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Breaking the Habit

"Bible." Some rights reserved (CC BY 2.0) by Savio Sebastian. Sourced from FlickrI tend to be a creature of habit. Admittedly, I can be flexible when the situation calls for it, but I have a bunch of habits I stick to. As do we all, if we think about it – be they good or bad, we all have them.

A habit, of course, is a learned and instinctive behavior. Somewhere in our subconscious we make associations when we exercise repetitive behaviours. Some are easier to learn than others, some are harder to break than others. Some are relatively easy to re-introduce once they have been broken… though this can necessitate extra effort. It seems that breaking habits – no matter how long we’ve had them – is a lot easier than making habits, though one would think it should be just as easy as it’s just a shift in behavior. Alas – broken habits happen.

This past week, I broke a lot of habits! I took some holiday time following the BCYAYM event, and just spent some down time with friends. So a lot of my good habits went out the window: I stayed up late almost every night, I slept late every morning. I didn’t lace on the running shoes as often as I normally do, I did overindulge in food treats I would normally avoid (or at least minimize!) It was a fun time, restful and rejuvenating, full of laughter and good times.

There was one habit, however, that I refused to break: my prayer discipline. My daily office is important to me; it keeps me grounded and connected and helps me find a holistic spirituality to my day. Establishing the habit of the daily office took some discipline, and I do my best not to break it. It doesn’t necessitate a lot of resources (there’s an app for that!), it doesn’t take a lot of time, but there is much benefit. As one person recently said at our bible study, it’s a chance to be “close and sweet with God.” That, to me, is something I don’t want to take a break from.

So I live the habit. I pray, daily, because I choose to. It’s important to me to include prayer in my daily routine, as the practice enhances my day. Certainly, the other habits I have that promote a healthy lifestyle will get re-introduced into my post-holidays schedule. (My dogs have already required me to re-introduce regular exercise!) Any bad habits I was developing on holidays will (hopefully) be curtailed. And hopefully I’ll never break the habit of prayer. Hopefully I’ll always find the encouragement from today’s Gospel: to pray always, and not lose heart. Because starting the day in prayer is a habit worth the effort.

What habits do you break on holidays? How easy is it to get back into them?

About Laura Marie Piotrowicz

I'm a high-energy priest, now serving in the Diocese of Niagara, catching glimpses of the kingdom in daily life. I consider church to be a verb, and I'm passionate about prayer, eco-theology, and social justice. I love travel, reading, canoeing, camping, gardening and cooking, playing with my dogs, and drinking good coffee.
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