I started reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and it’s got me thinking. Don’t ask me if I like the book yet, because I just started, but it has started a fascination with little habits. I feel like I’ve mentioned this in every other blog post, but I’m an all or nothing individual. Little habits? Sounds like a waste of time.
But this perfectionism can really wreck my life. If I can’t commit to a 1.75 hour workout, I won’t exercise at all. If I can’t eat the healthiest option, I’ll binge on everything that will clog my arteries. If I can’t go to bed at 9 (my ideal), I might as well go to bed at 1 (what?).
But little habits are slowly making their debut in my day to day. Encouragingly, they’ve been showing up a lot in my spiritual life. I decided I wanted more intentional interactions with God, times that I filled my mind with truth in one way or another. Here are a few things I’ve been doing:
Reading a Bible Chapter Upon Waking
As soon as I wake up, my normal go-to is to turn off my phone alarm, then turn off airplane mode, and read through all of my notifications. Because the part of the word where most of my loved ones are is awake when I’m asleep, there’s usually a lot. There are emails from work, messages from fellow students, photos from family, etc. And immediately my mind grasps one of those messages (usually a work email/message) to fixate on and create anxiety over. Ach, how am I going to work on that project? That’s outside of my ability I think. I wonder if I’ll have time to do it today. Mmm, I don’t know, but then I can’t wait until tomorrow because…
Before my day has even started, I’ve created worry for myself. Not a great way to wake up.
What I’ve been striving for lately: as soon as I wake up, I turn off my phone alarm, leave airplane mode on, and use the Bible app to read a chapter in the Bible. I’m using a plan right now that’s going through books of the New Testament. I’m not expecting myself to be an expert on the chapter or preach a sermon from it; but I am expecting myself to pay attention.
This one little habit that takes maybe 5 minutes helps orient my heart and mind. The real goal is to keep my phone on airplane mode until after my full devotional time; that’s happening with about 60% success rate so far. Progress… 🙂
Morning Worship with My Husband
David and I have tried to have family worship so many different ways and different times. What we’re currently doing seems to work the best: after we wake up, but before we really get up for the day, we read a verse of the day. Then we ask each other for one prayer request and pray for each other. That’s it. It not only is wonderful to know what’s on David’s mind, but it also allows us to connect with God together.
I Listen to Scripture
Sometimes, especially when I’m anxious, I want to absorb truth but I don’t have the ability to focus on reading at the time. Or maybe I’m multi-tasking — like doing laundry, cleaning up, or getting ready for bed — but I still want to interact with Scripture. I’ve been using the Dwell app to listen to passages of Scripture. Sometimes I listen to a playlist of verses surrounding a particular theme; other times I listen to a chapter or three of a particular book.
Again, this isn’t my study time, so I’m not analyzing every word. But I am hearing it. I’m learning it. And I’m taking it to heart.
I Memorize Scripture
If anyone in the WhatsApp group I started for memorizing Scripture sees this…ahah. Ah man. Although that group didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped, I have been memorizing Scripture. This really gives the Holy Spirit the best material to work with when I’m discouraged, need to share a truth with someone else, or just need something to think through.
Don’t start with the “I’m bad at memorizing” excuses — none of that. It’s a learned skill and anyone can do it with enough time and patience. This is another way to bring truth into your mind and, thus, your every day.
I Listen to Adventures in Odyssey
Okay, I might get knocked for this one, but I’m sharing it anyways. I grew up listening to AIO, and I still love it so much. I’ll tell you why: they’re entertaining stories that are wholesome, Christ-centered, practical, encouraging, and Scripture-based. I won’t even tell you how many episodes I listen to a day (okay actually I will — low days are 1 or 2, high days are up to 10, but that’s usually when I’m driving, etc.).
I’m a visual learner, so it’s hard for me to pay attention to podcasts long enough to get the point. I also don’t want to fill my mind with entertaining but not good for me stories from other mediums. And so! AIO works for me.
It also helps to put on when my anxiety is bad. I can’t quiet the racing thoughts sometimes, but I can focus on an episode of AIO instead, which always includes some kind of Scripture and encouragement. That usually helps make me feel better to a place that I can now pray and/or read the Bible.
What are little ways that you can bring Christ into your day with you? Little ways that you can bring yourself into contact with truth? The little things may seem little — but they all add up into something life-changing.