Helpful habits for our lives

It’s not just about the new year and “resolutions.” It’s about building good habits that create deep change over time.

Tish Harrison Warren offered some wonderful tips for life change in this column.

Some things that stood out to me:

Begin the day reading about faith.

It is still a huge temptation to pull up a news app or a social media app first thing, I have found over time I can keep limiting that bad habit and put myself in the Scriptures fairly soon after I’ve gotten out of bed and made the coffee. I also have put myself in the habit of thinking on the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 as soon as I can when I wake up. My mind is so much better when I get to what is “good” first.

Narrow your news focus.

I used to be a news junkie. When newspapers were printed (remember those days) I would peruse every section of the paper. It took time, but it was limited. That was a good habit. With the internet, the headlines are far more sensational and misleading. I’ve learned not to chase down every news item.

It’s also difficult to find straight up “news.” It’s a huge majority opinion within hours of an event actually happening. We’ve lost the discipline of reporting the events. I can still find sources I trust as “news,” but will not list them because people will then either claim I listen to “liberal” news or “conservative” news and reject either side out of hand.

Create silence.

This is the biggest challenge for me in 2023. This is what I’ve lacked, still lack, and have heard several voices I admire speak out in the last few weeks: Get away and get quiet. Find ways to build in silence on a regular basis. Get the noise out!

Confront your sorrow.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the new Black Panther movie and don’t want to know about it until you have seen it: STOP READING HERE. SKIP TO THE NEXT SECTION.

I’ll wait.

Are you still here? SKIP DOWN!

Okay. This isn’t about the Black Panther movie entirely, but I realized something about grief watching the opening scene.

I lost my dad in 2022 and I walk with that grief. It has its joy and its sorrow. And there is no timetable. Grief will pop up on me in odd moments.

But watching the opening of the new Black Panther movie reminded me of the grief I still carried for an actor I never knew personally. I was so deeply moved with sorrow thinking of what we’ve lost with the death of Chadwick Boseman and I was thankful for the movies taking the time to let viewers grieve together in a dark theater. I needed to confront that sorrow.

I need to keep my heart soft for the issues that still matter so deeply to me: Racism. Poverty. The immigrant. These things move me. And I need to carry that sorrow with awareness deep in my soul.

Gather, feast and rest with others.

I don’t need big groups. But, I love a good gathering with a few people where I can dive into a deep conversation. I also like a small gathering where the conversation is light and filled with laughter. Meals together are healing for the soul.

These are changes that come over time and are not best started on January 1 of any particular year. They are best started today.

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