The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

August 28, 2012

Kaleidoscope: Habit — Best friend or worst enemy?

Palestine Herald-Press

— Habit, (especially a bad one), is an ornery, irrational thing. For example, a bad habit will cause you to: continue to patronize the same hairdresser or barber, year after year, even when he or she has got so sure of you that they do a sloppy job, and you hate it when you look in the mirror. Our excuse for continuing to go there? “Just out of habit, I guess.”

The same principle would hold true if the person you kept using happened to be an auto mechanic-plumber-electrician, or whatever. Perhaps the mechanic hasn’t got the car running right yet, after umpteen tries, or that lavatory (or commode) still leaks like a “spring branch,” even though the plumber says confidently, “That’ll do it this time.”

And personal habits — (bad ones, that is?) Even more unexplainable and absurd. For example, what about the guys or gals who keep on puffing those “poison sticks” (cigarettes, to you) when fifteen doctors, ten RN’’s and countless friends and kin folk have warned you that “those things will kill you.” Sooo, why do we do it? “Just force of habit,” we mutter sheepishly. I said WE because I once was numbered among those folk for more years that I care to remember.

I guess that one of the catalysts that finally got my attention was this: a fellow I knew slightly was entering a café one day, coughing violently. This gentleman was wheezing like crazy and literally fighting for his next breath. But, believe it or not, he had a cigarette dangling from his lips! Why?..Habit, man, habit.!

The person that “loves the bottle” has his/her own private excuse too. Even after the family doctor says emphatically, “You’re headed for an early grave, my friend. Your gut is gone, and now tests show you’re coming down with cirrhosis of the liver. If you just MUST drink, keep it to a small amount per day.” So what does this “closet drinker” do? Why, he still buys that big bottle every day, and consumes it all before bedtime. Why? “Can’t help it,” he says. “Been at it too long, I guess.”

This “habit” thing even carries over into other areas of our lives as well. We may, for example, take the same ol’ route to our job, our church, etc., even after someone has shown us a faster, better way. Again we ask, why? “Just got in the habit of going this way.”

Now, good habits, though often hard to cultivate, are worth the effort.

Patience, kindness, cheerfulness, daily Bible study, and “practicing what we preach” don’t come easy, but they can be done, folks. Let’s give ‘em a try, shall we?

Lying, cussing, stealing, hating folks, all forms of sexual immorality and deliberately shunning God — every single one stems from habit, and with God’s help, can be broken. I’ve never caught the Good Book in a lie, and here’s what it says: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Nuff said?


This column sponsored by: Encompass Home Health (“a better way to care”), 2256 S. Sycamore St. Suite 2, Palestine, Texas 75801, 903-723-3991.