Friday, January 30, 2015

Put the Brakes on Destructive Cycles

A frigid wind buffeted my car as I drove through the dark January night. Even though I'd been sick for a few days, I refused to miss our first writers' group meeting of the year.  After all, I felt 80% better and wasn't contagious anymore. 

The meeting energized me so much I stayed up all night writing.

And woke up later 100% sick. Unable to get out of bed sick.

photo courtesy marin @
My long-suffering (and irritated) husband has watched me pedal that same STUPID cycle for over 25 years.

                            Get sick.

                                         Get ALMOST well.

                                                         Push myself too hard and become REALLY sick.

Most of us struggle with habits that keep us circling around the same mountain like the Israelites on their forty year desert hike.

It's time to break the cycle, and I don't mean the Schwinn 10-speed.

Let's backpedal from the old routes that lead down destructive paths. 


1) Hit the brakes as soon as we realize we're cycling around the mountain. 
Each new minute equals a new start.

2) Hop off the bike and do something else. Hunching on the edge of the sofa nibbling our nails and insisting, "I won't do that. I won't do that," only makes us crave it more. 

Replace our negative nemesis with a positive action.


photo courtesy artur84 @
Old way:  "Rats. I've eaten most of the bag of potato chips. Oh well, I'll just finish them and start fresh tomorrow."

New way: "Evil junk food! You're chipping away at my health, and compounding cellulite on my thighs. I sentence you to the trashcan of destruction." 

(Disgusting but true: I actually have to smash the chips into crumbs, empty them in the trash, and cover them with garbage. Anyone else?)
Now we reward ourselves with a positive. (Put down that Hershey bar!)
Something energizing, like getting together with friends.
Something relaxing, like a scented bubble bath.
Something informative, like learning a new language.
Something helpful, like volunteering. 

Yes, it's still too hard to do it in our own strength, but the great news is:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13
When old habits overwhelm us we can call on the Lord. He loves us. He's our strength when we're weak.

Do you have a plan to break free from destructive habits? How will you reward yourself? I'd love to hear.
Please share on my Facebook page.  

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