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Creatures of Habit

Behavior patterns are always fascinating.  Each of us has things we do habitually without thinking, or things we do consciously that have no purpose.  Why?  The reasons vary.  Sometimes the behavior are things we began doing when we were very young and just never stopped (biting our nails, beating a rhythm on a table top nervously, etc).  Sometimes, we began an action to deal with a traumatic moment and the behavior lingered (favoring one leg in a limp because of a severe break or injury years before).

Each of us has mannerisms that can be quirky, or some may even be irritating.  Idle words in a person’s speech pattern that are repeated mindlessly…things like “you know”, “like uh..”, or “things like that”.  Folks have twitches and “ticks” that are so much a part of them that they are oblivious to what they do. 

When God created us, He created the possibility of habits for a reason.  We should develop holy habits that are part of every day’s routine.  It has been discovered by those that study our brains that habitual actions really do form a “rut” our brains for actions we do repeatedly. So, when the habits are bad, it is true that we are “in a rut”.  And, when those behaviors are good, “we are in the right groove”!

Holy habits in speech are when one is constantly commending someone else for good things that have been done.  Acts of kindness, words of encouragement, and deeds of generosity are always good to practice and deserve the praise of others.  Helping in a time of need, tutoring a child in school, volunteering in ministry that provides assistance are holy habits that affects the lives of many people that a person may not even know.  Visiting the sick, comforting the grieving, and checking on those suffering from long-term maladies brings streams of refreshing into the lives of folks that were once so active, but are unable to do what they once did.  The pattern of a visit, call, or dropping by with a fresh baked item brings joy to one’s day.

Obviously, the greatest holy habit is telling folks we know about the love, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus.  That is especially true for those that do not know Him.  Even though not all respond by trusting Him, everyone we tell has had the Gospel seed planted for God to water and nurture.

One other group of habits that are confusing to me…. the habitual acts of people that have no meaning, no purpose that is obvious, and no explanation…. 

It seems there was a pretzel stand out front of an office building in New York. One day, a man came out of the building, plunked down a dollar, and then went on his way without taking a pretzel. This happened every day for three weeks. Finally, the old lady running the stand spoke up: “Sir, excuse me. May I have a word with you?”

The fellow said: “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to ask me why I give you a dollar every day and don’t take a pretzel.”

And the woman said, “Not at all, I just want to tell you that the price is now $1.35!”  (Copied).