I have recently developed a new habit. It isn't one that I expected or even wanted. In fact, I used to scoff at people who did such things. I'm really not sure why I even tried it. Most people who hear about it act like there's something wrong with me. I could stop if I wanted, but it is after all a habit now. I'll tell you what it is in a minute.
A habit is a nice, safe word that people with addictions like to use. Is there something in your life that you can't live without? Have you tried to stop with only limited success? People just don't wake up and say, "I'm going to start a new addiction!" But addictions are the prison bars of life that countless people grab onto every day even when they want to release. I know people addicted to drugs and alcohol, pornography, food, eating disorders and television. You probably do too. I know people addicted to other people, technology and sports. You probably do too. I even know a few addicted to themselves. You probably do too. Addictions always seem easier to spot in someone else's life. Do you have the ability to distinguish between an addiction and a habit in your life? Whether it's a habit or an addiction, it can and needs to be given to God and controlled.
My new habit is swimming. I get up at 5:30 AM 2-3 days a week and swim. My first day I felt like I was going to drown after 12 lengths of the pool. For some reason I decided to go back and try it again... and again... and again. Every swim day I wake up and decide if my habit is worth getting out of my warm, comfortable bed. At this point, I have made the decision to go swim every time - 14 different times now. This morning I swam 44 lengths. I have learned that the benefits far outweigh the struggle. I've decided that a good habit is a conscious decision every time... it doesn't happen automatically. Conversely, an addiction is something that almost happens automatically because saying "NO" seems impossible. My swimming habit is far from an addiction, but like anything, it could become one. It has to be given to God and controlled.
Is there a new habit that you need to start? It won't ever be a habit unless you begin and decide upon it every time. Is there an addiction that you can't live without? No matter what it is, it can be controlled when you develop the habit of giving it to God.