The other day God woke me up with a picture in my mind. It was a boat that just pulled onto the shore of a beautiful tropical island. On the shore, there was a person holding onto the boat oars. They were deciding if they wanted to get rid of the oars. Deciding if they stay on shore or row somewhere else leaving paradise.
This mental picture reminds me of the choice you have related to bad habits. Sometimes you keep the oars just in case you want to go back to those bad habits, rather than living in the beauty and freedom which the island represents. It’s hard to release the oars and say “no” to those bad habits though. It’s the devil you know. But God gifts you with a daily choice.
Recently, I’ve had an old habit creep back in. I have depression and a go-to coping mechanism when I’m sick is to go to sleep when I can’t or don’t want to make a decision. While I’m not sick right now – thank God – this coping mechanism is still a temptation when I’m faced with lots of decisions, especially when I’m tired. Yesterday, I was very tired and I didn’t have the energy to fight this bad habit, so I slept instead of making a decision.
I woke up disappointed in myself but then I found hope in a new day. Hope that God is the same God and still loves me the same even when I mess up.
I think that the hardest thing about changing your behaviors is letting the disappointments stop you from trying. You start believing that if you revert back once that you don’t have a choice to do better next time.
You see the thing is that God is transforming you day by day. Some days are better than others, but if you keep trying and don’t give up you grow in your faith and that lessens the strength of the bad habit.
So yes, you may throw the oars into the ocean and sometimes you still swim after them. But you know what? You can always throw them out again and eventually you’ll get tired of swimming to get them.
In my case, this is the first time I’ve caved to this bad habit in a long time. It used to be an every other day occurrence which is how it became a habit in the first place. If I stop and think of the life transforming power of Jesus and how far I’ve come I still have hope that I can overcome even when some days I don’t. It’s the journey that matters. It’s the culmination of all of your decisions.
My prayer for you today is that you don’t give up friends. That you throw those oars overboard and join Jesus on dry land. He’s waiting for you. In Jesus name, amen.