Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Philippians 4:9 (MSG)
Patterns and Habits – The Practice Series – Part 6
I wonder what you practice?
We all practice things, whether we realize it or not. From the everyday stuff we engage in; like drinking coffee, going for a walk, driving a particular way to work; to the patterns and habits we’ve formed in our beliefs and hearts like forgiveness, or unforgiveness; anger or calm; worry or prayer. And while it’s not usually that we have one without the other (Just because I pray about something doesn’t mean that the worry is magically switched off), what we ‘practice’ regularly becomes the default and form of our lives.
The great thing about viewing our every day, behavioral patterns and habits as a practice is that there is room to practice them: we don’t need to perfect them. In fact, perfection, I believe, is unattainable, and not the point. Practice enables us to transform unforgiveness into forgiveness, fear into courage, pain into hope, and grief into joy. As we daily give ourselves to the work of living and loving and being awake and aware, we deepen the impact the practice has in our lives.
And again, it’s not about repetition. It’s more a discipline, a priority. A choice. Something we continually engage in; a practice.
At the end of his letter to his friends in Philippi, Paul said:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Phil 4:8-9 MSG).
As far as practices go, that seems like a good place to start.
Take a moment and think about the things you habitually do every day. Take your time, you might find that some of the things you do, you’re not even aware of. Include everything from food choices to the time you wake up to the words you use and the attitudes you display. Write them down. Evaluate them. Do some of them need to change? Do you need to subtract and add any? It’s the small things we do every day that makes up the “bigness” in our lives. And if we do need to change, that's OK. Practice. Practice. Practice.