In January, the blog focused on setting goals and objectives. By now, you will have experienced some successes and likely some failures in pursuing goals for this year. So, it’s a good time to look at the idea of life patterns and habits . . . and your right hand.
What is so important about your right hand (especially if you happen to be left-handed)? Scripture often talks about the right hand as the “symbol of ability, strength, and power, providing services of protection and resources.” (From my book Celebrate Advent: A Life Response to Emmanuel, Day 9.) Simply: your right hand is your power center, the exercise of your will. It is yours to manage.
Your life patterns are formed by thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions you choose each day. Your power center (your will) carries these out. So, really, the “right hand” is the place where your life patterns and habits take root. Here, habits are created – and broken. You have the controls. Entrenched life patterns and habits may explain why you might be having some failures in progress toward the goals you selected in January. These patterns can be in the very fabric of your life. You will need to understand them better to change them.
Before we visit how to change, I want to say something pivotal: Your right hand will never be what it was created to be until you surrender completely to God. That means die to self, become a living sacrifice, bring yourself and line-up directly under His principles. Everything in your life should sync with Scripture. As you place your right hand under His right hand, you are infused with the power you were meant to live with. If you sincerely do this with resolve,you will begin to change your life patterns and habits.
STEPS to get rid of entrenched patterns and habits. First, be truly honest and identify them. Stare them down. Write them down. That is hard.
Second, take responsibility for the patterns that are not keepers. Dig into the basement and ask yourself why they are there? What motivated you to build that habit or pattern, perhaps years ago? Fear? Pride? Insecurity? Boredom? Bad company? Deception? Irritation? Losses? Frustration? Laziness? Impatience? Etc.
Third, develop a plan to break unhealthy patterns. They won’t just go away. You need specific goals and objectives to address root issues before you’ll find success with bigger life goals. This takes additional thought and prayer. Reflect on the roots you identified in steps one and two above. For example, you may identify loneliness as a root issue that has propelled you into certain life patterns. You will not have success breaking a life pattern without addressing loneliness. Ask God for wisdom to manage the root issues you uncover. James 1:5-8 helps. Be specific in selecting objectives to address loneliness. You may need healing before you can move forward. Schedule time to process; it’s important. However, you may simply need a good kick in the pants. You must succeed at this level or you will never break free. (Also see blog: July 2015: How Is Your “Will” These Days? By Will, I Mean Your Power Center.”)
Finally, pray over the plan you develop. Ask God to help you succeed. Search the Scriptures for a promise to apply to your work. Then watch God keep His promise (if you do your part). Your part is to carry out with resolve what you and God identify and develop. He will help you.
If you fail, do not waste time or energy on shame or feeling sorry for yourself. Immediately tell God (He already knows, but this is for you.) Confess any sin. Recommit to your process, and ask Him to continue to help you. Tell Him, “I believe You. You can do anything!” And then get going again.
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Is. 41:13) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with MY righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)
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