife had for me.  The transformational moment was there, and I was recepitve.  We were receptive.

I have "short circuited" so many transformative moments in my life.  I have tried too hard or too little.  I have considered the "aha" moment the climax.  I have traded in intimacy with God for service to His church.  I have "gotten the point" of the moment to only miss "the" point.  I have counted my chickens long before they were hatched.

There is a receptivity necessary for transformation.  The old stuff will continue to come out unless we fill our void with that which can be received from God.  As Jesus warned about the number of demons that can come into the exorcized life, we must allow God to fill our receptive hearts in that critical moment.

I cannot help but live out my ingrained habits, but a transformed me doesn't have to.  A new me does not have to live like the old me.  Newness--what a grand thought.  I can be new.  I haven't felt like that in a long time. 

"Walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4)  I think I'm going to go for a walk.

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