Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Fall and the holidays left me spent. I’m still digging out from an avalanche of unforeseen, unexpected and mostly unwanted. But I’m finding joy in it all while also realizing I’ve picked up a few bad habits along the way. Eliminating what isn’t working is the first step on the bridge to being Holy like God and following His footprints. I discussed my Don’t habits a few weeks back. Revising or replacing bad with new Do habits is next.
We can’t change behaviors without evaluating what isn’t working. To create new Do habits in the habit loop, the same reward and trigger can exist. It’s just about changing the routine.
I’ve initiated new and resurrected some previous habits which got lost the last few months. My Do Habits aren’t huge revelations. But possessing healthy habits reduces stress and eases memory because organizational systems are in place. This is paramount when the busyness or uncertainty of life threatens to steal my joy.
My Do Habits:
- Put God first! When I seek Him on what to do in the Bible, prayer, and worship, I learn His will for me. I begin to fully understand what to let go of, adapt or change by connecting with my Creator, Sustainer & Savior. This is my most pivotal, life-changing habit! I make the time and when fully present with Him, I always learn, am refreshed and at peace.
- Chip away at big projects. This applies to anything from cleaning closets to a large project or life event. Breaking things down into manageable tasks makes even a huge mountain seem scaleable. I’m currently applying this to dinner planning, work and family projects, laundry, writing and cleaning the pantry!
- Do little things right away if possible. These are all the things that add up to become an avalanche of put-offs and potential missed opportunities: permission slips, paying bills, sorting mail or replying to a text or email. However, I’m careful not to get sucked into spending too much time here. Five minutes or less is fine, anything more needs to be written down with a due date on one to-do list.
- Unitask! Too much multitasking is a chronic issue for me, my clients and friends. It’s a literal struggle multiple times a day. But I truly try to do as few things as possible at any given time. The end result is a more efficient, effective and engaged me.
- Delegate, defer or delete. We don’t have to do it all! What can get put off, given away, or deleted from our calendars or lists entirely? When still responsible for something but delegating it to another, make sure to communicate well to ensure it gets done properly.
- Prioritize Self Care. Adequate quality sleep, exercise & healthy eating are always the first to go when stressed. If ignored, these can create even bigger problems when we try to function from a sleep deprived, hangry or unhealthy state of mind.
- Daily and Sabbath Rest. Rest is different than sleep and when I do this varies by season and is still a work in progress. But it’s important and I try to protect it otherwise work, housework and unimportant time wasters invade this precious time. Being fully present and engaged with those I want to be with, including connecting on a deeper level with God each weekend is my new favorite habit! (This includes my Social Media Sabbath!)
Replacing the Don’ts with these Do’s has been helpful as I seek to follow the example of Christ daily. Building a foundation where God’s plan is greater than mine is always going to be an ongoing project. But these habits are a beneficial step toward living my life following His footprints.
I reminded a client recently to see problems as challenges to solve rather than insurmountable obstacles. As I was talking, it was though God was speaking directly to me with my own words! My Do habits will help me to see problems as challenges as I seek to live a life built on Him. I love how the apostle Paul puts it:
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)
A life overflowing with thankfulness-sounds like joy to me.