Friday, September 26, 2008

"Habits are like stray kittens..."

That is the thought that came to mind a couple of days ago. I have been thinking about it since, wondering if it was silly or profound.

I certainly am not very good at establishing habits. (Big sigh.) Nor am I very good at helping (making) my kids form habits.

So, "habits are like stray kittens..." might mean that they are skittish, not resolute, not like an old cat that thinks (knows) she owns the place. A stray kitten will scamper away at the least bit of turmoil.

My habits seem to be like that. I work on them and work on them and then, bam!, something comes up, I stop the routine and it is as if I never had that habit. In some ways, it is worse, because I no longer have that enthusiasm that trying to form a new habit can give me.

This speaks to my self-discipline, of course. I just don't have as much as I should. I find myself thinking, "I don't want to..." I indulge that voice too often.

Here are some habits that I wanted to have formed and either haven't formed, or I started on them and then got sidetracked:

Gratitude: the 1000 gifts list. This is so important to my whole attitude and, goodness, how hard is it to do? I think about doing it, but I don't often get the things written down. I did spend time considering where the list should go- in this blog, on a yahoo list I created for that purpose, on my Amy Knapp Family Planner pages, in a notebook, etc. I have some gifts written down in a variety of places.

Exercise: I start and stop. Really, there is just no excuse.

Fixed Hour Prayer: This was working! Not perfectly, but very regularly and I was pleased. A difficult stretch and now I forget to pray much more than I remember.

Bible Reading: I was going to read the Bible in a year (or more). I got behind and then ran into the same difficult stretch (criticism about the time I was spending praying and reading the Bible) and it has stopped. Now I don't know what to do. (I am a bit of a perfectionist and thus the dilemma: skip the missed readings, go back and try to catch up, go back and continue forward, reading beyond the one-year mark...)

Flossing my teeth: okay, how many times will you see "Bible reading" and "flossing teeth" on the same list?

There are others, including books I want to read and projects I want to complete.

Part of the problem is that I resolve to do things without enough forethought. This season of my life is busy! I have too much enthusiasm for things that I want to do. Yet, those habits I listed (gratitude list, exercise, Bible reading, prayer) are vital!

Part of this wanting to do so much comes from a sense of having wasted part of my life. What part? Well, that part that was sitting in the classroom. I am learning so much with my girls following Charlotte Mason's teachings to the best of my understanding and the Ambleside Online curriculum.

Another part is the part that was reading twaddle voraciously during my free time.

Another part I wasted has to do with being a Christian but getting off the path and losing so much time that I could have used to gain Christian maturity and be a servant to the Lord.

You know what? I am going to finish this and go get ready for bed, including flossing my teeth) and then I am going to pray and read the Bible. Even if I tell myself, "I don't want to."


amada said...

On your Bible reading, let me just encourage you to take up where you left off. It's okay. Don't skip, get the whole thing in there, and don't try to hurry up or maybe you'll get discouraged and quit again. Just take up where you left off and try to finish in a year from now. New starts are God's specialty ;)

Trujillo, Peru

Leah said...


That helped so much! Thank you.

Somehow I thought my choices were give up or catch up.

You'll be pleased to know that I did start again, right where I was.