Ah, I love the freshness of a new month.
Last month was a fast from social media. This month is a fast from our stuff. We plan to purge everything we don’t need…and more. Get rid of stuff until it hurts. As far as what that actually will look like, I’m not sure. But check back this month and I’m sure you will find out.
The fast for March was especially difficult for me. Not only did we abstain from watching TV shows and other media, but we also abstained completely from social media (except for email). I’m a social butterfly, and I’m just now realizing how hard that was for me, especially on the nights when Theo was gone.
However, it gave me a lot more time to think and reflect on my habits- both good and bad….but mostly the bad ones.
Like reaching for my phone first thing in the morning to check facebook and instagram
Or browsing endless blogs or pinterest (one click leads to another leads to another) instead of doing the dishes or helping Theo get ready for work in the morning
Or watching TV shows with Theo every night in our bed…with our dinner on our laps, instead of eating at the table, having devotions and THEN (if time allows) watching a show togeter
Or only brushing my teeth once a day
Or putting off feeding the chickens just because I don’t really feel like going out to the chicken coop in 20 degree weather.
Or (this is Theo’s personal favorite) having PILES of clothing on the floor by my bed, because the clothing is not dirty, but I’m too lazy to fold it up back up and put it in the drawer/on the hanger.
I’m not the only one, right?
A lot of those habits I purged during my media fast. When I got rid of media, it opened up so many hours in my day. I did not reach for my phone first thing in the morning. And I seemed to have endless hours to clean up those piles of clothes, eat dinner at the table, feed the chickens and even brush my teeth!
Scripture often talks of putting off the old things/the things of sinful nature. But just as often as it calls us to put off the old things, it tells us what to replace those things with. (Eph 4:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 5:19-23). This is a guide for our spiritual life, but I also think that it can be a guide for our personal lives, even in something as trivial as brushing our teeth!
Instead of just trying to stop using social media, I am slowly breaking the habit by replacing it with better habits. I leave my phone in the other room, so that its not the first thing I reach for every morning. I am establishing a routine in which all of my chores (feeding the chickens, house cleaning, dishes, etc) are done before I can even browse social media.
But two of my favorite habits have been Scripture memorization and eating dinner at the table.
Back when I attended Sahel, scripture memorization was a required grade. At the time, I didn’t hate it- but I didn’t memorize to write His words on my heart. I memorized to get a good grade. I remember all of us carrying around our dog-eared memory verse pages, spilling ketchup and soda and other types of food grease on it, leaving sweat smudges stained across it. We would memorize at the pool, in a taxi on the way to hang out with each other, with our parents, with each other, writing it out, saying it out loud and finally writing it down or saying it orally for a grade. Now that I look back, I’m so glad I had to do that.
I fell out of the habit as soon as I graduated high school. I tried a couple times to get back into it, but I could never quite find the motivation to find the verses, write them out, and memorize them. Plus, I had no one to test me, so I always slacked.
This year has been different. I started out the year committing to memorize the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Every Monday, I write out 2-4 verses, and then every day after that I say those verses out loud, along with all the other previous verses. So, it takes longer and longer every week, but it’s so worth it. Every couple of weeks I will hand the card ring over to Theo and have him quiz me.
Let me tell you…Scripture memorization makes me feel powerful. I feel armed and ready. I feel committed. I feel the presence of the Lord when I have decided to make the effort to hide His Word in my heart.
How do you memorize Scripture?
When we quit media, we had nowhere to eat dinner but at the table. I found myself making meals that included more food groups than I did before. Before, we only wanted to deal with balancing one bowl/plate on our laps, and therefore I often skipped a veggie or a side. However, eating dinner at the table has meant that Theo and I get to talk about our days, we get to eat more slowly, enjoy the food more and actually remember to do our devotions after dinner.
I’ve talked to other families, and they have said that when kids comes, eating at the table is a much easier habit to get into, but it’s something that I really enjoy and want to continue to do with Theo, even now that we are not on a media fast.
Are we perfect in our habits? Um…no. I’m pretty sure there is currently a pile of clothes by my bed (and my parents are chuckling because I’ve done that since I was old enough to dress myself), and I most certainly did not brush my teeth this morning…
But I’m working on it. One day at a time. One week at a time. One month at a time. One year at a time. Out with the old, in with the new.
So, what about you? Do you have any bad habits that you want to get rid of? Or any good habits that you want to share? How do you establish good habits in your families?