Friday, December 30, 2011

On New Habits

I don't know much about good-old-healthy habits.

Nights on the farm go something like this... Kids in bed at 7. Mama and Papa purpose to love, purpose to pray with one another. HGTV comes on around 7:35. The Cowboy is snoring on the couch by 7:43. Mama sneaks out from underneath the Cowboy's head that was resting (snoring) on her lap and the night has just begun.

For the Cowboy and I,  it's the perfect scenario. I LOVE the time He gives me at night. I love hot tea and the blankets piled high over my lap in our giant bed situated just right in the comfort of our safe-haven. And most of all, I absolutely love to read in the quiet... nights by the lamplight... now that's a habit that comes easy for me. But most other habits are not nearly as easily accomplished.

What I know about habits is that they might come slow.

What I know about habits is that the ones done in my own strength flounder and flop.

What I know about habits is that really they're one more way to really step into His presence, one more way to learn to trust in His strength, one more reason to bask in His grace.

This past year He's been growing us up a bit around here. We've gotten in the habit of starting our day in the Word both memorizing and reading, the treasures and I. Some days, it feels as if we're doing it out of obligation, but so many more days it has grounded us in hope that, with His help, we really can learn to live in gracious kindness under this roof, all six of us sinners passing out grace around every corner.

The Cowboy and I, we're learning to pray together. Prayer is so personal, so intimate, and it's a habit that we've had to purpose ourselves in. It's a place in our days when we've had to let down our guard with one another and move forward in it even when we don't necessarily feel like it. I would think that after so many years of marriage, prayer would be natural for us, but really, we're still in route, slowly moving into a more consistent habit of prayer together. I'm grateful for what God and time has built up between the Cowboy and I over the months and years.

Since we've moved to this frozen tundra, I've struggled to find ways to be as active as I was back in California. The cold seems to put a damper on things, not to mention that taking four precious treasures with me on walks or to the gym, is no easy task, and thus I find myself putting less effort in to even try. But I truly believe that taking care of the body He's given me to the best of my ability is something that is worth my time and efforts. So I've set extremely reasonable goals for myself this next year and roped in some tangible accountability to encourage me in my endeavor.

Another habit that I'd love for Him to grow us in that we started this past year, but is far from being consistent... it's reading a small portion of the Word at dinner together as a family of six. Part of the struggle comes with the business of life. But the Cowboy has been talking with me this Christmas season about the importance of protecting our time, about purposing to simplify. Our world, our culture, we're a busy bunch. I fall into the constant going of it all without much thought. And what happens is, the Cowboy and I, we get worn, our tone gets short, and the habits we're trying to cultivate get lost.

This year I'd like to purpose to pour out more patience with joy, more grace on the ones that I love most, and I'd like to soak up more of His wisdom, bask in more of His grace.

The more that we soak long in the things that we're purposing to grow in in this life, the stronger and firmer the habits become. The process takes time, the months turning into years. He never said we had to get it all right, right now.

Maybe this year I can let go a bit. Maybe this year I can find rest and hope along side the deepest kindness and most extravagant love of a perfect Father. Maybe I can try to remember that it is Him who does the penetrating soul work that I simply cannot do within myself.

Maybe the best habits come in the letting go, in the release of all that was never mine.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..." (Ephesians 3:20)

It is His power is at work within me... Therefore, there is an abundance of hope! :)