Cultivating Habits by Mandie Greenberg Cook

Whether it’s losing weight, cutting back on spending, or increasing time with your family, there are always little things that each of us want to improve upon. Sometimes, these resolutions can be a bit more than we expect. We bite off a little more than we can chew. Especially in areas that we feel like we’re failing in.

Many of us feel like we’re underperforming when it comes to our relationship with God. Society today would tell us that we need to do more! Read more scripture! Spend more time praying! Serve more at our congregations or churches! More, more, more!

But more can often feel so overwhelming! When facing a new year, I usually take inventory of my habits – both good and bad. Usually there are more bad ones by the end of the year than good, but I try not to beat myself up about them. Which is why my first revived habit of the new year tends to be a habit of forgiveness.

img_3359I’m an overachiever at heart, so I hold myself to standards that can sometimes be a little extreme. Forgiving myself takes work! Letting go of the past mistakes and moving forward in the love and forgiveness of Yeshua is something I have to practice at! God’s forgiveness is so accessible and available. But I don’t consciously hold on to it. Without making it a habit, I can descend into a pretty dark place of unworthiness and self-loathing. I know, sounds crazy right? People who know me probably think I’m sunshine and sparkly rainbows all the time. But the truth is that I have to consciously choose to shine His light. It just tends to come out in the form of glitter and hearts. (much to my husband’s chagrin! Or delight… I’m not always sure…)

But the other habit that I work really hard at is reading one chapter of the Book of Proverbs every day. I read the proverb that corresponds with the day of the month and let a couple of verses encourage – or convict – me for that day.

Really? Is that it?! Yes, indeed!

img_3365It’s not actually about studying the Book of Proverbs from an intellectual or academic, or even theological, point of view. It’s about letting God’s word speak to me in little bite-size chunks that I can take to heart easily. It’s about living a lifestyle that seeks wisdom on a daily basis and purposefully opens up the lines of communication between me and the Creator each morning. I don’t even aim to memorize them either! Although, after a while, they will begin to feel familiar and soon I find them spilling out of my mouth in relatable situations.

I tend to journal or notate the specific verse that speaks to me that day so that next month, I can track if I’ve grown or not. Most of the time, I’m ‘going around the mountain’ for a while before I get victory over something. But charting the journey is part of the process!

Over all, even though these are habits that I’m constantly falling in and out of, they’re tried and true in my book. So cultivate habits of forgiveness and wisdom in your own life! See how faithful our God is to supply your every need, even in getting back on track with His plan for your life.

imageMandie Greenberg Cook is the Post-Production Text Manager for the Tree of Life Version and the Executive Administrator of the TLV Bible Society. She is now working on her degree in practical theology with a Messianic Jewish Concentration at the King’s University. She and her husband, Alex, have been married for two years and enjoy southern living in the small town of Rome, GA with their tiny shih-tzu, Bebe.

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