In Spiritual Fitness, as in all other aspects of human life, habits are everything. Habits are the things that you do on a consistent basis. When I say habit, some of you are already categorizing them, trying to separate good habits from bad habits. Maybe you recall someone telling you not to smoke while they lit a cigarette declaring, “It’s a bad habit.”
When I say habits, I’m talking about the bigger picture. I’m referring to everything that you do on a consistent basis. Your work is a habit. Your Netflix binging is a habit. Your daily scroll through your feed is a habit. Think of habits less like the good or bad things you should or shouldn’t be doing and more like the rituals, or practices of your life. That’s how the ancient spiritual practitioners described what we call habits.
The daily rituals of your life are the number one driver in how you got to be who you are. For those who struggle with food, like I do, it’s easy to see the results of our rituals. In the many times in my life where I have weighed more than I wanted, it wasn’t difficult to see that my ritual of over-indulgence in food, to placate my anxiety or lack of self-worth, resulted in a body that wasn’t reflective of what I wanted. Do you think that at some point, or many points along the way, I looked in the mirror and was disappointed with what I saw? Absolutely. There’s this old school way of thinking that professes all we need to do to change ourselves is use willpower. In other words, if I don’t like who I am in the mirror, I simply “will myself” to change. Apparently, humans have this incredible ability to simply decide something new about themselves, and their whole world realigns itself to match this new thinking. News flash – A new decision is not a new destination. The pathway to a more purposeful and fulfilling life is not to prioritize your “self,” but to prioritize your “soul.”
Spiritual Fitness is the development and consistent practice of habits or rituals that prioritize the soul. It’s learning to arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God. I encourage you to spend 15 minutes today writing down the habits, or rituals of your life. Literally go through seven days and account for all 24 hours in each day. Yes, that includes sleep, because honestly most of us don’t experience deep contentment because we think that six hours of sleep is sufficient. It’s not. Once you have the week mapped out, I want you to use a simple principle to evaluate it – where do you feel a lack of contentment, joy, or confidence in your everyday life with God? Let me ask it another way – where do you feel rushed or hurried? Hurry is the enemy of a spiritually healthy life. It’s your job to identify and eliminate hurry. The arrangement of your days must reflect a rhythm of life that places God at the center. When you realize Instagram doesn’t bring you deep contentment with God, you don’t decide to scroll less. You replace that habit with a new one, like prayer, meditation, or gratitude reflection. Life change, or transformation, is simply a result of replacing old habits with new ones. Arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God, and you will experience life like you never have before.