So you’re doing your foundational habits…now what?

This is part 5 in a series on foundational habits. Previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

So now you’re in the flow of doing your foundational habits regularly and tracking your progress. But what does it all mean for your relationship with God?

Let’s imagine a scenario: you’re doing very well with your habits. You’re doing them 95% of the time. How do you relate to God in this?

Possible dynamics at play:

  1. You’re grateful to God for helping you order your life well. You’re experiencing significant growth because of the habits you’re practicing. Your conversations with God are more engaging because your soul is more open to Him.
  2. You’re tempted to think that you’re creating the growth all by yourself. Or you’re actually thinking that way. That’s how a lot of the literature on habits and productivity reads. If you do these things, you will become a better person. And you know what? People can actually put on new habits, even to the point of doing them without needing to think about it. But habits alone can’t connect you to God. In fact, doing these habits apart from God may only lead you farther away from Him because you’re thinking that you’re making change happen and that you’ll please Him with your growth. Not that He isn’t delighted in you. But the reality is that nothing you can do will change the amount of love and acceptance He shows you in Christ. In Galatians 3, Paul admonishes the Galatian church for being saved through grace but then thinking that they could proceed there on the basis of their own works. No, no, no…it’s grace all the way through.

Now let’s imagine the opposite scenario: you’re not doing well with your habits. You’re only completing them 15% of the time. Now how does your soul respond?

  1. You’re saying to yourself that you’ll just try harder. That’s the temptation of moralism, thinking that you can change yourself by your own efforts. Worse is when you think that God won’t love or accept you unless you change yourself first. No! God has already loved you. Be yourself with Him.
  2. You’re tempted to despair of ever changing and you think about giving up. However, the truth is that God does not give up on you. Let Him show you how He’s changed you and how He wants to change you.
  3. You’re envious of others doing well with their habits and lives. Again, go to God and let Him meet you in the reality of your life, not in the fantasy of the well-oiled-machine version of you.
  4. You’re confused about whether you’re doing the right things. Maybe you’re thinking of switching habits. Before you switch, talk with God about your process of coming up with them in the first place. There’s no need to change your mind when things get rough. Talk with God instead about your original decisions, and the two of you decide from there what you’ll do.

There’s obviously much more that could be said about each scenario, but the point is to remind you that that habits are not ends in themselves. You’re doing them to connect with God and with how He has made you in Christ. So even as you’re doing your habits, your focus should not be on the habits themselves, but how they’re helping facilitate your relationship with God.

Question: How do you experience God as you practice your foundational habits?

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