Part 2 – Breaking Bad Habits
· Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda describes his battle with bad habits:
· “I took a pack of cigarettes from my pocket, stared at it and said, “Whose stronger, you or me?” The answer was me. I stopped smoking. Then I took a vodka martini and said to it, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” Again the answer was me. I quit drinking. Then I went on a diet. I looked at a big plate of linguine with clam sauce and said, “Whose stronger, you or me?” And a little clam looked up at me and answered, “I am.” (Lasorda said), I can’t beat linguine.”
· If you ever saw a full body picture of Tommy Lasorda, you would he was telling the truth – he did not beat linguine!
We will come back and visit this story again and look at where Lasorda missed it. Because that is the theme for the day.
Now, if I was going to ask you to name some bad habits what would your list look like?
· A Partial List of Bad Habits
o Nail biting
o Picking Your Nose
o Overeating or food addiction
o Compulsive shopping
o Binge drinking or habitual intoxication
o Drug addiction
Let’s start with a question.
· Common misconception
o How long does it take to establish a new habit or break an old one?
o ANSWER: However long it takes!!!
§ You thought I was going to say 21 days J
§ It is a common misconception that it takes 21 days to break a habit.
§ Don’t put a time limit on it.
§ Some of these habits have taken years to establish….
§ I am convinced that people put a time limit because they were trying to offer hope that it really doesn’t take that long.
§ The amount of time it takes to break a habit varies depending on the severity of the addiction to the habit.
§ If you have a real severe habit, it may take you a bit longer than 21 days but, you know what? – who cares!
§ If it takes you 22 days are you a failure?
§ Or if it takes you an extra month or even an extra couple of months, are you not any good?
§ You will find out that breaking bad habits takes hard work and it’s however long it takes. Who cares about the time – just get free!
General Ramblings on Bad Habits
· Impatience and Bad Habits
o Sometimes we can be kind of impatient with people who have certain habits
o We want to take the ‘hammer to people’
o And we say things like… Why don’t they ‘Just stop it’
o I am imploring you to show mercy instead
o We look at an obese person and we think, “Well, why don’t they just stop? – Look at them – Why don’t they just go on a diet?”
o They can’t stop because they have an engrained habit
o On the issue of ‘Just Stop’ here is a study done by the CDC – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention – they did study entitled “Killing Ourselves.”
o Theses scientists found that avoidable behaviors like cigarette use, poor diet and lack of exercise were the underlying cause of half of the deaths in the United States in the year 2000. Deaths caused by:
§ Tobacco: 435,000
§ Inactivity and bad eating: 400,000
§ Alcohol consumption: 85,000
· So, it is more than ‘Just Stop’ because these people know that this stuff is bad for them and they do it anyway!
· The answer to why people do what they do is not always a simple thing – so have mercy and give people a break.
· Bad Habits in General are a picture of instability
o Instability in one area affects other areas also not just that one area which is why you want to get rid of bad habits
o Here is a guy in the book James.
§ He prays and asks God for wisdom but wonders and worries and doubts that God is going to give it to him.
§ The conclusion of the matter is this.
James 1:8 (ESV)
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in ALL his ways.
§ Not just in this area of prayer but in every area.
· You Cannot Compartmentalize a Bad Habit
o Bad habits have a ripple effect
§ They affect other areas of your life
§ And other people in your life
o People are spirit, soul, and body and they are all interconnected.
§ So, if your soul is messed up, it’s going to affect your body.
o One of the biggest lies that the devil tells people is that it’s okay to do this because I am not hurting anybody, I am just hurting myself.
§ No, you are part of a family naturally and a body of believers spiritually.
§ If one member suffers, we all suffer!!!!
§ That is the end of my ramblings, so let’s get at it…
Proverbs 18:9 (The Message)
9 Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism.
· So, once you understand that your behavior is a detrimental behavior then, ask yourself the question.
· How serious are you about your progress?
o Are you really serious beating this BAD habit?
o Or are you doing things like playing the blame game – where you blame your parents, or you blame your upbringing, or you blame and focus on some negative situation that threw you off track.
o Do you want to know the real truth…?
o Jesus said it…
John 8:32 (ESV)
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
o …Irrespective of what happened to you as a child.
o So then the real truth of the matter is this…
§ If Jesus gave us the means whereby we can be free and instead we are still bound, then that is a personal choice and it is summed up with these statements.
§ “You are as holy as you want to be.”
§ “You are as free as you want to be.”
o What are you saying here?
§ My point is this…
· As soon as you change your “want to”… You are on your way to freedom.
· Haven’t you experienced this? Where maybe there is a loved in your life, a friend, a family member, and YOU KNOW there behavior is not good a good behavior and you grieve for them.
· Why? What’s going on here?
· But what is really happening here is YOU want them to be free more than THEY want to be free.
This happens with parents and their children all the time.
· Do you want to be free? Does that child want to be free?
§ How serious are you about beating this thing that is bugging you?
o Joyce Meyer says it this way…
§ “Breaking bad habits takes a strong commitment, an investment of time, a lot of hard work, and a willingness to be uncomfortable while you are transitioning from bondage to freedom. If you are not willing to do that, I doubt that I can help you.” – Joyce Meyer
o The thing must be settled is that you want to be free more than anything else.
§ Do you understand how powerful human beings are?
§ The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on 28 June 1914, by Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, while on a formal visit to Sarajevo, set in train a series of diplomatic events that led inexorably to the outbreak of war in Europe at the end of July 1914.
§ A bullet from one man started WW1
§ Do you understand how much violence, consternation, tragedy can come out of one man.
· Do you understand that the very Son of the Most High God was killed by a small group of religious leaders?
§ What about the reverse side?
§ Do you understand how much good can come out of one person?
§ When you see a life like Nelson Madela or Mother Teresa or any other person you might think of – do you understand what a force a human being is?
§ I am saying that you are a powerful human being and you can beat the thing that is bugging you.
§ But not unless your intentional in your approach.
o Un-intentionality breeds nothingness.
o You have to be focused and intentional.
o If you make anything in life, it’s because you set your focus on that area.
o You have to stay focused
o Next week’s post will pick-up on this idea of focus.