There was a time I was loaded down by habits that were destructive for me, but at the time I didn’t really see it that way. I smoked, drank too much, shunned responsibility, and focused way too much on the opposite sex. I liked doing all those things a lot. Instead of seeking my own identity and unique purpose, I allowed myself to be shaped by what I saw around me. I was imitating the world instead of carving out where I belonged within it. Then I became a husband, and even more significant, a dad. I realized I wanted my daughter and wife to have a daddy and husband they could look on with pride. The problem was I had no idea how I was going to accomplish that. Then I discovered the secret hidden from me in the haze of habits which is that faith and prayer are powerful tools of renewal. They led me to examine my life thoughtfully with a vision I’d never possessed before.
I set out on a new path that fostered good things in my life. A path not darkened by the temptation of destructive habits, but instead, offering the opportunity to grow into true purpose. What did renewal by faith look like for me? Here’s a closer look at my path to break bad habits.
A Brand New Path
I had no strength to defeat the habits that were wrecking my life piece by piece. I needed a new environment paired with better teaching. So, I began to pray -sincerely, openly, tearfully-pray. What this did was lead me down a brand new path. One where faith injected me with new teaching and hope became possible. I began to see that the habits were symptoms of the life I had chosen to live. By choosing to live as my creator desired, I now had the power to overcome the chains that had shackled me. I felt joy for the first time since I was a small child. The habits were poor attempts to find the peace that I was truly seeking.
The Quitting Process
With bad habits that aren’t necessarily addictions, what we are quitting is a deeply ingrained lifestyle.Quitting is messy, painful, and revealing. With bad habits that aren’t necessarily addictions, what we are quitting is a deeply ingrained lifestyle. My smoking was an addiction that had real health effects that were progressively worsening. But the other things were byproducts of the lifestyle that had to be shunned and replaced. That is an endeavor that requires removal from people and places that may hold special places in our heart, both good and bad. It can be painful and messy, but it’s also liberating. Good begins to pour into space once occupied by negative and that’s when healing takes place.
Transformation – New Beginning
I’ve changed so much that many people that knew me before are taken aback. The consequences of the habits linger, like having lungs that won’t fully cooperate with the things my mind wants to do. But the feelings of shame for the many occasions I let others down, or the depression that comes along with living an ill-advised lifestyle have vanished. I walk renewed now and this path brings me purpose, joy, and continued growth. Whereas previously I was existing selfishly for my own pleasures, I am now transformed into a person with a deep passion for leading those I love honorably and selflessly. Life is rich and full now. Difficult, but in the best kind of way. That is the reward and the secret to breaking bad habits. I choose to live for someone else rather than remaining selfish.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What bad habits do I have that you need me to change?”