Have you ever had a bad habit that was a struggle to get rid of? Over the past 3 years it has come to my attention that I have several that I didn’t even realize were bad. You see, I have been married for just over three years, and once you move in with someone new there are things that come to light that I wouldn't have thought twice about before. One of the constant problems has to do with my clothes. Not what I wear (although there have been some struggles in that department) but rather about where they end up once they are dirty. Before being married, I would toss my clothes in a pile toward the hamper. It didn’t bother me and they always ended up in the washer once I found myself rummaging through the pile to put something on that didn’t smell that bad. Now that there are two of us though, I am always hearing about the mess I make with my laundry. In my head I have said that I would change; that I would make more of an effort to make sure my clothes ended up in the hamper. However, after a few good days, my clothes found their way back in a pile on the floor. This again brought back the criticism about the pile. What was I doing wrong?
This has been a common trend when I try to stop the bad habits I form. I tell myself I will change, and sometimes I will tell someone else as well. However, after a little while – weeks, days, or hours – I often find myself right back at it. The problem I have found with my strategy is that I try to quit my bad habits without replacing them with something else. When I look back at changes in my life, I found success when I was able to replace my bad habit with something good.
Ephesians 4:22-24 talks about removing our old self – or our behaviors and way of living before we knew of the love of our Savior. In these verses it does not just say to remove the bad things out of our life and all will be well. Instead, we see that we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, putting on the new self, which was created after the likeness of God. It is very difficult to “simply” remove a habit. However, when we are able to replace it with something else, something positive, our bad habits or an old way of life can become a new beneficial way of living! It is still not easy to bring about change. We get so used to doing something a certain way. But when the time comes to form a change or cut out a bad habit, do not try to just cut it out. Replace it with something that will benefit you or the relationship being affected.