Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tracks and Habits

image from here

The picture is the story. Sheep running along worn paths. Wending through grass, flattened under their feet. My shoes tread the grass down, too. Following daily planted footsteps, crossing the road at just that odd angle. The angle I walked yesterday. Do you step in the worn patches of dirt? Or let the smoothed, worn stone cradle your feet?

Habits form us. Form me. We construct our lives in repetitive, well-worn blocks. Follow grooved, gouged tracks.

It's tempting to concentrate on the bad habits. The paths we trip thoughtlessly along, forgetting their destination. Trapped on exit-less freeways, addictions, weaknesses, sins overwhelm us. "I can't stop." "I didn't want to end up here..."

But every maze has a way out. Don't forget we are the ones who've made the paths, and they can be changed. The first time you deviate is exhausting, time-consuming and messy. The old path calls you insistently back. It resists an overgrown, unused future. The whispered, lingering reminders in your ears are final pleas for existence. But deviating for the first time is exhilarating. Making a new, better, wise path brings possibility and hope.

Habits can also breathe life. Good ones open our existence so that grace can get in. I wish I could find the list of helpful habits I read last week, because it illustrates the sensible simplicity of good habits. The ones that have stuck are - getting 8 hours sleep a night, sitting down to eat breakfast. Alas, google cannot find the rest tonight :)

A wise life is one with well-crafted habits. A network of paths that lead to healthy destinations. Paths painstakingly carved and carefully re-routed when necessary. I long for a life like that.

What about you?

Here is a trustworthy saying...
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Proverbs 4:26

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