Habits are part of life. We are creatures of habit. We do not have to rely solely on good judgement and decision making in each situation. We can train ourselves to habitually do the right thing.
If I have not been walking for a while and then proceed to do a 20 kilometre walk, I am very likely to be quite sore afterwards. This applies to any physical exercise. We develop muscles and other bodily assets that help us do the exercises with maximum benefit.
This also applies to choices we make about our values. If our intention is to live an integral way of life, to do the right things, we are developing a life of virtue. Virtue is the practise of doing good, living ‘good’.
Sometimes we tend to focus on our bad habits. It is also good to name our good habits. It is good to name some of my good habits every day, and to reinforce them as well as to celebrate them.
I am still the same person now that someone once held as a baby and loved. I am still the person who had someone say to them that they are loved. Irrespective of past mistakes, there is goodness in me that I need to celebrate. This does not mean that we deny our past (or present) mistakes.
It does mean that we make choices to name our good habits and reinforce them and stay committed to develop more of them in our lives. If I choose to be polite, to be respectful, to be empathetic, etc., and I keep reinforcing these good qualities, I am more likely to still react this way when my life is under pressure than otherwise.
There is need for some discipline in the way we respond to life, and act in life. Developing a habit of making good choices and not just reacting to circumstances in life with what is most expedient and easy, leads us to a more wholesome way of living.
Reminding ourselves of God’s constant loving presence. Remembering that we matter absolutely to God, helps us to stay committed to living a life of virtue and keep renewing this commitment.
Prayer, reading the scripture, spending quiet times with God all help us to focus on the positives in our lives (without denying the negatives).
Just like we need physical exercise to stay healthy, we also need spiritual exercises to stay connected with the One who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; namely Jesus Christ our brother and our God.
God Bless you today.
Bishop of Darwin