It’s been said that everybody has two lives here on Earth and that the second one starts when we realize we only have one.
Until we come to that full realization, we are careless or carefree.
It’s only when something major happens do we come to see that we’ve been living our lives all wrong. And that “something major” is usually very hard to live through.
But if we go through the pain, we find ourselves coming out the other side of it, better than we were before.
Last Christmas was especially tough for a friend of mine. Though I don’t know him very well, I know him to be an upstanding guy for the most part, and he’s been a wonderful mentor to my nephew this past year.
Well, one week before Christmas, when he came home from work, he discovered that his wife had moved out and taken the children with her. She moved across the country and already had a house to move into. This day had apparently been a long time coming.
I don’t know the details. I don’t know how much of the blame lies on either of them. But I do know that in the minutes it took for him to walk through his front door and discover he was now alone, he crossed the threshold into his new life.
You see, that’s the hardest part of the process. Almost everyone who crosses that threshold does it through heartbreak. A broken marriage, a death of someone close, a realization that you’ve wasted your life, seeing yourself for what you’ve let yourself become. Some happen TO us, some happen BECAUSE of us, but all feel like they will DESTROY us.
Mine came with an escort to a police station and the realization that my selfish actions was about to put everything I loved at risk.
Yesterday was New Year’s Day, the day when a countless number of people start their resolutions to become better people, to get into shape, to read the Bible every day, to finally talk to that girl they have a crush on, to start living their lives right.
Unfortunately, that’s how they see it: A total, immediate life change.
Instead of easing into things, slowly changing their bad habits, they go full force. They go to the gym every day for two hours, they read the Bible every morning and then do a devotional at lunch and at night, they… you get it. They overcompensate and set themselves at a pace that they will never be able to keep.
That’s why nearly half of New Year’s Resolutions are given up on within the first two weeks of January every year! And nearly ALL are given up on by the end of February.
The same thing applies to those moments in life when we find ourselves at rock bottom. We have the choice to start to change or to just sit there, but if we choose to change, we run the same risks if we try to force it too fast as we do not changing at all.
If you’ve hit the point in your life when you know you need to change something about yourself, and you desire to do something about it, remember that it’s a process, not a light switch. It’s going to take time to change your routines and your old way of thinking.
One Day at a Time
The person you are right now took a long time to become that person. There were a lot of steps, a lot of decisions, a lot of influences, both good and bad, that ultimately made you the person you are today. And it’s taken your entire life to get here.
So, why do you think you can just wake up one morning and be a completely different person?
It took me almost 4 solid years to remove ONE SINGLE bad habit of mine, with so many relapses and mistakes along the way. Why? Because the habit was only a symptom of a greater problem in my life.
It took examination of every aspect of my life (my faith, my relationships, my anger, my mistakes, my willpower, my desires, etc.) before I finally understood myself and my journey well enough to make any real, lasting changes to it.
And now, as I tackle a different bad habit, overeating, I find that I have to start all over, attacking it through a brand new journey of self-discovery. I’ve been earnestly trying to beat this thing for a year now and the only thing I’ve managed to accomplish is to not get any fatter.
But now that I’ve been working on it from all angles, I’m starting to see results. I’m starting to notice how my thinking is changing. I’m starting to automatically make smarter food decisions even when I’m not thinking about it. They just took time to develop. Time, patience, and perseverance.
You want lasting change? Fight for it. As time passes, your deliberate effort to fight your bad habits will become new better habits, and thus, the norm. Before you even realize it, you are more the person you want to be than ever and your new life will have already begun.
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)
Uplifting Devotionals for Christians Overcoming Habits, Hang-Ups, & Hurts